You’ve heard the term ”social selling” before. But is your sales force truly embracing it?
Sales is one the best departments to benefit from social intelligence, yet they often aren’t using it. Some in sales may think that social media isn’t for them or that they’re too busy to start tweeting on top of what they already have to do… help bring in sales. But in truth, social intelligence can actually help make the sales process even easier.
Now, we don’t want to polarize an entire group of people by saying that all salespeople stay away from social. Instead, we want to show those that aren’t how they can use social intelligence and those that already are, how they can use it better.
When salespeople hear the term “social selling” a lot of them start by actively searching through social media for conversations about people looking to purchase their product or a product like theirs and then jump in to seize the opportunity. But here’s the thing…
Social media isn’t the place for a hard sell
Social media is a place for starting and maintaining relationships though, and isn’t sales really all about relationships? Sales people can start by looking for those purchase intent posts in social media, but that should just be a jumping off point. It’s perfectly fine to reach out to someone in social media that says they’re in the market to buy and introduce yourself and your product. But that’s just where the sales cycle starts.
— Ryan Rioux (@RyanRioux) March 30, 2015
Follow what potential clients are doing to understand them better
The world of social media allows you to follow what your potential customers are up to and stay in touch. This is a great way to keep your relationship going without having to pick up the phone or email someone every few days to stay top of mind. The best part is, on social media, not all of your interactions have to be about selling your product. You might find that keeping up with your potential customers might reveal that you some common interests. You can talk to them about these things as well, which only help you to strengthen the relationship even further.
Use social intelligence to anticipate what your buyers need
When it does come time for salespeople to talk about what they’re selling, social intelligence can help them be prepared for that talk. If they kept an eye on what their potential customers have been talking about they should have an understanding about what the customer is looking to accomplish and what their pain points are.
Setting up lists, or MediaSets in our Sysomos software, will allow you to always know what’s happening with your potential customers. Seeing what their business is doing will give salespeople insight into what direction the potential buyer is heading in and what they’re trying to accomplish. Then, when the sales person reaches out, they can speak specifically to how their product can help achieve those goals.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s how our own Christina Meguerian says she does it:
“I created lists that I follow through Sysomos for both prospects and clients and each morning I scan through the feeds to see if there are any interesting posts to reach out to them about. Find a timely topic that your prospect is working on by researching recent posts on their social channels. Think of a catchy email subject or tweet based on the information you found – anything relevant to them will give you a much better chance of getting a reply. Understanding a prospects needs before they even answer the phone will definitely give you a leg up. And you may not be right on point based off the info you found on Twitter but if you ask the right questions, you will get the prospect engaged and put them at ease, willing to discuss their needs -which is the first step! And remember, it’s not over once the prospect becomes a client! Clients want to know you care and one of the best ways to do this is by listening to their needs and anytime you come across a fitting blog post or use case, tweet it to them. Not only will they appreciate this but another client that’s following you may also value this post. After all, sharing is caring, especially on social!”
By following the individual people from that company you’re trying to sell to, you can get an understanding of what pains them at work. Knowing what people do well and what they struggle with again will help to shape how salespeople can approach them with ways that their product can help them be even better at what they’re good at or help to solve the problems that they struggle with.
If salespeople can use social intelligence to understand their buyers better and form real relationships with them, the entire sales process can go a lot smoother and likely, a lot more in their favour. Social selling could be your best foot in the door.