The effectiveness of cold calls and emails has waned, but social media sales opportunities have skyrocketed.
Having a toolkit of reliable social selling tactics under your belt is a must.
The idea of social selling is relatively new, so best practices are still being ironed out. However, there are a few proven tactics to help your business succeed.
Julio Viskovich, the VP of Marketing for rFactr, shared two practical tactics to take your social selling up a notch.
If you’re a salesperson, you’re focused on high-value selling activity through platforms like Twitter. With Twitter being a public social network with millions of users, organizing your approach is crucial.
Twitter’s list feature allows you to build lists and organize users into groups such as prospects, competitors, and industry influencers.
Create niche lists to track activity and then don’t be a stranger. Engage with the people you are interested in building relationships with.
Pro tip: it’s best to keep these lists private; otherwise, the people you add will receive notifications that you have included them in a public list. When following competitors, that’s probably not the type of engagement you’re looking for. Create private Twitter lists to track your competitors’ selling tactics.
Building Twitter Lists
Creating targeted lists is a good place to start, but let’s go a step further.
Beyond company competitors, you’ll want to go deeper and know the SDRs, account executives, and account managers of those companies, a.k.a., a sales team’s true competition.
Throw these users in a list and observe what accounts they follow and how they engage with leads.
Tracking their interactions could point to a lead for your company. You’ll also be able to see where in the sales process these prospects are with your competitor and act accordingly.
Using Twitter Lists
Now let’s say you’ve built the list and see that an SDR for Company X has @mentioned an individual.
A quick scroll over the individual’s Twitter handle shows that they work for a company that would make an ideal customer. A little more skimming through their tweets and you find that they are on the prowl for a product like the one you (and your competitor) offer.
Congratulations, you’ve got yourself a new lead.
By using this social selling tactic, you can find a surprising number of people who are just beginning the decision process and evaluating vendors. From there, you can follow your normal sales processes through other channels.
Twitter lists can also be used for:
- Finding leads farther along in the sales process and closer to buying.
- Discovering new target markets.
- Tracking hashtags frequently used by accounts you follow.
While just following hashtags can lead to an overflow of information, following tags brought up specifically by competitors will cut down on the chatter. This tactic helps you figure out which tags you need to keep your eye on.
For instance, if there’s an event or conference hashtag being used by your competitors, like the ones for the Sales Hacker or AA-ISP conferences, you can see who else is using that tag. This way, even if you can’t attend the event, you are still able to target potential leads who are attending or expressing interest.
You can keep an eye out on your lists directly or use a platform like rFactr, which is designed to help sales teams turn social media into revenue.
Twitter lists require a little extra legwork, but it will help differentiate you from competitors.
Using Twitter lists might require a little extra effort from your sales team, but this next social selling tactic will easily fit into your sales process.
Once a new lead has been identified, the next step is to connect.
Generic email templates don’t get good response rates and repetitive sales scripts get shot down instantly. So how do you make genuine contact without dramatically altering your sales process? The Two-Minute Drill.
The Two-Minute Drill
Before you send yet another uninspired email or cold call, spend two minutes on a contact’s LinkedIn profile.
People like to talk to people who are like them, and social media is great for finding and establishing similarities. You want to find as many contextual and relationship building facts as possible on their profile.
For example: Did you go to the same school? Do you have a contact in common (preferably first degree)? Did the two of you volunteer with similar organizations?
Even something as innocuous as both of you liking the Green Bay Packers can be a touchpoint for building camaraderie. It will make the email or call less awkward for both of you and can build a bridge for further communication. Find similarities in order to build camaraderie in the first email or call.
As social creatures, we tend to gravitate towards people who are “like us,” so if you can find some common ground with your potential lead, they’ll be less likely to blow you off.
This can also give you insight into how to best approach the lead about your product after the initial contact.
For instance, do they have a background, either in their work or hobbies, that would make them familiar with products like yours already? If so, this could help you determine best practices for future interactions with them.
The best part is that it only takes an extra two minutes of your day to increase your chances of not wasting that email or cold call. Like with the Twitter sales tactics, the extra manual effort is well worth the end result.
Emails and cold calls are still an important part of the sales process, but they have to be supplemented with understanding and use of social media.
These social selling tactics are specifically for Twitter and LinkedIn, but you should also take a look at how to implement similar processes for things like Google+, Facebook, and any industry-specific social websites.
Learning how to use Twitter lists effectively or putting in an extra two minutes of research can give the edge you need to succeed in your sales goals where email or calls alone may be failing you.
This article is based on an interview with Julio Viskovich, VP of Marketing for rFactr. You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to the B2B Growth Show on iTunes. If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode by clicking here.