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Seven Secrets to Social Selling

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Some very useful tips, advice and guidance on how to make the most from social selling

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Seven Secrets to Social Selling

  1. 1. The 7 Secrets to Social Selling Web: http://dynamicsignal.com Twitter: @dynamic_signal
  2. 2. Table of Contents Secret 1: Smile, You’re On Social Media Page 4 Secret 2: Sharing is Caring, Oversharing is Not Page 5 Secret 3: More Social, More Prospects Page 6 Secret 4: Collaborate and Listen… for Buying Signals Page 7 Secret 5: Goodbye Cold Calls, Hello Warm Leads Page 8 Secret 6: Keep on Keeping in Touch Page 9 Secret 7: Your New Best Friend: A Social Media Mgmt Tool Page 10 About Dynamic Signal Page 12 2
  3. 3. 3 The 7 Secrets to Social Selling Selling is social by nature Not surprisingly, salespeople are social, and it’s been that way since the time of door-to-door sales. Salespeople love connecting with prospects and offering specific solutions to turn prospects into happy customers. Because of how social the sales process is, salespeople are naturally turning to social media as a new prospecting and selling channel. According to a recent Social Selling Study by Dynamic Signal, over half of respondents were already practicing social selling. That number is only likely to increase as more salespeople recognize the value and better understand how to use social media. Hop on the social media train The reason salespeople are creating accounts and tweeting away is simple: today's customers are doing their own company and product research before ever contacting sales. According to Forrester, buyers may be between two-thirds and 90% of the way through their purchasing journey before reaching out to sales. If companies and their sales teams don't have a strong online presence, consumers may look elsewhere, like at competitors that are easier to find. This is why salespeople need to put their best social media face forward. Salespeople need to show that they understand their industry, their product, and most importantly, that they know how to solve customers’ problems. The easiest and most accessible way to show this is on social media. Learn the rules of the social media road When it comes to social media, you need to know some basic guidelines and you’ve got to have a plan. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Even if Twitter is as foreign to you as a cassette tape is to anyone under 20, you just need to sign up for a few social media accounts and start getting in there. Get to know the social media rules. And understand that while you should start getting your hands dirty immediately, you should have a social media plan for success, with short-term and long-term goals. We can help set you up for success with the guardrails and knowledge you need to get in the social game. In this ebook you’ll learn: •  Which social media channels you should use •  How you can use them effectively to find leads and convert those leads into customers •  How to balance your personal and professional social media presence •  And more!
  4. 4. Smile, You’re on Social Media To be competitive, you need to build personal credibility and a strong reputation on social media. When customers and prospects search for you online – and trust us, they will – they should find active social media accounts. But it’s not enough to tweet about your breakfast habits. You need to show you’re actively involved in and knowledgeable about your specific industry. Keep it classy...and brand consistent Your profile shouldn’t be boring, but it needs to be professional. If it would make your boss  cringe, some updates are in order. First things first, use a professional photo. Sure, Fluffy might be the greatest cat in the world, but she needs to stay out of your profile picture.  People are on social to talk to other people...not Fluffy or logos.  You should also use your name (or some variation), so people talk to “Jim Smith” not “Yankeesfan35684.” Lead with a professional profile and you can get into the sports talk once the conversation gets rolling. Last but not least, any description you use should align with the company’s messaging. If you want to do a quick check, look over your company’s website to make sure the language you use is consistent with what’s there. Be a thought leader Leverage social media to assert your expertise and demonstrate your knowledge. You should regularly produce and share relevant content, about both your company and industry. Your company likely produces regular content like case studies and blog posts which are worth promoting. Just mix it in with non-company specific pieces to show that you are aware of and understand the industry as a whole. Look for reputable sources like analyst firms and major publications that offer an unbiased viewpoint. It’s fine to promote a blog with great information, just be careful not to accidentally promote a direct competitor’s content. Be a team player In addition to consistently putting out a steady stream of valuable content, you should participate in social media discussions about your industry and answer questions, even if the questions aren’t specifically about your company or product. If you actively share and participate on social, prospects will see you not only as a sales contact, but as an industry expert. 4 1 •  61% of consumers are more likely to purchase goods from a site with custom content (Sekari) •  Per dollar spent, content marketing generates approximately 3X as many leads as traditional marketing (Pardot) •  Blogs produced a new customer for 43% of marketers last year (HubSpot) Did you know? To Do: q  Create or review your profile to make sure you have a professional photo and name and a description that is consistent with your company’s messaging. q  Find 3 sources that you can regularly check for industry related content to share. q  Start or join in 2 conversations about your industry. Don’t sell your product, just offer advice and opinions that highlight your industry knowledge.
  5. 5. Sharing is Caring, Oversharing is Not Customers want to make personal, social connections online. Yes, it’s crucial for prospects and customers to see you as a knowledgeable, professional source. But they also want to know that you’re personable, easy to work with, and that they will have a pain-free sales process. Introduce your professional life to your personal life On social media, the lines between personal and business blur. That doesn’t mean you should tweet about a new product launch one minute and share a photo of last weekend’s wild party the next. But go ahead and talk about an award your company won. And then talk about your recent Hawaiian vacation, a great new restaurant you found, or how close the score was at last night’s game. Some harmless fun on social is just that- harmless. By including photos of yourself and sharing insight into your personal life, you’ll show that you’re more than smart and professional. You’re also fun and have passions outside of work. It’s ok to show that side of you. Just follow the previous tip on building credibility and keep it classy. Know the boundaries Yes, you should be yourself...but the workplace appropriate version of yourself. If you’re the office comedian, social is the place to show that off. Outrageous commentary is entertaining. Just make sure it doesn’t have the potential to offend your followers, especially since some will be customers or prospects. Use the same caution that you would use in a client meeting and you’ll be fine. Just be yourself. It’s cheesy, but true. People want to do business with people, not well spoken social media robots. 5 2 •  54% of salespeople said they have closed at least one deal using social media (Forbes) •  On average, most top brands are active on five to nine social media platforms (International Business Times) •  87% of companies around the world have a presence on Facebook and Twitter (Invesp) Did you know? To Do: q  Find a social media role model. Look for someone you respect who has a strong professional reputation and yet manages to have a genuine, personal social media presence. q  Create a balance in content you share between industry and company content and personal shares. See what feels right for you, like ⅔ business related and ⅓ personal content.
  6. 6. More Social, More Prospects You can do more with social media than just show you’re credible and professional; you can actually find and connect with prospects. In Dynamic Signal’s recent Social Selling Report, of the high-achieving social sellers who responded, about 78% of them said they use social media for prospecting. Do your homework first You’ll want to research the demographics of major social media channels to see if they fit with your company’s customer base. In order to find and engage with your prospects, you need to know which social networks they’re on. For instance, consumer brands are likely to have a lot of success on Facebook and Pinterest, but most B2B businesses will want to focus on networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. Those are just general guidelines to follow though. No one likes homework, but you have to get to know your customers’ social media habits. While you’ll miss potential opportunities to connect with leads if you don’t do your homework, most salespeople will find some prospects on Twitter and LinkedIn, so those are good places to start. How to prospect on Twitter Use Twitter’s advanced search tool to research keywords and phrases that matter to your customers in order to find leads like those customers. Once you’ve found those leads, you can categorize them into lists to keep track of them. All you have to do is go to your profile, select lists from the sidebar, give your list a title and description, select private list (so your list will only be viewable by you), and you’re done. You can now add prospects to the list so you can easily monitor their conversations before making a direct touch. Listen for social signals where you can add value, which may not necessarily be a pitch. If your prospect gives signals that show interest in your industry or a related one, but doesn’t seem far enough along to need a solution, you can still step in and offer an opinion or advice. You’ll start to build a relationship so when your lead does need a solution you can provide, you’ll be top of mind. How to prospect on LinkedIn It’s the online water cooler for professionals, and a great way to demonstrate thought leadership to prospects. Find and join groups related to your target customer and start sharing valuable content to assert yourself as an expert in your field. But don’t just push content out and hope someone connects with it. Be an active participant in discussions so others in the group see you as an industry expert, not just as a good salesperson. Joining in LinkedIn group conversations is just the first quarter of the game. After you make some good shots, the long game is to make more, personal connections and eventually get introductions and referrals. Don’t expect that right off the bat, but make it a part of your long-term game plan. 6 To Do: q  Look up the demographics of social media channels and focus on a few that closely match the demographics of your target customers. q  Go through the process of creating a test list on Twitter. Once you understand how it works, think about the easiest way to categorize those leads and then add them to lists. You might consider dividing them by geography, company size, or how far along in the sales process they are. q  Find 3 LinkedIn Groups that are related to your industry. Look for ones with a lot of members and regular activity. You should check in everyday and aim to add at least 2-3 thoughtful comments or questions. 3 •  Women constitute 80% of Pinterest users (Search Engine Journal) •  Approximately 64% of users on Google+ are male (Media Bistro) •  Twitter’s fastest growing age demographic is 55-64 year olds (Yahoo!) •  87% of Fortune 100 companies have a presence on at least 1 social media network (Media Bistro) Did you know?
  7. 7. Collaborate and Listen… for Buying Signals Want to know where potential customers are in the buying cycle? Listen up. To your prospects that is. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for buying signals that show these prospects are either ready to make a purchase or will likely make one down the line. Some of these signals will be blatantly obvious, but much of the time, they’ll be very subtle. Obvious signals These will be the social media equivalent of someone shouting from a rooftop. For example, let’s say you’re a CRM software sales rockstar. A potential lead tweets about a hiring spree on his company’s sales team and how much easier life would be with a CRM platform. Spring into action and make that prospect’s day. Subtle signals To spot these signals, you’ll have to put on your detective hat. Let’s use the above scenario again, except this time, a potential lead just mentions they’ve recently increased their sales team. This potential lead hasn’t mentioned or necessarily seen a need for CRM software yet, but that’s where you come in. Don’t expect a home run Finding a buying signal is just the starting point. You generally can’t go right from there to a pitch- unless you want to strike out. You have to figure out what information you can provide prospects that will get you on their radar, but more importantly, will actually help them. You have to deliver the right message at the right time, and slowly make it around the bases before you can make a run for home plate. If someone is begging for a solution, go for that big home run. Otherwise, focus on understanding where they are in the sales funnel and then nurture them by adding the right content. 7 4 To Do: q  Review the prospect lists you created on the last page and see if you can identify obvious and subtle signals. Once you find some patterns in keywords, you can search and find more prospects giving these buying signals. q  Look over some of your company’s case studies. When you see a prospect talking about a problem your company can solve, offer them a case study that specifically highlights how your product has helped others overcome the same challenge. •  Social media generates almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, daily mail, or PPC (Digital Insights) •  78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers who weren’t using social media (Forbes) •  On Twitter, frequency and quality matter: 71% of all tweets are ignored and just 23% generate a reply (Search Engine Journal) Did you know?
  8. 8. Goodbye Cold Calls, Hello Warm Leads No one likes cold calls. Salespeople don’t enjoy making them and customers don’t like receiving them. But with social media, you can avoid cold calls altogether and engage in warm leads, simply by doing some research and picking the right time to reach out. Warm leads up Instead of picking up the phone and calling a lead, only knowing name and phone number, you have to prepare. Before you start dialing, go on LinkedIn to find professional information, like job history, and you can search Facebook and Twitter to learn some personal details, like passions and hobbies. Don’t go too far in your research and start the call by asking how his wife’s sister is holding up after her skiing accident. It’s just good to know if you have some common connection that can get the conversation rolling. Leverage your network to find already warm leads Look at the LinkedIn networks of your friends, coworkers, and customers to see if there are potential opportunities and ask for introductions to specific people. When you’re referred to a prospect by someone you know, there’s a better chance that you’ll actually connect, especially since you have someone in common. It makes that initial conversation much smoother, and that can be a big hurdle in converting a lead. Jump over that hurdle smoothly by finding that common connection. 8 5 •  LinkedIn is considered the most important social network for B2B marketers (The Real Time Report) •  LinkedIn generates more leads than Facebook, Twitter, or blogging for B2B (Inside View) •  LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with over 259 million users (LinkedIn) Did you know? To Do: q  When you have a prospect you want to turn into a warm lead, search career history on LinkedIn. Review the last few tweets they’ve sent to see if you share any common interests. Look for conversation starters. q  Start with Twitter and LinkedIn for prospect research, but don’t be afraid to get creative. For example, if a prospect has a Pinterest account or a Tumblr, those will give you a more personal look than you would otherwise have. q  Before reaching out to a new lead, search LinkedIn to see if you have a connection in common who could make an introduction.
  9. 9. Keep on Keeping in Touch You already know how important the relationship is between salesperson and customer. However, it’s not easy to maintain that relationship after the sale has been made. You want to know how customers are doing and if you can help out in anyway, but you don’t want to bother them with frequent calls or emails. It’s also a lot of work for you to keep tabs on all your customers. If only there was a better way… Social is low hassle Forget emailing back and forth to set up a time to talk, which wastes time and can be annoying for both you and the customer. Not exactly the best relationship building technique. It’s much less of a hassle on both ends to send out a quick check-in message on social. It’s more personal than sending an email, but still accomplishes the same goal: making sure your customer knows you are there to help. Because of how quick and easy communication becomes with social media, you can increase the frequency of customer contact without bothering them or taking too much of their time. Social is casual When you’re trying to continue the connection with a customer, neither of you wants it to feel like a mandatory, black tie affair. Having to set up formal meetings is unnecessary. Social is the more informal, but still professional way to reach the same goal of a stronger relationship. Because social media is casual, you get a personal, holistic view of customers that you’re unlikely to get with phone calls or emails. Social is where your customers live Your customers are already on social media and all their friends are too. So if for some reason those customers are unhappy with your product or service, social is where they’ll go to vent about it. Paying attention to your customers on social will allow you to react and respond quickly. Often, customers just want to know they’re being heard. They don’t expect immediate solutions, just immediate contact and concern for their problems. So be there. 9 6 •  77% of Fortune 500 companies have active Twitter accounts (Search Engine Watch) •  50% of Twitter users are more likely to purchase from brands they follow (Social Media Today) •  34% of marketers say they have generated leads using Twitter (Social Media Today) Did you know? To Do: q  Determine which social media platforms your customers are most active on, and which they seem to be using for business use. That’s where you’ll want to reach out to them. q  Make a customer’s day by retweeting (RT) praise about your company from that customer. If your reach is large, the customer might even gain a few new followers.
