Does your business have a social selling strategy? If not, you’re at a disadvantage to companies that do. LinkedIn found that 78% of social sellers outperform peers, attract 45% more leads and are nearly 2x as likely to hit their quotas vs those who don’t use social media to support their sales. However, unleashing your sales team on social media should be done with care and planning. Here’s how you can get started building a social sales program that delivers.
What is social selling?
Social selling is the phrase referring to when sales professionals use social media to establish their professional brand, share content and build and relationships to nurture leads and customers in an effort to increase sales, referrals and retention.
Isn’t my brand’s social media strategy enough?
Although having a strong brand presence on social media is a vital component to any digital marketing strategy today, adding a social sales component to your strategy can help lift your results and help your sales team increase their pipeline and deals. This is because most people trust people they know vs general company messaging, and also due to the fact that the buying process for most products and services has become more digital.
Benefits to Social Sales Programs
There are notable risks involved to social selling, especially if you’re working in a regulated industry like banking and insurance, including reputation and compliance risk. However, there are many benefits to establishing a social sales program that can help boost your bottom line. Your company and sales team can benefit from:
Establishing a Professional Image: Allowing your sales team to optimize and control their professional image with relevant social media content, imagery and connections can help increase leads. LinkedIn found that people who simply have a profile photo can get up to 21x more profile views than those who don’t.
Connecting with Prospects & Customers: Business is still heavily based on relationships. When your sales reps can leverage social media to build relationships, they can increase referrals and retention. For example, IBM increased their sales by 400% thanks to their inbound social selling program.
- Building Thought Leadership: People don’t like being sold to, but they love to learn from experts. By allowing your sales team to share their expertise, they can establish thought leadership and stay top of mind with people in the market for your services.
How to Get Started with a Social Sales Program
Before allowing your sales team to use social media for business, it’s imperative that you put a social media policy in place. Most businesses create a specific social sales program that provides training, rules, monitoring and oversight. It’s also smart to create a content repository for your social selling team to share and create procedures on how to get custom content through the approval process. Depending on the size of your program or nature of your industry, you may need a tool that monitors and archives social media activity for each rep and offers performance metrics.
Your social sales team should also understand the basics of content strategy and take time to understand their target market before posting. Here are some questions to help you get started:
What insight do you know about your target market?
What are their common pain points?
How do you help others reach their goals and solve their problems?
What questions are typical that you address?
How can you showcase how you’ve helped clients (if applicable)?
In your social sales training, it’s important to help your team understand the appropriate posting cadence, social media content mix and tone to ensure they are representing your business in the best way possible. Your program should also cover best practices on prospecting and connecting with people across approved social channels.
LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index
LinkedIn is one of the best social networks to start with social selling since it’s built as a professional social network, especially for B2B. They recently rolled out a Social Selling Index, which gives your LinkedIn profile a score based upon several factors including your personal brand, connections, and engagement. This can be a good guide for sales people to use to see where they stand and work towards continuous improvement.
Social selling can help attract more prospects and allow sales teams to nurture leads through the buyer’s journey. Instead of wasting time cold calling, empowering your sales team to glean insights from social and establish themselves as thought leaders can increase your company’s bottom line. If you’re looking to get started in social selling, contact us for help in developing or administering your social training program or social media content.