Social media’s strength for businesses has always been in its ability to scale personal interactions. It is often looked upon as a marketing function and not part of the sales process. However, social media marketing allows the sales person to cultivate conversations with the character identifiers social media profiles provide. Often sales require a constant stream of phone calls or sales visits. It can seem difficult to find the time to build establish your presence through content and online contributions. Abstaining from contributing, however, can be more damaging and costly in the long run. By building credibility and demand in the marketplace, a sales rep can minimize the time he or she spends prospecting and reinvest that time in other areas.

Credibility Building Suggestions

Low Time Commitment – Take 30 minutes at the beginning of the week to schedule tweets, LinkedIn posts or Facebook posts about your area of expertise. These can be original ideas or links to useful content from other sites.

Medium Time Commitment 

  • Contribute to forums or comment on blogs about your focus area. Answer questions and resist the urge to sell or promote your own product if it’s not relevant. Be genuine, and the readers will find their way to you.
  • Develop relationships with other content creators in your field. This can be as simple as commenting on their posts or connecting with them at events and following up. They will expand your reach and be able to send recommendations your way in the long-run.

Large Time Commitment – Start and maintain a blog on your area of expertise or offer yourself as a regular contributor on third-party blogs. While this does require a larger than average investment in time, research shows that companies that blog regularly have 55% more website visitors. They are also found more easily through search engines and tend to have a higher rank than their competitors.

googlepluslogoFind People when they are looking

  • Twitter Advanced Search – One of the most useful and under-tapped tools within Twitter is the advanced search option. This feature enables you to create highly targeted searches and get notifications emailed to you when someone new matches it. Twitter lets you specify things like topic, location, and even the tone of the tweet. And while this free tool isn’t 100% accurate, it’s not a bad way to start if you’re looking for cost-free ways to find social prospects.
  • Find People on Google+ – When you first sign up, Google+ automatically scans your existing connections to see if any of them are using Google+ and invites you to connect with them by placing them in one of your Google+ Circles. While this isn’t a bad way to make sure you’re staying engaged with your current audience, it doesn’t really expand your reach or introduce you to new people. To do that, you’ll need to submit your keywords for a more detailed Google+ search. To achieve a broader reach, use Google+ search with the keywords you established to find other individuals who are interested in the things that matter to your company.

bird1Social Media and Your Sales Calls

Social media can be leveraged to keep your existing leads engaged while adding context to the conversations you have with them on your sales calls.

1) Add Social Media to Your Pre-Call Research

Typically sales reps get a collection of information before making a call to a company: the company size, their annual revenue, or their biggest needs. This dossier of information helps a rep shape the conversation in a more consultative manner. But what if a quick social media search were added to this routine? What could you learn by connecting with someone on social media and listening to what they share before calling? What if you knew what pieces of your shared content the lead clicked on before contacting your company?

Using social media, your call could reference shared articles or updates from the company or lead that you might have otherwise missed. You can see if your lead has been actively talking with other companies or researching other needs. Social can add to the full context of the individual so that your conversations are deeper and more productive.

2) Create Twitter Lists of Your Leads

As you get new leads, do a quick search to see if they are active on Twitter. If they are, follow and add them to a list of leads for the quarter. Twitter is the best channel for this sort of targeted view because following someone doesn’t require approval. By creating Twitter lists for each of your sales quarters, you can get to know the interests and breaking news of your leads before getting on calls with them. Taking this extra step can help your calls become more productive, personal and memorable. You may also like: Twittering as a Business Owner

3) Create Twitter Lists of Your Customers

Think about adding a step into your sales closing process that enables sales reps to add a new customer into a list on Twitter. Once the list is created, work with marketing and customer support if you have it to keep it monitored. Watch for comments or questions about your company,

but also make sure that you are sharing their posts when relevant and expanding their reach. Look for opportunities to surprise and delight your customers.

With the growing adoption of social media, there are more and more messages being sent over social that your sales team should be trying their best to catch. And if they’re not checking these messages, someone else will. In fact, 72.6% of salespeople using social media actually outperformed their colleagues not on social media.



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