Social selling: A simple guide to sales success

social selling

Social selling is a relatively new concept to the business world but something that we have been doing for years without a definition. Today, it is the term used to describe the process of using social media to locate, build relationships and eventually sell to prospects. Why take this approach to sales? Well, 72.6% of sales professionals that use social selling techniques outperform their peers.

You can use any social media platform really, but there are some out there that are better than others for finding sales prospects. By far the best platform for social selling success is LinkedIn. For the past few years they have been developing a solution to easily find, warm up and sell to prospects.

This solution is called Sales Navigator. It allows you to build a database of relevant leads to monitor and build intelligence on. The idea is to look for certain pieces of information that will help you better sell to these prospects. I am now going to provide you with a simple guide on how to use these tools to help improve your sales capabilities.

Buy the licence

Unfortunately, this is not a free service. They do offer one month’s free trial in order to evaluate if it is the right solution for your business. The price after that starts from £53.99 a month if you pay annually. This is not that cheap, but if used correctly, is an invaluable tool for your sales team.

Getting started

LinkedIn have made this super easy to get up and running on Sales Navigator, with a step-by-step guide when you first login. They also offer a large resource centre containing best practices, tip sheets and case studies. I highly recommend checking this out as it is full of useful information. You might even see how similar companies are benefitting from social selling.

Before you start prospecting

Make sure you have optimised your profile for selling your company’s products or services. I know most people usually make their profiles look good for potential recruiters. You have to get out of this mind-set and get into the mind-set of being an asset for your company. Social selling relies heavily on having a strong brand that represents your company’s values and solutions. Make sure anyone viewing your profile can easily see what you company does and how your products or services can help them.

Increased search functionality

Paying for a LinkedIn profile removes any barriers that you might have had when it comes to searching for people. You have access to unlimited searches and can search in a very targeted way. This allows you to find the exact prospects you are looking for. Once you have located them, you can save them as a lead to come back to later.

Build your database

The Lead Builder is one of the two main benefits of Sales Navigator. It allows you to build a database of leads from organisations that you are trying to sell to. You can start to build an understanding of the organisational hierarchy and get information on specific prospects within the business. You also receive information not only from LinkedIn, but from thousands of sources across the web. Giving you extra insight into what is going on with the company and individual leads.

Look for triggers

The information about companies and individuals is displayed in a feed similar to what you see on standard LinkedIn accounts. Make sure you are monitoring this on a regular basis so you can look for information or events that might be a good trigger for you to get in touch with a prospect.

Now you might want to jump straight in and contact this person right away (I will let you know how you can do this later). I would refrain at first because you want to warm this prospect up to maximise the chance of conversion. The real value of social selling is to be able to remove the need to take a cold approach to selling. First, you want to try and warm up that cold lead.

Perhaps they have written an interesting post or shared an update. You can then like this or post an insightful comment on the update. Great, now this person will probably at least have an idea of who you are. Why not view their profile as well? They might be intrigued enough to view yours back. If they do, then they will see what your business does and how it can help them.

Amazing, right! With that small amount of effort, you have just exposed your company to a very relevant sales prospect. At this point you can reach out to them with an InMail. You can also look for other trigger points, perhaps they are looking to hire a specialist that would be a good user of your software, or maybe they just moved jobs and your services will help with their new role. It is the ability to look for these types of triggers that make this tool so powerful.

Reaching out

I mentioned earlier about sending InMails. This is a way to message someone directly through LinkedIn without needing to be connected with them. The Premium Sales Navigator accounts gives you 15 InMail credits to use per month. However, if you get a response from an InMail then you get that credit back. If you are great at social selling and get a bunch of responses, then you may never run out of credits.

Short, sharp and to the point is the best advice I can give you when it comes to InMailing. If you use the resource centre in Sales Navigator, you will see this is what all the top social sellers say. Don’t try and give a huge pitch about your product. Think more, ‘hey I thought you could really benefit from this’. Test out different formats and messages to see what works for you. Trust me, you are going to get many more responses than if you were to send out cold blanket emails.

Start social selling

This is the future of sales and it is already upon us. If you haven’t started yet, then start now. Get the free trial and see if it works for your organisation. If it doesn’t then you can stop your subscription with no obligation to pay LinkedIn anything.

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