How to use Social Selling to generate pipeline and revenue
Author: Carmen Iliescu, EMEA Sales Effectiveness Leader at Oracle Corporation
What is the profile of the modern buyer? Well informed, digitally driven, connected to real-time information, and empowered.
In turn, how should the modern 21st century sales person look like? Mobile, collaborative, customer-centric, relevant and engaging.
The successful sales professionals of our days know that the days of cold calling are a thing of the past, and instead use Social Networks to Find, Listen, Relate, Connect, Engage & Amplify their buyers and their sphere of influence.
Social Selling is the practice of leveraging social networks and the associated tools (Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook) in the overall sales function, from lead generation, to closing the deal, to account management. It provides salespeople the ability to engage with, and stay connected to existing and future customers directly, without picking up the phone, offering a unique advantage to the socially aware seller and buyers.
What are the specific benefits of social selling?
- It creates leverage which drives sales effectiveness
Social selling makes it possible to increase your network of relationships and fully leverage them. You can follow, communicate and create value for this network constantly and in a timely and relevant manner. You can leverage existing customers for referral – we all know customer referrals are much more effective than cold calling.
How do you do this? Use the Summary section on your LinkedIn profile, or post on your Wall in your- professional- Facebook account, relevant information about the solutions or services you offer, your major accounts, customer success stories you’ve had. Ask your trusted customers to Recommend you on LinkedIn.
- It builds credibility enabling sales professionals to position themselves as Trusted Advisors
Buyers don’t buy from companies but from people they trust and like. Social Selling allows you to build trust with your customers before they even know they are becoming your customer, letting your social persona show your understanding of market trends and buyer needs.
How do you do this? Share relevant articles and online content with your prospects and customers. Send them recommendations and alert them on possible market trends that may impact their business.
- It provides access which enables sales professionals to connect directly with key Decision Makers.
Social selling allows you to be much more informed about your prospect and customers. You not only know who they are, their titles and responsibilities, but also what’s important for them. You know who their key influencers are. You know what’s on their mind and you know that you can reach them at the right time in a personal way.
How do you do this? Check your customers’ Groups and Memberships sections on their LinkedIn profile; see who they Follow. Join those groups and contribute to them with relevant comments, ask questions, appreciate contributions.
Still not convinced?
Let’s look at some statistics:
- 78% of Salespeople using social media outsell their peers
- 70% of B2B purchase cycles are completed before the buyer considers contacting the vendor
- 54% of Salespeople who used social media tracked their social media usage back to at least one closed deal.
Social selling is about recognizing that the buying cycle is controlled by a more informed and more connected customer, demanding relevance from sales professionals. It is imperative that sales professionals leverage social tools to actively listen, engage, and add value to the customer.