Social selling is sales through relevance and content. It’s about marketing to prospects just what they need.
I'm going to skip the part where I tell you what social selling is and why you should definitely add it to your set of sales techniques. Instead, I'm going to get straight to the point I want to make in this article: how my company and myself are helping each other in this process. I want to talk about Employee Advocacy and what it means in my daily job.
It’s all about Marketing
Even as a fairly new person to sales and quotas, I understand that our job is all about the results. I may have 1000 discussions a month, but it won’t matter until a prospect puts his or her name on a piece of paper to validate that YES, they will work with us.
Of course some of the sales process is linked to the product you’re selling. Some of it is limited by procurement processes, budgets, timelines or even bad connection issues (try to be convincing when you sound like a robot, or to demonstrate a software to a prospect whose screen is frozen). But most of it is about your prospect, his or her needs and the way you address them.
Get your product in front of the right audience, create the right content to clarify the benefits of a product, answer the prospect’s questions around a given issue, be smarter, louder and better than competition. But mostly - and I’ve read this a million times before - I’m not ashamed to repeat it: STAY RELEVANT.
The right approach at the right time
I am not one to take sides on the ever-going discussion on the best techniques to reach a sales quota (Cold calling is dead! No it’s not! I sell only via Twitter! Why not go back to SMS and faxing while you’re at it? - you know what I’m talking about). Mostly because I do not have extensive experience to back one or the other. What I strongly believe in, though, is timing and relevance. I always trust a prospect who tells me that the time isn’t right. I am also always eager to discuss and figure out what might be the problem that first needs to be solved.
With all the information on my prospects’ contexts that I have gathered, I can efficiently consider any piece of content and address it to them given the topic, the timeline and even the language. For that, I happen to be very lucky as I have been provided myself with the great tool I’m selling: Smarp.
Employee Advocacy as a Social Selling tool
Once you have understood that being a salesperson means being there for your prospects (good job!), you still need a toolbox full of great content, answers and relevant insights to share with them.
1. Use your company’s content
There’s a good chance that your company creates great content both to promote your products and support general marketing efforts. Take advantage of it by knowing exactly what issue the content addresses and putting it in front of the people you know it will help.
In the best case scenario, your company is creating different content pieces to suit the different stages of your customer journey. They do not have to be strictly branded, as long as they add value for your prospect.
Having a centralized platform where it is easy to filter, read and share is a definite plus. Yes, the content surely is somewhere on the web already, but I love knowing where to find the newest pieces from all channels as they are automatically added to our Smarp instance. I see it as a win-win situation as it is also a good way also for the company itself to generate more ROI from content creation and distribution.
2. Write your own
Creating your own content around the main problems encountered by your prospects will not only help you get a better grasp on how to talk about them, but also allow you to have a very personal touch when sharing it to a prospect in need. I personally think that it is invaluable to have everyone in the company take part in a common project and collaborate on something as important as solving its industry’s problems.
It is very easy to find a place to write. Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, have very easy-to-use editing and publishing tools. Many other popular websites such as Medium allow and encourage you to share your stories online, but it might be of better value for you to find a relevant media to your topic and ask them to blog on your given expertise. Of course you can also focus on participating to your company’s own blog, where your content will be showcased as a part of the communications mix.
3. Use the right channel of communication
Whilst it is easy to keep the conversation to emails, picking a few social networks where you want to focus your attention sounds to me like a good plan. Master a couple, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and be aware of which of your prospects value their time spent there. Something that is less common but quite valuable is to tag a person on a piece. You would tag a friend on Facebook to make him laugh at a picture you found, so why wouldn’t you tag a prospect on Twitter to make him reflect on a given solution to his problem? Quick and efficient.
Employee Advocacy is a great tool for social selling and your business development in general. It gives you access to the content you need to ensure a real consistency in your messages and appear as the expert you are. It gives your company a human voice and drives engagement both internally and externally. But mostly: it helps solving your contacts’ problems in the right place and at the right time.