Social selling has changed the modern sales landscape and is empowering sales organizations to leverage automation and technological efficiencies to sell smarter. Social selling is widely accepted now as a necessary tool for modern sales organizations interested in keeping up with their competition.
B2B sellers who use social selling tactics are 72 percent more likely to exceed their sales quotas than those who do not. That drastic shift in profitability can't be ignored. The adoption of technology and digital tools – or lack of adoption – is itself enough to make or break a sales organization.
Many top sales professionals have already adopted a social selling approach, and are using tools and social networks to improve prospecting and expedite the customer journey. Like all disciplines, however, a social seller can always sharpen his or her skills.
If your social selling team is established and ready for fine-tuning, consider these ways some sellers fall short.
1. Balance the Personal and Professional
As a social seller, your brand is defined partly by your own social profiles, namely LinkedIn. Your profile should balance a professional presence with personal touches. Ensure the basics of your profile are polished.
For instance, your photo should be a professional, high-resolution headshot, and your summary and work experience should be thoughtful and error-free. Consider adding a few lines about your personal hobbies and interests to humanize your profile.
2. Focus on the Relationship, Not the Sale
Hone in on "social" more than "selling" when it comes to your social selling approach. While social selling is about leveraging tools and resources to close more deals, the heart of the approach is more about relationship building.
Those relationships should remain the focus and shouldn't be overshadowed by your drive to close. Make sure you intentionally build meaningful relationships during each customer interaction.
3. Don't Drop Off
It can be easy to become disappointed or doubtful when you don't hear back from a prospect – but don't fall off their radar completely. While your cadence may change, you should continue to follow up periodically.
You never know when someone will change companies or when someone in their network will need your services, so you want to be top of mind in both instances.
4. Post and Engage Regularly
When it comes to building a brand as a social seller, you should consistently add value by posting your own content and sharing content from other reputable sources. This will position you as a thought leader and help build trust with prospects. An infrequent or unintentional posting schedule diminishes your ability to be seen as a trusted partner.
In a world where the empowered customer controls the buying process and performs their due diligence online by consuming various sources of content, ask yourself, what qualities make content so useful that buyers and influencers want to engage with your sales team?
5. Align with The Customer Experience or Success Team
It can be all too easy for sales to stay in a silo, disconnected from other pieces of the customer experience that happen through marketing and support channels. But the best social selling teams integrate their tools and processes with all customer experience disciplines to optimize the buyer journey.
This also includes ensuring your tech stacks communicate with each other, enabling you deeper insights into your prospect or customer before engaging with them. Basically, if you're not aligned with the rest of your company's sales support teams, you could be missing opportunities to improve and expedite the buyer journey.
6. Enhance Your Prospecting Research
Part of the value of social selling is the ability to learn about your prospect well before an initial sales call or digital interaction. While it takes time up front, researching prospects with social and digital tools will expedite the sale later because your approach will be fueled by real insights, taking out some of the guesswork.
Thus, you can then tailor your strategy and conversations to focus on issues they're actually facing. Consider whether you're researching these three core areas before an initial sales engagement:
1. Individual research: What is this person's background? What is his or her role at the company? What does he care about? What are his success metrics? What kinds of conversations is he involved in on social media that indicate his pain points? This data can be found mostly on social platforms or Google.
2. Company research: What kind of growth challenges is the company facing? What big initiatives are on the horizon? Who are their competitors, and where are they succeeding and failing? This data can be found through annual reports, social platforms, and the company and competitor websites.
3. Industry research: How is the industry changing? What challenges is the industry as a whole facing? Who or what is influencing the industry? What trends are being forecast for the next several years? This data can be found via industry reports and thought-leading content sources in the specific industry.
7. Leverage Social Proximity to Uncover New Leads
Social tools aren't only useful for researching new prospects. You can – and should – leverage social platforms to identify other lead opportunities within your customers' spheres of influence. Map out your best and most recent customers, and use social research to uncover individuals who they're connected to based on their previous employers or social connections. After you've done your research, ask for introductions to your newly identified leads.
As you refine your social selling approach, consider which of these areas could use some additional polish. Create a plan to implement improvements over the next several weeks as you optimize the power of a social selling strategy.