Social Selling – Embrace it to Succeed

At the Inside Sales Virtual Summit, there was one topic I thought I had pinned down and was practising. That was Social Selling (or Sales 2.0). However, after having listened to 11 speakers, who touched the subject in one way or another, I can only say this is the skill to master this decade. Were I still a sales rep, I had work ahead of me.

What is Social Selling?

Social Selling - Parameters of the skill

The first talk I heard was Jill Rowley, Social Selling Evangelist from Oracle. She defined Social Selling as follow:

“[the art of] Using Social Networks to Find, Listen, Relate, Connect, Engage & Amplify content and your buyers and their sphere of influence. … It is simply Technology Enabled Networking, Research, Relationship-Building, Distribution & Sharing of Content

Breaking it up a bit: This has to do with figuring out where your buyers are, what interests them – and then share that sort of content across social channels, to reach those that influences your buyers. Finally it is about using the buyer’s channel of choice to engage with them.

Now before you continue with reading, I highly recommend that you have read about the Modern B2B buyer and about the role of Trust. You need to be aware of how the buyer has changed – and how trust plays into this. You need to understand this, in order for you to really grasp why social selling is so important.

Social Selling is important, because as the modern world works, it is the sole skill that allows you to engage with the buyer, before they make up 50-70 % of their mind.

Tool of choice for Social Selling

Continuing with Jill Rowley’s talk, which was titled: “The ABC’s of Social Selling” – ABC standing for: Always Be Connecting. She had two notions that is worth paying attention to:

  • It’s your connections that leads to the conversations that ultimately lead to the close.
  • The modern sales person does not work with prospects, but with future advocates.

One thing that all the speakers agreed on, was that LinkedIn was the most powerful tool to aide you with social selling. Finalising with the insights Jill provided, relevant for this post, she gave some strong tips on your LinkedIn usage:

  1. You should have a Buyer-Centric Profile (what are they looking for?)
  2. The invitation to connect should be personal (why do want to connect with them?)
  3. Sphere of Influence Training (how do you reach the buyer through his/her network?)

DeepDive into LinkedIn

Next up is Jamie Shanks – he has a bunch of resources available here. He dubs LinkedIn Signal the most powerful tool for Sales Reps. His recommendation was that you start by writing down a list of your competitors, and then write down what type of sales reps they have. Based on that, you monitor the activity they have. Now I respectfully copy the slide that Jamie Shanks showed:LinkedIn Signal - A tool for Social Selling Practitioners

Now another thing you can track is Competitor’s Recommendations, as these would be from their clients – clients you’d most likely want to engage with. Another way could be to track events and trade shows. Marketo, which I use currently, hosts Rockstar Events (a roadshow) – let’s say you where one of their competitors, you might like to track all those who are engaging on twitter etc. on the hashtag on the day. You know they’re interested in the solution in question, so this is a nice shortcut.

Brian Frank: Data from LinkedIn

Another slide, respectfully pasted from Brian Frank‘s presentation. He’s highlighting the difference between a personal and a business network – this is one of they key reasons why LinkedIn is such a powerful tool.

Data From LinkedIn relevant for Social Selling

The ROI of Social Selling

So why should you even bother with this? For answering this, I turn to the presentation from Craig Elias – the creator of trigger event selling. He leads with saying that sale is all about pole position. Pole Position wins 74% of the time.

Now to achieve pole position, your product must of course be top notch. However, first and foremost you must establish yourself as a credible individual within your buyers community. Refer again to the top of this post or to the post i wrote about trust.

Specific Events (Trigger Events), you should pay notice to:

  • A change in the decision maker (increases buying likelihood with a factor of 10!)
  • The company wins a large contract (8 times as likely to buy)
  • The competitor’s sales person moves on (their relationship suffers, could be a great time to approach)

Craig recommends you to read Google’s Zero Moment of Truth (free download), which is all about showing up at the right place, at the right time with the right content. This all ties into to the world of Social Selling. (I personally also recommend that you get the hang of Trigger Event selling – this seemed very promising as well).

Summarizing

Social Selling is the skill I believe is the most important one to master in todays buying landscape. It allows you to tap into specific trigger events, build yourself as a credible individual in the buyers community, approach future advocates (prospects) at a more relevant time – and best thing still, you spend your time more wisely and thus should achieve greater results.

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