Many marketing and sales professionals aimlessly use social media and don’t have a grasp on how to leverage social media to uncover opportunities. They create profiles, form connections, and even share content without a discernible strategy. Oftentimes marketing professionals don’t know how to make social engrained in the sales process, so that it is a predictable part of how your company goes to market.
In this webinar, PeopleLinx CMO Michael Idinopulos shares tips on how to move beyond “random acts of social” and integrate social networking into core marketing and sales process. Idinopulos has been with PeopleLinx for over a year, and previously served as Chief Customer Officer at Socialtext, where he implemented the first social software inside corporate, nonprofit and government organizations.
What is Social Selling?
Social selling is leveraging digital social networks to create and nurture relationships which enhance your sales efforts. This may sound simple, but a lot of people have misconceptions when it comes to social selling.
Social selling is:
- Endorsing a customer on LinkedIn.
- Running LinkedIn searches for outbound targets
- Liking a client’s Facebook post.
- Sharing the company’s latest blog post on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.
- Studying prospects on LinkedIn and Twitter before a meeting.
- Following key accounts on Twitter.
- Retweeting a client.
Social selling is not:
- Delivering the hard sell on LinkedIn.
- Closing deals on Twitter.
- A replacement for talking to prospects.
- A magic bullet for making quota.
What we’re talking about is a way to enhance the process to talking to prospects to an expanded set of tools and to make the live interaction more meaningful and personal. All of the good skills of being a sales representative, knowing your client, your pitch, your value proposition and being able to find a good fit are still the difference between making quota and not making quota. These social selling tools just make the selling process more powerful.
Why Social Selling?
So why is social selling worth investing in? Aberdeen Group has done research with findings that tell the entire story.
- Teams sell more with social selling: 64% of sales teams that use social selling hit quota, compared to 49% that don’t.
- Reps hit quota with social selling: 46% of sales reps using social selling achieve quota, 38% who aren’t, don’t.
- Renewal rates increase with social selling: Sales reps who use social selling report a 55% customer renewal rate and a sales forecast accuracy of 54%.
Bottom Line: Representatives sell more when they use online social networks. When you look at all the key performance indicators—whether its quota attainment, renewal rate or forecast accuracy—all these metrics are better when you use social.
Let’s talk more about the details of what this really means.
Social selling is not one activity. It’s many different activities, depending on which of the different sales activities you’re engaged with. Selling is many things—it’s awareness, lead generation, qualification, and everything on this chart:
This is one representation of the sales funnel. Everyone has their own version of this, but they all look something like this. What we find is that at every step of the process, there are places where social tools and social networks can improve individual and team productivity.
- Awareness: When you’re building awareness, social networks are a great place to find influencers, to do content marketing and to promote the content that your company and advocates have created. Social networks are also a great place to find super fans and other third-party advocates.
- Lead generation: When you’re doing outbound lead generation, you’re trying to find people to call. Everyone says cold calling is dead, and the reason it’s dead is that it’s been replaced by warm calling, where you’re identifying the target segment you’ll reach out to using LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. For inbound, they’re a great way to generate traffic. Leading up to this webinar, KISSmetrics did a lot of social promotion, as did PeopleLinx and others to bring people in.
- Qualification: This is touched by the sales process. When you qualify leads, you can go on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. You can see who people are, what they’re doing and what they’re about. Do they match the profile of somebody who’s going to buy from you?
- Opportunity: When you start to hand the leads off to an outside sales representative who can actually work the opportunity, research the prospects before you give the pitch. Understand who you’re talking to, using the tools to identify ways you can connect with them. Knowing similar people or going to the same school are both pieces of information you can use to make the opportunity phase more effective.
- Upsell: After somebody closes, it’s important to continue engaging with your customers. Share content with them, Tweet their news, Retweet when they Tweet, liking the things they share. Always draw customers closer to you to ensure upsell and renewals.
- Referral: Referrals are a spectacular source of leads. But you only get them when you have customers who feel very close to you and the company and feel positively about their relationship with you.
As you can see, we’re touching every inch of the sales funnel. What that means is that we’re touching every role in the organization. Each person or each role is using the tools differently.
It’s an old slogan to say that “everyone is in sales”. In the world of social, “everyone’s in sales” really means something now. Everyone has social networks. The accessibility and transparency of social networks is greater than before. Everyone has the ability to share content and contribute to the sales funnel.
This is a huge opportunity, but also a great undertaking. When you start thinking about what it takes to get all of these people using social in ways that Idinopulos is talking about, you’re really talking about a whole change of the organization. This isn’t something that just one or two people can do on Hootsuite. We’re talking about fundamentally changing the way people do their jobs. This means process change, changes in habit and changes in culture.
The big question is: How do you get your company to optimize social selling? To find out how, watch the webinar: