How to Win by Keeping It Personal in Today's Sales and Marketing Climate

3 ways top social sellers pursue personalization with passion

June 6, 2016

  • win-by-making-it-personal

Remember that old saying? “It’s not personal, it’s business!”. Well not any more. These days, we resent having to deal with any business that isn’t able to engage with us in a personalized way. From Amazon to Netflix to Uber, the most successful brands understand this. And the most successful sales teams understand it too.

Our desire for having our needs anticipated doesn’t suddenly switch off when we walk into the office on a Monday morning or start checking our LinkedIn feed in the evening. We expect meaningful personalization in our professional lives every bit as much as we do as consumers. That’s why social selling is such a powerful tool. The best social sellers understand this – and they pursue personalization with real passion. They don’t settle for finding a name and some topline background information to warm up an introduction; they keep pushing for more meaningful understanding. Here’s how they go about doing it:

They target by intent, not just interest

Nine out of ten companies target prospects by their potential interest in what they have to sell: focusing on businesses that are the right size and in the right sector, for example. However, only half as many use intent data to target companies that are ready to buy at that moment. This is despite the fact that 67% of marketers believe that intent data gives them a competitive edge.

Targeting by intent as well as interest instantly brings a clearer focus to your social selling efforts and ensures a more intuitive experience for your prospects. It comes about through identifying the signals that will suggest an immediate interest in your product, and setting up alerts within Sales Navigator that ensure you know when these triggers are being pulled. Those signals could involve visits to your website or responses to your marketing activity, but they could also include sharing of relevant content with fellow decision-makers, new types of connection, or recognizable patterns of hiring activity. Great social sellers explore the different signals that could indicate an immediate intent to buy, prioritize the prospects showing such intent, and optimize their approach based on what works. As a result they frequently find themselves pushing at doors that buyers are only too keen to open.

They find out more about how the buying process works

Identifying the key decision-makers is the first step in social selling. However, the most effective social sellers don’t settle for this; they push to understand exactly how the decision-making process works, including all of the other influencers and potential members of buying committees. Top social selling performers spend 25% more time on research and preparation – and a lot of that preparation involves exploring clues as to how the decision gets made. The insights that give them an edge might come through leveraging their network to get detailed information about the buying process – or using Sales Navigator to see which unexpected people visit their profile page once they’ve first made contact with an organization. Studying how different prospects are connected, and who shares content with whom, can also provide vital clues.

They take action to influence every stakeholder 

In-depth understanding of how buying decisions are made is only as valuable ad the actions you are able to take as a result of it. Great social sellers are always active. In fact, the top performers send 148% more connection requests and share 23% more content than the rest. It’s not just how often they share that makes a difference, though – it’s also how they share.

The key to effective social selling is taking action to influence all relevant stakeholders in a decision-making process. However, that doesn’t mean taking a one-size-fits-all approach to those decision-makers. Top social sellers personalize on an individual level. They look for shared contacts, pay attention to career milestones and, perhaps most importantly, keep an eye on the content that their prospects create, share and comment upon. This attention to detail ensures warm introductions to the people that matter.

Social selling is a journey – not a destination. Every additional layer of understanding that you can leverage when reaching out to prospects can make their experiences better and more intuitive – and increase your chances of success. The best social sellers know this. They push for continuous improvement and they are always hungry to know more – and to use that knowledge more effectively. That’s why they keep on winning.

As the dust settles on our thrilling Pan- EMEA event extravaganza – the LinkedIn Social Selling Roadshow – I wanted to distill one of the keynotes in to a few tips that we can all learn from and start to implement today. The above post references the Hallmarks of a Social Seller keynote from the events which combined industry and Linkedin research to identify the consistent things top social sellers do day in day out to get results. I hope you and your company can start to implement or consider these best practice behaviors as part of your sales process in the future.  

For more tips on how to adapt to the changing buyer environment and how to implement social selling best practices, check out our 2016 Social Selling Toolkit.