If you’re a sales leader or professional, you’ve likely been made aware of the growing importance of social networking. You may have a LinkedIn profile and a Twitter account, too. Enter further down the rabbit hole and you may already be trying to prospect using these tools as well.
But sending InMails and tweets just won’t cut it for most of us. Buyers are busy. They’ve got things to do. They’re not waiting – and, in many cases, are not looking forward to – your messages.
While that may be seemingly obvious, the question is why this is the case.
Old School Meets New School
The simple fact is this: the ways you’ve sold in the past like cold outreach just aren’t working effectively.
Some of that has to do with the individual but I submit that a lot of it has to do with the fact that our buyers have changed. The way they’re finding information, doing research, exploring for education, etc. have changed significantly in the last decade.
So what’s required today is a shift in how we operate online. The old school ways that we operated on the telephone and email aren’t as effective as we’d like.
Let me give you an example. When the internet was brand spanking new, banner ads started to pop up on all major websites. It was literally taking the old school billboard and putting that online. Billboards aren’t really that effective in the real world from the perspective of attributing eyeballs to earned revenue. When people started to realize this, the prices of banner ads online took a sharp turn downward.
Similarly, in our working with sales professionals, we see that traditional sales messages that are sent over e-mail – yes, the ones that yield a whopping single digit conversion rate – are also making minimal impact using social channels like InMails. In fact, data indicates that 92% of buyers say they delete voicemails and emails from people they don’t know.
This clearly illustrates that it’s not the medium, it’s the message.
Social Networking Requires You to Be Social
Chalk that up to the most obvious statement of the year but it merits constant repeating because our industry’s practices indicate otherwise.
This means that you must prepare and plan for each interaction with prospects online. It requires that you do plan and approach with insights and education.
Here is the good news: Social Selling and online tools allow you to access vital information about prospects instantly. Real time news sources, tracking, monitoring and listening tools have empowered our entire community like never before.
In the old school world, finding lead lists was considered a hugely important activity. Now with tools like LinkedIn, this once uphill battle is no longer exists. After finding your target prospect, sales leaders told us to know our buyers. Intuition and common sense tell us that if you can relate to a buyer, build rapport and relationships, this would be a solid foundation to do future business.
Welcome my friends – that day has arrived.
But in order to seize the moment you now have to approach buyers differently once this information is uncovered.
If you’re wondering what’s in it for you, try this on for size: nearly 73% of salespeople using Social Selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often. The Aberdeen Group’s research also reveals that 64% of teams that use Social Selling hit quota compared to 49% that don’t.
There is plenty of data to make the case for Social Selling.
The Bottom Line
If you’re on LinkedIn and Twitter, having a profile is just the first step. Remember, you need to actively engage and participate in conversations and share information that educates prospects.
This is all about long-term deal flow but what you do today matters.