Buyers are online, and they’re on social media. And in this ever-evolving landscape of technology, sales organizations need to find ways to keep up.
According to LinkedIn’s 2016 State of Sales Report, salespeople who excel at social selling create more opportunities and are 51% more likely to hit quota. Organizations are breaking away from silos for the greater good. Salesforce revealed that 87% of high-performing sales teams say they owe their positive results to company alignment focused on empowering sales.
So, here are three ways to align social selling with content to achieve success.
Timing is Still Everything When it Comes to Sales Conversations
What’s the most important thing in comedy? Timing. The same rings true for selling.
Knowing when to sell means understanding who your buyer is and where they are in the buying cycle. This has the power to move customers down the funnel, but it takes multiple touches to make a long-term impact. Going too fast will only hurt your chances, especially on social which is meant to be social. Authenticity is key.
Doing buyer research is the first step with social selling. You can have the best timing in the world with the wrong prospect. So ask:
- Is this company one I should be targeting?
- Is this person the decision-maker I need?
- Is this social channel the primary one they use?
The social media window for relevancy is shorter than email, and content must be fresh! Sending a direct message on Twitter the day after you reference an article of theirs you retweeted is better than waiting a week.
Consistency is also critical. Sharing weekly content with a hot prospect who went dark on you is a great way to stay on their radar without being pushy.
Educate Your Buyers and Remember to Listen to Them
Social selling offers an opportunity for genuine conversation, as long as it’s done correctly. When SalesHacker analyzed over 25,000 B2B sales conversations, they discovered the average B2B sales rep spends the majority of a call talking (65–75%), and only 25–35% of the conversation listening to the prospect.
A one-sided conversation pitfall can happen just as easily on social media if sales reps are talking about their product or service, instead of providing content others will value.
Truly listening to a buyer on social media means:
- Reading content a prospect shares—not skimming it, or making assumptions based on the title without clicking.
- Engaging with content by liking and responding with value—not just saying, “Hey, great blog!”
- Sharing content as the ultimate nod of respect—not being the person who only shares their own content.
This doesn’t mean you can’t share content yourself. Share content often and consistently on your social channels, using a healthy mix of branded educational content and credible third-party sources.
Naturally, salespeople don’t have a lot of time. To curate efficiently, Employee Advocacy tools offer a repository of pre-approved and industry-specific content at your fingertips. Rather than hunting down content on Twitter or scouting your company’s blog for the latest article, an Employee Advocacy platform will have everything ready to go, with messages tailored for each social channel.
Quality Content Will Establish You as a Thought Leader
62% agreed that social selling enables them to build stronger, more authentic relationships with customers and prospects. By becoming a thought leader in your space with quality content, you have the power to become a resource—and perhaps an influencer—which will get you noticed.
If you can get to that point. Well...social selling is selling itself.
Even if your content doesn’t make you a big shot on social media, having a steady stream of educational content will put a prospect at ease when they check you out. They will be more likely to follow you, versus someone with a self-promotional feed.
In addition to having an Employee Advocacy program with curated content in place, high-quality third-party content comes from trusted sources in your industry (i.e. Salesforce or SiriusDecisions). A quick way to find the latest content from your favorite resources is to organize them into Twitter lists. Another great curation tool is Feedly.
If you’re going to venture outside tried-and-true resources, use caution by investing time in content. Don’t fall into the clickbait title trap, otherwise you risk sharing bad content, which will do more harm than good.
Being savvy with social selling will set you apart from the competition. By integrating a sound content strategy and using an authentic voice, you will be able to open new doors for meaningful conversations and new business.