How to Manage Social Selling Activity

February 12, 2015

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Sales management is more challenging than ever – buyers have changed dramatically, technology is complicated, and the pathways sellers have available to use when trying to connect with buyers are infinite.

This is especially true in social selling. It’s a “hot topic” with CXO’s and Sales Leaders, and there’s a lot of generalized advice on how to utilize social selling methods to drive leads – too often considered a one-size-fits-all approach.

But most sales leaders know this isn’t always so easy within their organization – they need a one-size-fits-one approach.

How can sales managers effectively help their sales team navigate social selling in a way that will be most effective for their organization?

For starters, your sales team has the potential to be brand advocates and experts within your industry or field – so enabling them to reach out and connect with potential prospects is a great way to increase effective lead generation – if it is done right. Here are some ways to enable your sales team to conquer social selling effectively.

Pre-Planning

Sales people should be working to connect with new people on a daily basis, and to do so takes time. Encourage reps to have this activity scheduled on their calendar estimated at 2-4 hours per week.  They should spend half the time planning and researching, the other half targeting and messaging the right audience.

Tools within Sales Navigator are especially useful for sellers to find and target specific roles and titles.  Remember, the goal is quality over quantity. More connections are only viable if the salesperson is connecting to the right people, at the right time.

Listening

It is also important for sales leaders to encourage social listening. Salespeople should spend as much time listening to conversations happening within groups and posts as they spend messaging.

Salespeople should be listening for the following:

  1. What topics are their target demographic discussing in groups or on blog posts?
  2. Which person(s) or companies do they reference frequently during any social communication?  (i.e. a sign of admiration possibly)
  3. Who do they respect (i.e. who do they write references for, what books do they recommend)?

Message Strategy

Once the salesperson has identified new prospects, and observed what the person is sharing online, the next step is to create a plan to connect.

Sales reps need a messaging and connection strategy that supports generating leads. Anyone can send a connection request – but a good sales person will add value to the communications by writing a personalized InMail that includes messaging relevant to the recipient.

Sales managers can support this by evaluating the quality of the correspondence, the results of the conversations.  Also, by helping in the development of Demand Creation Messages aligned to the needs of your organization’s buyers.

The likelihood of response goes up tremendously when your sales reps have done the proper amount of listening and research, combined with sharing your company’s solution messages.  Messages like “Dear Sales VP [at a global shipping company], would you like to hear about how we helped a global multi-modal container ship company receive a 350% ROI for working with our company. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help your organization achieve similar success….” will help your sellers position the value of your organization’s solutions.

Measure & Refine

Did the seller achieve a next-steps conversation, how many meetings were scheduled, were webinars attended by prospects, how many views of a certain video or blog article happened? These are all KPIs that can help generate new leads. So, understanding the results of social selling activities is important.

Be sure to put measurement tracking in place early on, so that way you can measure results and report back to your team on what’s proving to be most and least successful.

Sales managers should encourage and enable sellers to establish a social selling cadence.  Like most things in professional sales, practice and persistence will pay off over time.  However, if you are not asking to see samples of their messages and challenging your reps to be more thought provoking, then your sales team may see less of a return from Social Selling.

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