The number of social networks is quickly expanding and gaining momentum in most professions. Your marketers are getting social, but what about your sales team? Come to think of it – haven’t sales people always been social? But are they doing it right?
In today’s social sphere, more B2B customers are accessing information and interacting with products and services via social media networks long before they begin the buying process. For sales people, the increasing number of social networks creates the opportunity for entirely new channels of listening, relating, and engaging with current and potential customers. It’s time to evolve. Introducing – the social sales professional.
Here are 3 tips to help you leverage social media to help increase your sales productivity and in turn, provide more value for your customers.
Tip #1: Coordinate your teams’ social sales network.
Everyone should be on the same page, or least on the same social page. Encouraging your sales team to join and actively participate on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ (along with other appropriate social networks) can create a stronger presence online – getting people to like you, believe you, and trust you. Social media networks act as major information streams. They provide you, and your customers, with relevant and up-to-date information from industry blogs and thought leaders as well as information on what the competition is up to. Your business benefits from this information flow, and your value to your customer is amplified when your sales professionals are active on these social platforms. Social networks can give you a competitive advantage and make a difference when it comes to winning the sale. Whether your business is online or offline, it’s important to be viewed as an expert in your field across personal and professional social networks.
Tip #2: Your customers are talking. Are you listening?
I think it’s safe to say that most of us talk more than we listen, and in sales it is especially important to talk less and listen more. Good sales professionals are always willing to listen. Many sales people are still using the traditional cold calling to probe and learn about a customers pain points. However, now more than ever, customers are willing to share their experiences and reviews of products with everyone online. Leveraging social tools like Twitter can act as incredibly powerful tools for listening to the market and your customers in real time and uncensored. It’s easy to listen to positive feedback from customers, but sales people should also see a complaint about a product as an opportunity to engage that user, solve their problem, and turn them into an advocate. Social listening tools can provide sales professionals with a very good understanding of their customers’ business and day-to-day challenges. If customers are willing to talk, sales people should to be eager to listen.
Tip #3: Really follow the lead.
Sales professionals are encouraged to follow their leads, but what about literally following their leads on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. Put your customers in your social media stream. Monitoring and gathering information from these social networks can help generate leads and increase sales productivity. Sales professionals approach networking events as a way of sharing information, gathering contacts and generating leads for potential business. Social media networks can be used in a similar way, but only if you are tapped into your customers networks. LinkedIn, for example, is often used to get introduced and connect to decision makers in your industry as well as to educate and share content with potential customers. But LinkedIn groups and forums are also a great place to learn what your customer is thinking and doing.
When it comes to attracting new leads and people for your business, positioning yourself as a thought leader on social network forums and discussions, can add value to your current and potential customers. Sales professionals should not be using social platforms to commercially sell their product. Instead, they should be building their social network and be connecting with their customers.
In order to be successful at social sales, you must offer the customer something beyond your product. Ultimately, you must be someone your customers want to get to know.