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Sales Managers: Understand — and Encourage — Social Selling
Blog / All About CRM / Dec 15, 2014 / Posted by Dimitar Popov / 973 

Sales Managers: Understand — and Encourage — Social Selling

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All the cool lingo and constant changes in social media trends and technology can make it challenging for a beginner to get started with social media. Your sales folks likely have a lot of questions around the subject and this FAQ section will help you answer them. For a comprehensive beginner guide to social media, check out this fantastic resource from MOZ.

But what is social selling?

Social selling is the practice of leveraging social networks and the associated tools in the overall sales function — from lead generation, to closed deal, to account management.

What’s the difference between social selling and social media marketing?

Social media marketing leverages social networks to create general awareness and broadcast the brand’s message. Social Selling leverages social networks to build personal relationships with specific individuals who are likely to convert. The marketing team normally handles the branded presence on social media sites while sales leverages individual accounts to create personal relationships.

Social media is useful for B2C… but we are B2B.

B2B organizations should especially be on social media! You actually know who is making the buying decision. (If you are using Pipeliner CRM, you can see the entire buying organization for your Deal in your Buying Center org chart!)  Now you have the ability to follow them and get a look into who they are as a human being. This is data that can help you form a stronger relationship with that individual and something that will make it more likely for you to sell to them.

Does social selling really work?

It’s been proven that social selling activities really work! Knowing more about your customers helps you build relationships and sell to them.

Here are some stats you can share with your team:

  • IBM saw an increase of 400% in sales in a social selling pilot program
  • 55% of buyers search for information on social media
  • 75% of buyers are likely to use social media in the purchase process

What one social network should I focus on?

LinkedIn. One of the key elements defining LinkedIn users is their professional status. LinkedIn is not just a casual network for those who want to procrastinate and share amusing photos during the working day; executives from all 2013 Fortune 500 companies are members of the network, and 40% of those registered on the site earn more than $100k. Fifty percent of users are also the business decision makers for their company. LinkedIn is a very specific network, and those who want to market to executive decision makers from some of the largest and most prestigious companies in the world would be well advised to learn how to use LinkedIn to their advantage.

LinkedIn is also a network where people want to engage on a regular basis. Rather than posting an update on Twitter every week or two, or changing their Facebook status once a fortnight, the average LinkedIn user logs on regularly; 35% of respondents to a Lab42 survey said they used LinkedIn every day. 42% update their information regularly, and 61% of those polled said that LinkedIn was their primary form of networking. Those who want to use LinkedIn to improve sales and generate leads for their business should be prepared to put in the effort and make it part of their daily schedule, in order to become part of the professional community.

Buzzwords used to describe the average LinkedIn user sum up their demographic quite neatly: affluent, educated and influential. High-earning, leading industry figures populate LinkedIn densely; penetrating this unique network and using it to its fullest potential can unlock many doors for marketers and businesses.

I have a LinkedIn profile and have tried this stuff… but never saw any return on it.

Most people treat social media as if they are trying to get married after a first date. That’s what most salespeople struggle with: patience.

Patience is key for selling with social media.

This is not a model for overnight success by any means. But it definitely has its advantages over the old school door knocking.

Beyond patience, what will separate the great from the good in 2014 is EFFORT, quality, and a smart approach. By now, most people (including most of your competitors) are using social media. But just because you are on LinkedIn, doesn’t mean that you can call yourself a Social Seller.

These concepts are new, so they’re going to take time to understand, practice, adopt and master. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t push for the change. Going social for the sake of it, doesn’t do any good. It’s pretty much a worthless activity without any substance to back it up. Do you cold call without being serious about it? Then why try to practice social selling halfheartedly? Do it right and you’ll see results.

About Author

Dimitar combines creative and critical thinking to help clients properly define their problems to build amazing sales teams. Every project he’s asking those WHY questions to prevent prematurely moving to the solution, applying a consultative and insight-driven approach to improve sales performance.

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