We're featuring a guest post from our friends at PersistIQ. Enjoy!
The term Social Selling has floated to the top of the sales pool over the past year. You may have heard that 78% of salespeople using social media outperform those who don't.
Possibly the best part about that number is that most of those salespeople have no training in using social media to propel sales, so with just a few social selling hacks, you could be one of those outperforming sales reps, meeting and exceeding all of your sales KPIs.
But what is social selling? Its name can be slightly misleading. The idea isn’t to sell to people on social channels, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and so on. Social selling is the process of developing and nurturing relationships as part of the sales process.
Before we dive into some social selling tactics and hacks, it’s important to get the mindset right. Rather than approaching it by asking, “How can I effectively sell using social channels?” The correct question sales reps should be asking is, “How can I create more value for other using social channels?”
Social channels are NOT a selling platform themselves, and if you approach them like that, you'll quickly be banned from groups and people won't accept your connection requests. They have algorithms in place to make sure that spammy content doesn’t get shown to many users and valuable, quality content gets shown to more users.
However, these are great platforms to supplement your selling efforts (like cold calling or cold emailing). Staying within the context is one of the most important things to keep in mind, and it's where you need to start.
With that out of the way, I want to share some specific social hacks and tactics that you can use to help you generate more leads, book more demos and close more deals.
1. Warming Up Cold Emails
Cold contacts, whether via phone, email, letter, fax or another line of communication, all fight an uphill battle. Most buyers (96%) have a negative reaction to cold contacts. If they don't know you and haven't asked about your product, they don't want to talk.
Finding the right person to break the ice can help you find your way into an account. Using add-ons like Connect6 can help you find that key person. After you install this Chrome extension, you can hover over a profile pic to see not only contact information, but also a graph showing all of your shared contacts. One of my favorite aspects of Connect6 is it collects all of a prospect’s social profiles in one place, making it efficient and effective while doing the necessary research before reaching out.
Once you collect names and emails of your prospects, it’s important to verify the accuracy of the data. One of my favorite tools for this are Briteverify. This allows you to validate and verify individual emails or a bulk list of emails at once. Its API, which is probably the coolest part, lets you connect your CRM, POS software or other selling solution and automatically verify emails that are being imported or added to your selling platform.
With an introduction in hand, you can then power up Refresh to get a look at a prospect's recent social media activity. You'll see any news articles, recent blog posts or newsfeed updates, all in one place about that one person.
2. Timing is Everything
When you work in outbound sales, you know that the first person to make the pitch —at the right time— closes the sale up to 50% of the time. Social media is the best way to track timing.
Communicating with prospects at the right time within their buyer’s journey is largely what social selling is about, and Twitter is one of my favorite platforms for delivering high-value content. This is where Twitter lists come in, which allow you to create tweets targeting different groups, allowing you to nurture them along in the buyer’s journey. However, there are two other segments that are overlooked and just as important: customers and influencers. While there is no direct measurable ROI on brand awareness, connecting with influencers in your market can give you more clout. Engaging with current customers is extremely valuable for not only up-selling but also reducing churn, which is paramount to the success of SaaS businesses.
Once you set up and begin to leverage Twitter lists, you’ll also want to dig deeper into your Twitter analytics. With tools like Followerwonk, you can sort any Twitter profile and gather data about their followers. When a competitor gains a new follower, you can be right there at the right time.
3. Leverage LinkedIn
Many sales reps view LinkedIn as an objective source of truth when it comes to up-to-date professional information on prospects. Though LinkedIn doesn’t play well with others and keeps its cards close to it’s chest, it does offer a good way to interface with potential prospects. It’s hard to rely on tools that are built on LinkedIn because Linkedin has a history of going over those tools, but it’s still a powerful channel to supplement your sales efforts. You just have to learn to use it in ways that they want you to. This means investing time in learning what those ways are. One particularly useful tactic you can use to skip a lot of the work developing prospects is by looking at your closest competitors.
Depending on their security settings, you can see when they add people to their network and can take a look at their existing customers (don't forget to fix your own settings to avoid losing clients). You'll need to add them as a connection first, but most people don't spend a lot of time vetting social media connections. Once you're a part of their network, just visit their profile, click on the number of followers and start prospecting. You can even sort the list based on new connections and only target those added in the past 24 hours. Once you have a list of prospects, you can mine other social media sources for a way to connect. This is just the proverbial "tip of the iceberg." If you want to learn more about using the powerful platform, check out 6 Advanced LinkedIn Prospecting Tactics for the Outbound Sales Rep.
Combine Social with Metrics
Once you have the prospect data from social media, you can tailor your first approach. Better segmentation on your email lists results in substantial improvement on your sales metrics. Even just a few hours spent mining social media might give you dozens of prospects that match your ideal profiles and accounts. If you’ve engaged them with the proper social selling etiquette, you’ll likely end up with prospects who trust you, have a problem, and know you have a solution. The only piece left of the puzzle is launching your outbound campaign. And our favorite platform for that is PersistIQ, but we may be a little biased.
Brandon Redlinger runs Growth at PersistIQ, which helps sales reps deliver truly personalized outbound sales at scale. He has been in sales and marketing his entire career, leading teams across the country from NYC to Denver to the San Francisco Bay Area. In his spare time, you will find him buried in a book, hitting the gym or on an adventure exploring the world. You can follow him on Twitter.