More than ever, today’s modern buyer is digitally connected, socially engaged, mobile-attached, and video hungry. Consequently, sellers must use social selling activities to reach their target audience.
However, social media can be a slippery slope. We’ve all done it. With good intentions, we hop onto LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or another platform with a specific purpose in mind. Then, an hour later, we’re watching irrelevant videos and have wasted time we can never get back.
While it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole on social media, that doesn’t reduce the importance of effectively leveraging the platforms to connect with buyers. To produce the desired results, sales leaders must recognize the seven essential actions that convert random acts on social media into a clearly defined social selling strategy.
Sellers must be active on the platforms where buyers are searching for solutions to their business challenges. When sellers develop a purposeful and productive social selling mindset, every time they log onto social media, it is for a specific purpose and with a desired end result.
Below are the seven actions sellers can take to more effectively engage buyers on social media and turn random acts into digital selling.
Some call it buyer persona, others call it buyer mapping. Regardless of how you label it, it’s really about sellers understanding who they are selling to. By clearly defining your target buyers, it becomes easier for sellers to find, engage and connect with them on social. Then, reps can focus on sending the right messages and providing the right pieces of content based on the needs of each persona.
Once reps find target buyers on social platforms, then they must engage with them to begin building a relationship based on value. To achieve this, reps should pay attention to the content prospects share, like, comment on or even author. These activities on social media reveal their priorities, concerns, and even their business challenges.
In addition, reps should review their email and messaging exchanges with buyers. The correspondence, especially the questions prospects ask, show what they care about. Through this information, sellers can engage them in much more relevant ways. For instance, a series of questions from a prospect could help a seller share a piece of content that addresses their concerns, such as a case study or ROI calculator.
Fish where the fish are.
We often receive questions about which social media channels a business should be using. “Should we be on Twitter? Should we engage with users on Facebook?” The answer to that question is, it depends. Are your buyers on Twitter? Do they use Facebook to find solutions and product recommendations?
Sellers have limited time to prospect. They must use that time wisely. Find the social media platforms your target audience use and develop a strategy for engaging them on those platforms. Don’t invest energy in areas where there is little to no chance of a return.
Regardless of which social platforms you target, sellers must show buyers that they understand their pain points. Did you know that 62% of decision-makers look for an informative profile when deciding whether or not to engage with a sales rep? Therefore, your reps’ profiles should display credibility and thought-leadership through buyer-centric messaging that communicates who they help and how they’ve helped others in the past.
This messaging should also use carefully chosen keywords embedded throughout their profile to improve the chances your sellers’ profiles appear in search results for the most important phrases.
Additionally, their profiles should include content and multimedia assets that answer the most common questions prospects have. These can include blog posts, videos, podcasts, case studies, and other resources.
The modern buyer is searching for solutions to their business challenges before contacting a salesperson. Consequently, sellers need to share content on social platforms to develop a reputation for relevant topics. More importantly, they need to build a presence on social media by providing real value to prospects that address their specific concerns. Based on your ideal customer profile, sellers must share insights, blog posts, eBooks, videos or other educational based content that has an impact on your buyer.
Most importantly, posts shouldn’t be noise, but rather they should provide insights that prove a seller’s understanding of the prospect’s current situation. A seller’s posts should demonstrate expertise that can solve a prospect’s business challenges. By providing valuable content, sellers nurture the relationship and build a foundation of trust.
Sellers also must engage with posts from prospects and others in their network to consistently enhance their visibility. However, this requires more than just hitting the ‘Like’ button and hoping for the best. Instead, sellers should engage with authentic comments that show they understand a buyer’s challenges and concerns. Usually, this requires some research, connecting with shared connections, and taking the time for due diligence.
Building rapport is as important as ever before, but how do reps build rapport on social media?
To start, they should engage with their prospect’s social posts as mentioned above. Then, sellers can leverage their network by asking for referrals by identifying common connections. According to HubSpot, 84% of B2B decision-makers begin their buying process with a referral. Therefore, referral introductions are one of the quickest ways for your sellers to fill their pipeline.
At some point, sellers have to speak with a buyer in order to start a sales conversation. The key is to not push too hard. The modern buyer wants to engage with reps on their schedule, not feel pushed into a premature conversation. Far too often we see sales reps trying to schedule a call once a prospect has accepted their connection request.
Instead, sellers should still be focused on building a relationship by asking questions and sharing valuable insights by using the PVC Sales MethodologyTM, which includes personalizing your messages, sharing valuable insights, and using soft CTAs to guide buyers down the funnel. Then, when the time is right, sellers can schedule an offline sales conversation.
Now that we’ve shared the easiest ways to turn random social media activities into clear digital selling actions, it’s time to create a social selling strategy. To start, collaborate with your organization’s sales enablement leaders to determine what sellers will need. This could be a list of social selling tools, additional training, or a content for sales strategy to provide them with content that addresses the needs of different buyer personas at different stages of the sales process.
Thereafter, communicate this strategy, along with the specific cadence sellers should use, so they can focus their social selling activities to find, engage and connect with prospects more effectively.
To create a social selling strategy, you should:
Once this strategy is in place, sellers will no longer use social media randomly. They will have a reason behind every engagement, reducing the likelihood they’ll end up watching crazy cat videos.
Additionally, a definitive social selling strategy provides the perfect opportunity to effectively coach sellers on the best ways to leverage social media. For instance, you can share templates for connection requests with specific personas. Or you can teach them how to use Boolean search techniques to find prospects.
Your prospects are on social media. LinkedIn alone has more than 660 million professionals with many of them active users searching for solutions to their business challenges. This presents a great opportunity for sellers to find, engage and connect with your target audience.
Still, as mentioned earlier, it’s easy to waste time on social media that your reps can never get back. That’s why it’s so important to create a social selling strategy that converts the seven random social media selling activities into purposeful actions that turn connections into conversations.
Are your reps leveraging LinkedIn to find, engage, and connect with prospects? The modern buyer requires a modern seller. Learn how Selling with LinkedIn® training changes a sellers’ mindset to instill behavior change and how to leverage digital selling techniques to create more sales conversations.