We’ve spent a lot of time writing about how the marketing landscape is changing. Well, so is sales. Not only have we had to reevaluate how we market to the changing consumer, we’ve also had to rethink how we sell to them. Consumers are reaching out to companies much later in the sales cycle than they have in the past, meaning that sales has had to adapt their strategy. How? Well, for one, through social selling.
“Selling through social channels (social selling) is the closest thing to being a fly on the wall in your customer’s, prospect’s and competitor’s world.”
? Mark Fidelman, Forbes, and Social Sales Expert Jim Keenan
If your consumers aren’t reaching out to you as soon as they normally would, then you’ll have to go to them. The best way to do this is through social media — the one outlet where you know you’ll be able to find consumers regardless of where they stand in the sales funnel. While Twitter and Facebook used to be about sharing what we had for lunch (okay, so Instagram is still kind of like that), consumers are now using social sites to share their concerns, probe for public opinions on issues, and vent about problems like poor customer service — giving reps access to information that might be impossible to obtain otherwise.
This makes social media the ideal stomping ground for your company’s sales reps. If your reps aren’t perusing Twitter for prospects who are dissatisfied with their current product or service, or exploring LinkedIn groups for people who might be interested in relevant industry topics, then they’re missing a valuable opportunity.
Ready to get your sales team on board for social selling? Here are four simple steps to take to ensure that your sales reps are getting the most out of their time spent on social media (and check out this recent post to see how to avoid ‘the creepy factor’ in social selling):
Step 1. Get Your Reps on Social Media.
You can’t even think about social selling until your sales reps are involved and active on social media. Make sure that they have accounts set up on all of the major social sites that your prospects actively use, whether that’s Twitter, LinkedIn, or another site. Encourage them to share content and start actively participating in conversations surrounding your brand, product, and industry.
Step 2. Set Up a Social Media Monitoring Tool.
The easiest way for your sales reps to stay updated on what’s going on in their social media networks is through a social media monitoring tool like HootSuite, TweetDeck, or CoTweet. Using one of these tools, have them set up filters to track mentions of your product or service, your company name, and any (or all) of your competitors. This is one of the best way to find out who is talking about you, who might be interested in your product, and who is dissatisfied with a competitor and looking at other options.
Step 3. Have Them Monitor Applicable LinkedIn Groups.
Many prospects take to LinkedIn when they want to have discussions about products or services, especially in B2B. If you run an email marketing service, have your sales reps check in (and even participate) with relevant LinkedIn groups where people might be discussing email marketing. You’d be surprised how many people use LinkedIn to seek opinions from others whenever they’re evaluating multiple options.
Step 4. Have a Process In Place for Social Media Leads.
Once your sales reps have started using social media to seek out leads, what happens when they find one? Do they get to take ownership of that lead, or does it get assigned out to another sales rep in a round robin format? Having a process in place ensures that your sales reps know just what to do when they find a lead on Twitter or LinkedIn, and can act as quickly as possible.
Interested in learning more about social media marketing? Check out our free white paper on the topic, 6 Simple Ways to Get More out of Social.