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How to Approach Social Selling — The Right Way

In 2012, 72.6% of salespeople using social media outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often. (A Sales Guy Consulting)

It’s 2014 now, and the sky’s the limit. The popularity of social media has only continued to grow — and the number of social sites, users, and social content has grown with it.

Think about your personal social media usage. When you scroll through your Twitterfeed or your Facebook newsfeed, what do you typically see? If the feeds on your social sites look anything like mine, then you probably see a mixture of people giving (often unwanted) advice, seeking out opinions on products or services that they’re interested in, or just discussing their interests, hobbies, and passions. The things you’re exposed to in the social sphere on a personal level are precisely the same things that have turned social media sites into popular stomping grounds for B2B businesses.

Think about it: social media provides a treasure trove of readily-available information for B2B marketers and salespeople, as long as they know where to look for it. Your buyers are turning to social media to gather information, voice concerns and complaints, research companies and products, reach out to customer service teams, and more. Having your marketing and sales teams present on social media gives them an opportunity to collectively mine for information that might otherwise be unattainable.

The goal? To connect with buyers and really personalize the selling experience based on their known interests and pain points (NOT to harass them because they might be a good fit for your company — ideally, your buyers have already communicated their interest to you, and social media can help fill in gaps that might help your team market and sell more effectively).

Let’s take a look at some common protocol when it comes to engaging with your buyers over social media, and some ideas for how to do it:

1. Listen.

Your marketing team should be constantly monitoring social mentions of your company for interested prospects, as well as prospects who are dissatisfied with their current setup and are shopping for a new solution. Set up filters on social media monitoring tools (both free and paid tools exist) to help your team track Twitter mentions of products, services, and any competitors that you wish to keep an eye on. You should also set up profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn (depending on where your audience is), since many buyers use these forums to seek out opinions during the research process. Make sure you’re monitoring and even participating in these conversations (when appropriate) in order to stay plugged in to consumer sentiment.

2. Get sales involved when necessary.

Don’t force your sales team to waste their valuable time perusing social media sites for leads. Instead, have your marketing team watch for social media leads who might need a little extra attention from a sales rep. As a rule, your sales reps should mainly be using social media as extra touch points with their prospects (for example, a simple “follow” on Twitter can go a lot farther than you might think). Encourage your reps to use LinkedIn as a source of prospect information that can help supplement the data already available to them. Knowing which college a prospect went to can provide the perfect conversation starter, as long as the information is used tactfully! (Watch our webinar on social selling without being creepy for more social selling dos and don’ts.)

Keep in mind: while marketing can handle a lot of the heavy-lifting when it comes to sourcing leads from social media, your reps should still have accounts on any relevant social sites so that they can jump in when appropriate.

3. Have a process.

All of the effort you put into your social engagements will go to waste if you don’t have a process in place for converting social media leads into prospects. Make sure marketing and sales are on the same page by discussing the following questions:

  • How are social media leads assigned to sales reps?
  • Who can claim leads on social media?
  • Who gets credit for social media leads?

Having answers to these questions ensures that marketing knows when to get a sales rep involved, and sales reps know how to respond when a social lead comes their way.

Want more sales tips? Keep an eye on our blog over the next month as we cover topics important to your sales AND marketing teams, from lead qualification to marketing automation tactics, and more.