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Carly Stec

By Carly Stec

Jul 10, 2014

Topics:

Inbound Sales
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Inbound Sales

How to Edge Out Your Competition Using Social Selling

Carly Stec

By Carly Stec

Jul 10, 2014

How to Edge Out Your Competition Using Social Selling

Screen_Shot_2014-07-09_at_2.49.57_PMWhen something expires, like the milk in your refrigerator, you get rid of it and replace it, right?

While we can all agree that there is no sense in holding on to spoiled milk, it concerns me when I see sales people clutching onto their expired methods with tight fists.

Don't they realize that these methods have gone bad?

With 97% of cold calls reported ineffective (a number that has been increasing by 7% a year since 2010), it's more than obvious that traditional salespeople must drop these antiquated approaches if they wish to scale their business. 

With social media transforming the way businesses market and communicate with prospects and customers, it should come as no surprise that many salespeople have adopted it as proven method for selling. 

With many of your customers and competitors already engaging on social platforms, it's about time you insert your business into the equation. 

Rumor has it your competitors are moving fast, so here's how to get started. 

What is social selling?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's start with the basics. 

According to HubSpot, social selling translates to leveraging your social brand to fill your inbound sales pipeline with the right people, insights, and relationships.

Why it's time to transition:

Get to know your prospects better

Today's buyers aren't looking to be bought, sold, and forgotten about. 

In fact, they're much smarter than they were back when a traditional sales process was enough to close them on a deal. 

With access to more information than they could have ever dreamed of, they've raised the bar in terms of their expectations, and it's up to you to fit the bill. 

Through social selling, your sales team has the ability to establish relevance before they even have a conversation with a prospect. For example, a salesperson can conduct an audit of a prospect's social media profiles to extract information that can be used to carry out a more personalized conversation. 

If the prospect has a LinkedIn profile, check to see which groups they're involved in. With this information in tow, your sales representatives can begin to monitor the group's discussion and pull insights from the prospect's questions and contributions to the conversation. 

Armed with more than just surface level information like their name and job title, your sales people have an opportunity to create empathy, deliver more context-based solutions, and establish a stronger working relationship.

Not only does this type of discovery help your sales team better understand your prospect's interests and behaviors, but it has the ability to serve as the differentiating factor they need to separate themselves from the competition.

Understand what moves your competitors are making 

When it comes to edging out the competition, even the smallest of differentiators has the ability to push you past the rest. 

Through careful social media monitoring, there is a lot a salesperson can turn up about their competitor's, their positioning, and the conversations they are engaging in. 

There are a number of ways to conduct this type of research. 

One of the simplest ways to see what moves your competitors are making is to analyze their current social media activity. What are they posting? Where are they sharing articles from? Who are they engaging with? How are they positioning their resources?

If you're a HubSpot user, you can set up a customized stream in Social Inbox to alert your sales representatives when one of your competitors is mentioned on Twitter to simplify your research. With this in place, your sales team will be notified if one of your leads is engaging with a competitor. From there they can take a look at their recent activity and initiate a timely follow up to ensure you don't lose the potential deal. 

If you're not using HubSpot, you can set up Google Alerts to notify you when certain names, keywords, and products appear in Google results. 

Join the conversation and establish credibility

Of course, social selling is not all about monitoring from the sidelines. In order to be successful, you have to actually get in there and get your hands dirty. 

You'll want to start by developing an active presence on the social media platforms that are most popular with your buyer personas.

In order to sustain a presence, you should make it a habit to regularly post blog articles and offers that aim to resolve your audience's pain points.

Keep in mind that this doesn't mean sharing all your own content. Sharing content from other respected sources in your industry will help you develop relationships and possibly open up opportunities for co-marketing. 

As questions arise, make it your job to answer them. This is where social monitoring and communicating collide. The goal is to monitor your social streams for questions that pertain to your industry, product, or service and be the first to provide a good answer. 

Another way to turn up questions to resolve is to join groups and begin sharing your expertise. There are a ton of decision makers hanging out in LinkedIn groups, which means you should be too. 

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