  10. 10. Your New Best Friend: A Social Media Management Tool Throughout this ebook, we’ve discussed how crucial social media is to finding and engaging with prospects. It’s really easy to say, you should do x,y, and z and then you’ll create social media magic. But searching, listening, connecting, and engaging...it’s a lot to figure out and manage. That’s where your new best friend, a social media management tool, comes in. Gather conversations It’s really difficult (and annoying) to go to individual social media sites and try to keep track of what people are saying about your product and company. Many social media management tools bring conversations from various social media accounts into one location or stream. So if you want to keep track of company or product mentions, you can use those as keywords and only conversations that contain your company or product name will show up in the stream. Then, you can respond right from your monitoring tool, whether that conversation is happening on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Social media shouldn’t feel like a game of whac-a- mole, where you have to bounce around and not miss a mole (or conversation) or you miss out on scoring points (with prospects and customers). Social media management tools give you a giant mallet with only one mole to watch out for. Whack! Schedule content, focus on connections If you’ve made it this far, you know how important it is to share valuable content on social media. But it’s tough to balance your time to find content, share it with the right people at the right time, locate prospects, connect with them, and maintain relationships. You’ll spread yourself thin if you try to do everything on your own. With a social media management tool, you can schedule posts for multiple sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, without having to go to each of those sites individually. You can send out the same message on all channels or customize it (meaning you don’t have to limit your Facebook posts to 140 characters). Not only can you reply to connections and manage your networks, but you can schedule messages for an hour, day, or week ahead of time. This way, you schedule content as you find it, and can then focus your efforts on having conversations with prospects and not on remembering to share content. 10 7 •  There are over 300 social media monitoring tools available worldwide (Goldbach Interactive) •  60% of businesses are looking to increase social media monitoring in 2014 (Brandwatch) •  The #1 deciding factor for purchasing a Social Media Monitoring tool is the metrics it offers (KISS Metrics) Did you know? To Do: q  Try out a free social monitoring platform to test the waters before investing money in a paid service. q  Make sure to schedule multiple posts across all your social networks everyday. And since social media doesn’t shut down when you leave at 5, schedule posts for the weekends, at night and during the holidays. q  Using a social monitoring platform that has the ability to track your metrics is key. You can check how your campaigns are doing and learn from your numbers, including potential prospects.
  11. 11. Your New Best Friend: A Social Media Management Tool, Continued How to find the right tool It seems like there are as many tools to help manage and monitor social media as there are social media sites. So how do you find the one that can streamline your processes without making your life unnecessarily complicated? Well, think about what you need the tool for. If you really only want to use Twitter, because that’s where your potential leads are, a comprehensive tool like HootSuite or SproutSocial is going to be overkill. Something like TweetDeck would be a much better fit for Twitter monitoring and scheduling, without overcomplicating your day. However, if you want to schedule and monitor across social channels, HootSuite or SproutSocial would be great choices. They might take a bit more work to learn and initially use, but in the long run, they’ll save you time and effort and allow you to focus on those important prospect conversations.   11 7
  12. 12. 12 About Dynamic Signal Dynamic Signal (www.dynamicsignal.com) is a Silicon Valley software company that provides VoiceStorm™, a people powered marketing platform that helps top brands partner with and leverage the social reach & influence of their employees, fans and customers to achieve their branding, marketing and commerce goals. VoiceStorm includes robust reporting, analytics and ROI dashboards to help marketers track & measure the success of their employee and customer advocacy programs. Dynamic Signal's customers include top companies across entertainment & media, consumer packaged goods, financial services, fashion & beauty, high tech, and non-profit sectors. The company, founded in 2010, is based in San Bruno, CA, and is comprised of a veteran management team and top-tier investors including Trinity, Venrock, Time Warner Investments and Cox Enterprises. If you or your sales team would like to learn how Dynamic Signal can help make social selling easier and more effective, contact us today. Dynamic Signal info@dynamicsignal.com 650.231.2550 http://dynamicsignal.com