By, Jordi Gili, guest author. One of the latest buzzwords is “Social Selling”. It looks like we all should know about it already … or not? But what is it? And how can our field sales team benefit from it?  Social Selling is all about leveraging social networks to be more effective sellers.

It is as simple as that … as simple as including “social networks” in the equation… or as complicated as that.

The etiquette or protocol that our sales team needs to acquire in order to be effective using this channel is quite specific. Training and managing cultural change is of the utmost relevance. Here’s a link to know more on Social Selling.

Once we believe in the opportunity that social selling brings to the table and is incorporated in our culture we may proceed to the next question: How can our field sales team benefit from social selling?

A great opportunity for field sales is identifying buyer signals as they occur, in real time.

Timely reactions following buyer signals are one key element in helping sales processes move along.

Picture this situation: One of your target buyers tweets or posts something on Linkedin … and you receive an alert on your mobile device, making you aware of the event.

In that situation, the avid salesperson is now aware that:

– The buyer may potentially be available for a call because the target has just tweeted or posted. The probability to connect with the prospect JUST NOW is very high.

– There is a reason for the call besides “I’m just following up on that proposal I sent”, relating to the posted piece may be a great ice-breaker and may spark a sales conversations.

Timing is everything. Your client is definitely not sitting at his desk waiting for your call. He’s probably busy in meetings or running around the office. So it’s not about when you are ready to sit down, take a deep breath and do your rounds … it’s all about them and when it’s the right time to call them. It’s about when they are ready to take your call. Detecting social buyer signals will make you more successful at connecting with them.

Of course the appropriate elements need to be in place:

  • A targeting tool to group the people that you are interested in following or are in your “call anytime” list.
  • Access to the most relevant professional social networks like Twitter and Linkedin (typically)
  • An appropriate alerting tool.
  • A mobile-friendly CRM (like Forcemanager) with access to the individual’s contact data and that would allow tracking the call or contact.

Furthermore, there are many other buyer signals that may be tracked or monitored:

  • Whenever a new Linkedin profile meets your target universe or a profile is modified in a way that it now meets your sales criteria (for instance someone is promoted to CFO)
  • Your target individual follows on social networks a new company that is already a client of yours. Studies show that buyers will have 2x interest in your company if a company that they are following on social networks are already your clients and you mention it.
  • A target company is on the news. An alert could be set up in order to stay tuned to M&A, new product launches, restructuring, opening of new territories …
  •  … and other signals.

Social Selling is also about listening and staying tuned to your targets; social listening on the field offers a great opportunity to timely action on real-time insights.

About the guest author:
Jordi Gili  is Managing Director at Execus,the leading Social Selling consulting, training and integration firm. He will be speaking on this and much more at the World Sales Forum in Colombia, in March 2015. You can also find more Social Selling techniques in his book “Sell! with Linkedin”.

Related Post: Learn to Sell through Social Listening

 

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