Sales people who use social media will be more successful.
This statement has been reported time and again, and if you're serious about getting to the top then you need to employ social selling tactics as part of your sales toolkit.
- "74% of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making a purchase or contacting a salesperson." - via Forbes
- "72.6% of sales people using social media as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often." - via Hubspot"
- Buyers who use social media have larger budgets — typically 84% larger than the budgets of buyers who do not use social." - via Sales for Life
Compelling figures such as these can set the stage for why you would want to start social selling. But 75% of sales people say they don't have the training to effectively use social media in their jobs. Fortunately, as a sales pro you already know how to interact with clients and build great relationships. Social selling is exactly the same, but now it's online.
Here are three quick ways to start your social selling strategy.
1. Set up alerts and read industry news every morning
This is the easiest way to have your finger on the pulse of what's happening in your industry, and your clients' industries. Create a Google alert that will send you an email every day with the information you're interested in reading. You can customize this to suit your needs.
Then, create a Feedly or make use of any other content reader to get a huge amount of daily articles compacted into one simple profile. You can easily categorize various websites and blogs, then open a folder to quickly skim the headlines or article summaries to find what's relevant to you. Don't forget to add your own company's website and blog to the list.
Bonus points for categorizing these articles based on your customers' industries and interests. If you have an upcoming client meeting, just open that folder and get updated on what's important for them, which can be a great conversation starter.
Feedly sample screenshot
3. Update your social profiles every quarter
Anywhere you have a presence online needs to be kept up to date, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook along with every website or blog where your profile appears. Your customers and prospects will be searching your name and company, so a current and professional profile is important.
Start with LinkedIn, and check out our "top 5 LinkedIn profile fixes" to get started. You only need about an hour to make a dramatic difference with your LinkedIn profile, and that's going to pay off in spades when it demonstrates your trust, reliability and expertise.
Next, block off one hour in your calendar at the beginning of every quarter over the next year to update your profiles. Set the time up now and you won't have to remember to do this in the future. The main items to update include your photo, bio, recent achievements, groups you've joined and projects you've worked on. By committing to this small amount of time every quarter, you won't need a big overhaul of your profile pages very often.
Bonus points for taking another moment to create relevant Twitter lists and updating the groups you belong to on LinkedIn.
3. Connect with existing customers
If you have a traditional customer and prospect list, then take advantage of those relationships and connect online. This seems like a no-brainer, but too often our days get busy and we sometimes even neglect to connect with people we know well.
On LinkedIn, click the "My Network" tab and then select each of the various options to find possible connections. You can easily "Add Contacts" by matching your email contacts with those who have LinkedIn profiles. Or click on "People You May Know" to see LinkedIn's smart suggestions for new connections. And in a similar fashion, click on "Find Alumni" to search for possible connections within the "Students and Alumni" section. Just click the + icon for each person you want to turn into a new connection.
On Twitter, you can do similar searches to find recommended friends and business connections. Look on the right side of your Twitter feed and you'll see a "Who to follow" box. You can click "View all" to get some a handy scrollable feed of potential contacts, or click the "Find friends" link at the bottom to match your email contacts to who is on Twitter.
Bonus points for making those new connections and then reaching out with a personalized message. On LinkedIn you can do this right within your invitation to connect, overruling the generic invitation. And on Twitter, you can follow-up any "follow" by tweeting a personalized message saying what you like about one of their recent tweets or articles they posted. It's a great way to show you're not just connecting, but you're listening and valuing what they are doing online. That will set you apart from the competition.
Up Next: 10 free and easy ways to increase your social media engagement. Ways for brands, social media managers and sales pros to connect with the right audience, and with efficiency.
About the Author
Mark has grown digital blog communities to connect Canadian business and tech pros by focusing on creating relatable content that everyone can enjoy. He developed a North American best practice on creating great experiences on social networks and spends as much time thinking of the end reader as he does writing content. Mark is also a commercial photographer focusing on product and location images. His work can be seen at Wonderlab Photo.Follow on Twitter More Content by Mark Glucki