In the age of social media, being a business-to-business (B2B) salesperson means something different than what it used to.The old methods of selling only to executives or doing business entirely over the phone are outdated; social selling is a new technique that's been proven as successful for cultivating and educating customers.
By utilizing social selling, you can communicate directly with potential customers and help solve problems, rather than just selling products. Knowledge of your company also reaches them early on in the buying cycle–you might hear about the pain before someone actively starts searching for a solution. By building relationships early on, you can also become a source of truth and a thought leader, creating free, high-quality leads.
At this point in time, if you're not actively selling on social media, you're just bad at it. It's vital to set up your organization for social selling, so here are a few ways to do it:
Make Sure Your Employees are Socially Engaged
The first step to successful social selling is to make sure your employees are active and engaged with discussions on social media. This is how they can begin to become thought leaders and build rapport with customers. Bringing their own personality to their social media accounts–showing that there's a real person behind the Twitter posts–is a big deal.
As a company, you should encourage your employees to be active, share content, and start conversations. Advise them to keep their profiles updated (even getting a verified account if possible) and to join relevant LinkedIn groups. Hubspot has a great article about what makes a great Twitter and LinkedIn profile. Salespeople can also set alerts for topics that interest them and even for trigger events, like a customer's new product launches or new hires.
Train your employees on what kind of behavior is wanted or acceptable, and what isn't. At the same time, you need to trust your employees. Give them to freedom to express themselves and respond with their own voice and personality. Only in that way will they come across as genuine.
Monitor Your Online Traction
Measure how much your brand is being mentioned online–and gauge the sentiment as well. Social media tools like NUVI are great for this. They allow you to monitor different hashtags, URLs, keywords, and topics while also incorporating reputation management and understanding if your social image is positive or negative.
If your employees, clients and prospects are actively spreading positive word of mouth about the brand, you already have a social selling army working for you. When that happens, that's when you know you're getting close to a network effect.
Use shared technology
If you make social selling an organization-wide effort, you need to measure those results on a large scale as well. To do this, make sure to use technology that simultaneously boosts social selling and reveals its ROI.
Smarp is a tool that reveals what content is creating new business. It tracks the influence of shared posts, company news, and original content on individual employees' social media, but also consolidates all of that data into a company-wide dashboard for admins.
With an employee communication tool like Smarp, you can answer questions like, "What content has brought in deals for our company? What's creating the most traction? The most engagement?"
These types of resources can also lead to improvements in other parts of the business outside of sales, such as marketing and HR. The analytics they return can inform the language in new marketing campaigns or even the company's focus on future hires.
Don't be afraid to get social media on your side! If you're not out there talking to and educating your customers, you're leaving it open to your competition to do so.
Being good at social selling doesn't necessarily mean you have to have thousands of followers or post a dozen times a day–it means being a good listener and looking for opportunities to help customers in addition to publishing your own thoughts.
Once you get the hang of it, you'll see how infinitely scalable social selling can be!