Social selling is at a crossroads. On one hand, there are hundreds of new, shiny social tools, the allure of big data, and promises of better, faster, smarter selling. On the other hand, the objective of sales teams hasn’t changed in decades: to generate more leads and close more sales.
And this juxtaposition of timeless objectives with new tools and techniques has produced a generation of salespeople stuck in the middle. They’re not using social media to its fullest extent out of fear of straying too far from their goals.
This is causing a major problem with social selling today: new tools are often being approached with old techniques, when it should only be the objectives that remain unchanging.
Many sales teams understand that there are thousands upon thousands of fresh, new leads on social networks like LinkedIn and, to a lesser extent, Twitter and Facebook. They use tools to identify and mine these leads, and ingest them into their CRM database. But that’s where the innovation comes to a screeching halt – instead of using social techniques to reach out to these leads, these teams fall back on comfortable techniques like cold calls. And cold calling won’t improve their close rate, causing potentially valuable leads to go stale.
The better method uses social media to its fullest, from lead discovery and identification to follow-up, to close.
Social data should be a key component of every step of the social selling process. When discovering new leads, it isn’t enough to mine LinkedIn for basic keywords; leads should be targeted, contextual and ready to be activated. Identifying leads based on the content they have recently engaged with, for instance, will yield warmer leads who have already an exhibited an interest in the industry or product.
Following up on leads can, and should, be much more social than a cold email or phone call. Social data provides an abundance of information about each individual lead that sales and marketing teams can use to develop more personalized pitches and campaigns.
And closing a sale, like always, is about building a relationship. Only now with social selling, that relationship can be built from more data about the prospect him or herself, and it can span multiple networks and channels.
Finding and closing more leads will always be the core objective of any sales team. However, with the power of social media at their fingertips, the best sales teams know that new techniques can make achieving these objectives much easier.