Have you been on Facebook today? What about LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram? Over 2.7 billion people around the world are active social media users, and we’re betting that you’ve engaged with at least one of these platforms before you clicked on this article.
And, if you’ve been scrolling through your Facebook feed, that means your prospects have too. Selling on social media is big, and it could be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. According to the Social Media and Sales Quota Survey, 73% of salespeople who use social media outperform those who don’t. It’s lead-to-opportunity rate of 69% blows cold-calling out of the water too, which is only a measly 1%.
The stats are crystal clear ‒ but if social selling is so great, surely every sales professional should be doing it? They should, but they’re not. There are barriers to adoption, with many fearing that it comes across as “creepy”, or not really knowing what it entails.
In this blog, we’ll go over these misconceptions and explain how you can use social selling to smash your sales targets.
Pin-point your personas
Social selling is more than just sprucing up your profile and posting status updates. Sitting behind your office monitor, you can feel quite removed from your prospects. It can be all too easy to forget that your customers are actually real, breathing, living human beings. And, just like you, they’ll have friends, hobbies, hopes and fears.
Being able to see through the eyes of your customers will allow you to send targeted messages that will really resonate with them. But how can you do this without knowing them on a personal level?
This is where social media is so valuable - it gives you a unique window of opportunity into your prospect’s lives. Every time they share, like or interact with something online, you’ll have insight into their interests and what may be currently challenging them.
We’re aware that this sounds a lot like stalking. It’s not ‒ it’s smart research. In fact, 64% of people actually prefer it when a salesperson carries out social media research before reaching out to them, according to HubSpot’s survey of 273 B2B buyers and B2C consumers. And remember, whatever anyone shares in the public domain is free for you to openly view (and use to your advantage).
Seize sale opportunities with trigger events
As a salesperson, you should always be looking for an opportunity to sell ‒ also known as a trigger event ‒ and social media can give you plenty of these. Each time a prospect likes, shares or comments on something is a golden nugget of information that will tell you the type of content they’re interested in. If they share a post, for example, you can chose to engage by posting a comment, liking it or sending them a message with a question that can facilitate a conversation.
You can even choose to call the company following a trigger event - even though it’ll be classed as a cold call, buyers are more responsive to those who have taken the time to do their research. Sales reps who are able to add value to a business see, on average, five times greater engagement with their potential buyers.
A trigger event doesn’t just have to be something your prospect does, either. It can be something much wider, such as an incident in the news affecting their company or industry sector. The WannaCry attack a few months ago, for example, was a great opportunity for IT support companies to get in touch with businesses about keeping their software up-to-date.
Other trigger events can include a change in management, a new role at the company, a round of growth funding/investment, the company entering into a new market, or a new product or service announcement.
You can read more about trigger events in our previous blog, here.
How to use social selling on LinkedIn
If there’s any platform you should be social selling on, it’s LinkedIn. According to Sales Benchmark Index, 98% of sales reps with more than 5000 LinkedIn connections meet or surpass their sales quota. Once you're more active on LinkedIn, you'll be able to measure your progress using the Social Selling Index (SSI) which will tell you how well you are engaging your prospects. Here's how to get started:
- Identify your personas - as mentioned above, this is the heart of your strategy. You can’t sell if you don’t really know who you’re selling to. Research, research and research.
- Use the search function - once you’ve figured out your personas, use LinkedIn’s comprehensive search function to find potential customers. You can type in their job titles or sort by location for more targeted results.
- Build mutual connections - you must have heard about the stat that “84% of B2B decision makers begin their buying process through a referral”, (HubSpot). If you have a mutual connection with someone, they’re much more likely to trust what you have to say.
- Send out customised messages - research by HubSpot has made it clear that people much prefer it when you send out messages that are customised to individuals and their companies.
- Post in LinkedIn groups - a subtle way of engaging with people you want to sell to is by posting in groups that they’re a part of.
One thing you need to remember is that social selling must be used as part of a wider overall sales strategy. Whilst it’s a game changer, it won’t work on it’s own. You’ll still need valuable content that will nurture your leads in the form of emails, e-books, blog posts and more. Even cold calling is still something you should be doing!
Want to take your social selling game a step further? Check out our practical guide, “Social selling: 10 tips to raise your profile and engage prospects”: