I’ve been asked to be part of the “Best Practices for Selling B2B in the Digital Age: Tops Salesforce.com Hacks By And For Stellar Salespeople” on 5/28 at 2pm EST where me and 34 other sales professionals who leverage social media to drive results will be answering questions and sharing our thoughts and tips on social selling. Check out the details and feel free to register here if you want to join in: http://ww2.kitedesk.com/lp/barrows-tweet-jam.html.
Two of the main questions that will be asked are: ‘What is your process for prospecting in the digital/social age?’ and ‘Describe a success story you’ve experience by following this process.’ Since the Sales Jam is going to be in Twitter the answers to questions are limited to the 140 characters I thought I would dive a little deeper into these with a blog post to prep for the event. I’m going to combine my answers to the questions by sharing my thoughts on the two main components of social selling and outlining my process which has helped me achieve success in more ways than one.
The two main parts of social selling are 1) listening to the social world for triggers and things happening with our prospects/customers that we can make relevant connections to and 2) building our personal brand so we’re seen as more than just a sales rep. The first part of social selling is absolutely necessary for short and mid-term success in sales. If you’re not leveraging the social tools right now to make connections with your clients then you’re well on your way to becoming irrelevant. The second part about building your brand is more of a mid to long term strategy but is becoming increasingly more important to figure out.
Both parts are ultimately about being relevant and adding value. The challenge is how to do them effectively without wasting time and/or getting in the way of actually selling. The key is to integrate them into your routine. Take the old school routine of waking up in the morning and reading the (physical) paper while you drink your coffee. The articles in the paper are limited to the number of pages printed, with some being way more relevant and interesting to you than others and they are all written by people who usually work for the same company with a similar voice. With technology we now have access to any information we want and can choose what we want to read about and from who. So instead of the morning paper, shift your routine slightly and set up your systems to follow clients, prospects and information you’re interested in and then leverage the information to make connections and build your brand.
For the side of social selling focused on listening to the social world for triggers and making relevant connections to our prospects and clients we can leverage tools like www.insideview.com, google alerts, www.techwalkeralerts.com and even Facebook and Twitter. I personally set up my top 25, Tier1 accounts on all these tools and have the data come to me every morning instead of me going out and having to look for it. As I scan through the info I look for triggers to make connections to and I send out 3-5 targeted e-mails every morning that get a 25%+ response rate.
As for the other side of social selling and building our brand, we can leverage tools like Feedly or Flipboard to send us information about specific topics and information that we’re interested in and may be relevant to our target audience. For example, if you sell into the Healthcare industry you can sign up for blogs that focus on healthcare. As we read through this information to educate ourselves and we find something we think our target audience might find value in we can simply share it out through tools like Linkedin and Twitter or send the articles directly to specific clients. It takes a few extra seconds to share out an article that you just finished reading and with that, you’ve just helped build your brand.
With these tools and creating a routine with a fairly basic approach to social selling I’ve been able to drive both short and long term results, including being named to Forbes’ top 30 list of Social Sellers in the World. I’m looking forward to the Sales Jam next week to continue to leverage social to share insights, learn, listen and build my brand. I hope you’ll join me and do the same. Good luck and happy selling.