How To Optimize Your Social Selling Strategy

BY Kathy Crosett
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Is social selling THE new sales methodology? Research by Salesforce and LinkedIn suggests you could be missing out by not using this tactic. Proactively sharing and collecting information on social sites can help you track prospects and competitors. Here are a few key details to think about if you’re considering changing your strategy in the new year.

We all know buyers and sellers are directing more attention to the digital world. Data shared by Mai Le in her Salesforce post shows how much screen time has increased for sellers since 2015:

  • Time spent in front of a screen +12%
  • Time spent connecting virtually with prospects/​clients +12% 

A 12% increase in time spent virtually connecting speaks to the importance of being efficient and delving into social selling. Salesforce defines social selling as “a lead-​generation technique where salespeople directly interact with their prospects on social media platforms.”

How to Connect with Buyers on Social Sites

Today’s buyers like personalized engagement. Nearly 60% of customers surveyed by Salesforce like engagement that relates to past interactions. Similarly, over 40% of buyers in the Selling to SMBs Study, conducted by SalesFuel, will share contact information with a seller when they receive content customized to their needs.

Knowing those statistics, your next move should be using tech tools to find the right prospects on social sites. Once you find and engage these prospects, you can personalize your interactions and increase your chances of developing leads.

Mai Le suggests these strategies:

  • Follow hashtags for the vertical you’re targeting
  • Identify a list of prospects on LinkedIn
  • Join industry groups on LinkedIn that are connected to these prospects

If you’re just learning about social selling, lurk for a while. Consider the tone of comments that seem successful. Educate yourself on the topics that people appear to be most passionate about.

Eventually, you should feel confident enough to make comments about your prospects’ statements. After a few exchanges, including sharing their comments on your timeline, ask to connect with them.

As Salesforce analysts say, “in a real sense, social selling uses social media to cultivate one-​to-​one relationships to create opportunities for further conversation.”

How to Track the Competition

Smart use of technology can help you stay one step ahead of the competition too. Having up-​to-​date knowledge is critical. You want to be prepared when prospects ask you how your product compares to the latest feature one of your key competitors has just added.

Use Google alerts to collect intelligence. These alerts should track key employees and product developments at competitor companies. This strategy will generate plenty of email. 

Don’t roll your eyes about getting more emails. Get efficient. Use rules to filter the email messages into specific folders. Then, set aside an hour a week to skim the material.

You can turn the overwhelming volume of online information in your most powerful tool. Resolve to try out social selling and to use technology to efficiently track your competitors. You’ll see the results in increased prospects and sales.