Social selling and why it's important to your business, part two

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In our last blog on the use of social media for marketing and selling, we defined social selling and the importance it has in today's business world.

  • "Research shows us that 75% of B2B buyers were influenced through social media when making their last purchase decision."

As you know, our customers have changed forever due to the amount of information they have access to over the internet. As sales professionals, we need to adapt our sales process to find and engage with customers on the social platforms where they are gathering this information.

  • According to Forrester, "100% of Business Decision Makers use Social Media."

Remember from our last blog on this topic that selling via social media should be considered an additional layer to use with your existing sales process. In fact, these strategies complement all stages of a sales funnel and help to move the buyer through the buyer's journey as you gain their trust and add value for them.

In this second installment on how to leverage social media to help your sales efforts, we offer an effective 5 step process your team can adopt to get things started as well as a list of do's and don'ts that will help steer you in the right direction.

5 Step Process

  • Research:
    You will first need to identify who you are targeting based on the account you are trying to attract and the key decision maker within that account that you want to influence.

    • The goal in this step is to learn as much about your prospect as possible so can you educate them later using relevant content based on their unique circumstances.

    • Once you've identified your prospect, then it's time to find, profile, and socially surround them on their favorite social media sites. "Find" them on the most popular platforms to see which ones they are using regularly, and also check to see which sites their company engages with most frequently.

    • "Profile" your prospect by understanding their goals, problems, and needs and start identifying common patterns in their social behavior.

    • Now "surround" them on social media by joining the same interest groups based on their personal, company, and industry interactions.

  • Monitor:
    This is a key step in the process because it gives you the important clues you can use to understand the prospect's goals, problems, and needs and where they are in their buyer's journey.

    • You will also be thinking about whether this prospect fits your company's ideal buyer's profile.

    • Here you will set the stage for your social media interactions, helping your prospect by sharing useful knowledge and positioning yourself as a subject matter expert. This can be time consuming unless you have a good social monitoring tool like HubSpot to help automate this process for you. 

  • Engage & Educate:
    You will now be able to educate your prospect in ways that will help them address their challenges or needs and achieve their goals.  

    • This is how you will begin developing your credibility and relationship with your audience using social media. 

    • As you share relevant content from blogs, ebooks, case studies, and videos, focus only on building trust. Make sure you are always trying to teach them something new and valuable. The most common and fastest way to engage and educate is through the 3 key platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

  • Build:
    Build your network by following your prospects on Twitter and sending them a connect request on LinkedIn or Facebook once you have built trust and positioned yourself as a thought leader.

    • Don't stop there. Follow and connect with other people in their network across all channels to associate yourself with the group, company, or industry.

    • Share and recommend their content within your network, provide your two cents on their content as an expert, and continue to share content that can help them.

  • Advise:
    Having established credibility and trust, it is now time to continue to nurture the relationship and work towards your goal, and, more importantly, help move your buyers toward their goal of selecting a solution. This should be a natural progression in the relationship when you feel confident that you:

    • Have a firm understanding of their goals, problems, and needs.

    • Can offer them the best solution for their unique situation.

    • Believe they are a great fit for your company.

Now it's time to schedule a discovery call or meeting to present your well thought out solution as the best in class for them.

Do's and Don'ts

Selling through social media platforms is about helping you stay connected to your prospects and get more insights into their needs so you can offer a potential solution. It is about educating your prospects about your product or service and ultimately leaving the buying decision up to them.

Many sales professionals dive into social selling without a grasp of the game's unwritten rules. Use the list below as a guide so you can achieve your desired results using the right balance of educating and engagement versus selling.

  • DO set SMART goals: Social selling requires careful planning. To get results, you first need to set meaningful and measurable goals and have a repeatable routine.

  • DON'T wing it: Don't rush into it without setting goals and expectations or your results won't be what you had hoped for.

  • DO Engage: Relevant social engagement is the key to success. Initiate one-on-one communication and be approachable and responsive to your prospects.

  • DON'T broadcast messages or content: Social selling is all about building relationships and knowing your prospects. Keep the sharing of content on a one-to-one basis unless it's in a group forum.

  • DO add value: To become a trusted advisor, always have something useful to offer prospects for showing their interest. A piece of relevant content or expert advice will help you build value in yourself and your company.

  • DON'T just sell: If you are always thinking about closing the sale, you will not be successful in social selling.

  • DO listen carefully: Learn your prospects' needs, as well as what your competition can offer. This will help better position your solution - knowledge is power.

  • DON'T be fake: If you use social media without the genuine intent to build relationships and help others, it will be easy for others to see. Be yourself, show your personality when appropriate and have the right intentions before jumping in.

  • DO build trust in everything you do: After you build solid relationships, make sure to continually nurture them to build trust and credibility. Everything else will fall into place if you always seek to do this during every interaction.

Now you have a repeatable process to follow and several Do's and Don'ts to abide by to get you started.

As the saying goes, "practice makes perfect", so start practicing and refining your social media sales strategy with the right intent and it will help create a sustainable sales funnel for your business.

It won't happen overnight, so be patient and stick with it!

If you'd like to learn more about how Illumine8 can help you with your business's unique marketing needs, we would love to hear from you.

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