How to Leverage Social Selling in the IT Industry
In today’s world, if you are a salesperson who is not reaching their quota and not using social media to help process sales, then you may have just found your problem. If you are meeting your quota but not using social media, you could be losing out on some sales. If you are not meeting your quota, then learning how to leverage social media as a sales tool may help.
Social selling is the use of social media to interact with prospects. This could mean responding to a tweet, or connecting on LinkedIn, or finding some way to get your foot in the door with a prospect. It is not uncommon for prospects and salespeople to connect, or become social networking friends first, then the salesperson becomes a professional confidant who is relied on to answer questions from the prospect. From a confidant, the salesperson can become a guru, then a supplier of goods as the prospect becomes a customer. Sometimes it will all start from social networking.
According to the Aberdeen Research Group, when a salesperson uses social media, they were 79% more likely to meet their quota. The company, A Sales Guy Consulting, found that earlier this decade, sales people who used social media exceeded their quota by 23% once they found out the best way to put social media to work for them. Forbes reported that 78% of those who used social media outsold their peers who were not using social media as a tool.
Skills for Integrating Social Media
As with many different sales tools, there are techniques that should be used to maximize the use effectiveness of social media. Many of these tools were discovered through trial and error as few companies train employees in the use of social media as a way to increase sales. According to the sales website Knowledge Tree, these are the most important processes to follow—though even these suggestions are not a definitive list.
- The first step is to look at a prospect’s social media and any other information to find out what that person is looking for—what will make their lives better. This could be personal—do you both like horse riding—but it is more important professionally. Then, if you have something to offer, find a way to connect with that person in social media. More and more, people take every email from someone they do not know and delete it without ever reading it. They don’t like cold-calls. They don’t open mass mailings through snail mail. Find a way to adapt your information into social media in a way that your prospect will notice you and pay attention.
- Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media to find leads. You can use LinkedIn to search by industry, or job, company size, geography, or many other search criteria. Often, by reading a mission statement, or if the person has written a blog entry, you can find out what drives them. Efficiency? Perhaps you have a product that will make them more efficient in their work.
- Follow blogs, answer blogs and retweet or respond to a tweet as a way to get noticed. Who knows what interaction to prospects post can begin a connection that will build your connection. One of the things to remember is that when you’re involved in social selling, it is not a hard sell. Responses and connections should be more in line with how you would react to an established friend or a family member. Not too friendly, but certainly not a hard sell.
- What you’re selling has to be good, and you need to have proof that people who use your product or service like it. Write a blog about how using your product or service will improve efficiency, then include others who have taken advantage of what you have to offer and how that has helped them.
- Finally, make yourself known as an expert in your field. There is a line between responding to everything or creating your own content and advertising that fact so that you’re seen as a pest, and doing those things just enough to you gain respect and are known as a reliable expert in the field. If you have ever received an email a day from someone, after a time you don’t even notice it. You completely ignore it. To be considered an expert you send out content with interesting titles that are pertinent every two weeks or so. If there is quality to your content, soon you become viewed as a leader, not as a pest.
Social media is more than people finding funny posts to pass on to others. Many people use it as a means of getting ideas or communicating ideas to others. Take advantage of this information and gain customers by your interaction with social media.