Sales has always been a social role. No matter what your business sells, it’s the relationship between two people that will make or break a deal. In a digital age, those connections are now created and often continued on social channels – which means that many salespeople are now being challenged to write about themselves, share content and be part of a social conversation.
Let’s be honest, this is not a skill that comes easily to many people – whether they’re part of a big corporate sales team or a busy business owner. And that’s why we’re increasingly being asked to support ‘social selling’ programs for some of our clients with some well-written copy. If you’re having trouble with these, you could join a business coaching program to familiarize yourself with social selling.
Social selling is quite simply the use of social media tools and channels to support sales executives. The goal is a faster sales cycle and increased revenue. Because many of our clients are in the business-to-business world, we’re mainly dealing with LinkedIn – you can use any social channel, you just need to know where your target customers are.
You might be surprised to know how many senior executive LinkedIn profiles we’ve sharpened up over the past few months and how many social posts we’ve researched and ghostwritten. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
- Social selling is a commitment – it takes time and resources, and a shift in behavior for the sales team. It means spending less time on cold calls, coffee chats or emails, and more time connecting online, updating your profile and sharing industry insights.
- Building a better profile is an important first step – according to one pilot program we were involved in, a complete profile (85% to 100% by LinkedIn standards) will increase the number of people looking at you by 400%.
- Social selling is proven to increase customer advocacy, referrals and upselling or cross-selling. That’s a measurable return in a relatively short space of time.
Social selling really matters – and here’s why.
Your customer is already searching for information about you, your brand and your product online. One of our clients found that their customers were already halfway through the decision process before reaching out to an account executive.
They want to know if you have the credibility and expertise to help them. And if you want to be part of the consideration set, you need to be found easily.
Once a sales team starts seeing results, they are sold on the idea of social selling. We’ve heard about people connecting with CEOs they’d struggled to reach for years, and winning new work within months of reaching out.
By building your personal brand on LinkedIn, you can make more connection with more prospects faster and broaden your existing customer relationships. My favourite outcome? You could eliminate the need to cold call – forever. And it all starts with a well-written profile and some content.
So if you need help with that, stay tuned for my next blog on building a better profile. Or let us know if you’ve seen results with social selling for your business.