One sales rep I know, who I’ll call John, just re-ignited a stalled sales opportunity after his C-level contact stopped replying to his many emails and phone calls. Instead of sitting and waiting for something miraculous to happen, John (not his real name) realized he needed to do something different to get a response.
John, who is the last guy on Earth to think of himself as a “social seller” tried LinkedIn’s InMail to target his same C-level contact and got almost an instant response, a subsequent meeting, and a multi-million dollar deal.
It’s a true story. Every week, sellers are learning how to mix it up a bit – through creativity and some of the new tools within our reach and realm to gain visibility with our more probable prospective buyers as they are looking (and sometimes not looking) for solutions to nagging issues.
If your sales team is not as socially evolved as those you read about – all connected online with so many social tools it’s hard to keep up – don’t worry. There is a simple way to dabble socially and grow your company’s visibility to the point that it is you they think of when they need the type of services your company provides. Here are three ideas.
First: Identify one or two thought leaders within your organization who have opinions and who are passionate about solving customer issues. Find ways to reward them for speaking at events. When they speak live, capture some video and post it. When they speak live, post a transcript of what they say. You don’t need to take them away from in-person events to get them interacting online.
Second: Start some brainstorm sessions around the company on what challenges the buyers of your products and services have. Write about these challenges as well as how to solve some of them – with your services and with others’ products and services. You are not writing ad copy, you are writing about your market niche. The things that you can’t solve should be apparent, and other strategic partners, tools, and ideas mentioned and recommended.
Third: Get a contest going within your customer-facing team to see who can create 3-5 short blog posts about any of the following: your customer segment, market niche, industries served, challenges faced, and problems solved. Create a deadline and offer enough incentives that someone will take great effort to add a lot to this project. Start by showing customer-facing team members what others in your industry are writing. Discuss how companies are now publishers of industry content. Use interns to help support the effort, or hire writers to work with the team.
During the time to put these steps in place, begin looking online more formally to gain more insight about prospective buyers and share that with your team. For example, twice a week do a Twitter search using industry jargon and buzzwords. See who is talking about the problems your products and services solve. Share that insight weekly at a specific time. Find new strategic partners and potential customers this way. Learn more about one or two of these social tools.
These are all small, simple steps to introduce social selling ideas in 1 percent improvement doses. Compounded, this will give added visibility online for buyers to find you and for referrers to find you. Like all new things, it can take time, so be willing to invest some time before you decide about results. We’d love to get your feedback on how effective you are.