3 Social Media Tips for Sales Teams

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John Cheney CEO, Workbooks.com

Posted on October 11th 2013

3 Social Media Tips for Sales Teams

ImageDisclaimer: 'Social' is first and foremost about being engaging and social. I understand and appreciate this, as everyone should...

That being said, lets talk about a less fashionable 'S-word': Sales.

In the age of engagement, quality content, and the softly-softly social media approach, 'sales', along with its friend 'selling', has almost become a dirty word. Here's an article from the camp that believes sales has no place in the social media space.

But like it or not, most businesses still have to make money. And there are ways to tap into the great potential of social media to help boost revenue, without ruining the ethos of online community.

Here are three easy techniques for sales teams to take advantage of what social networks have to offer:

1. Profiling

Knowing everything you can about potential customers helps provide the basis for creating more finely targeted sales pitches. Assuming your marketing department has already created social media accounts for your business, you should:

  • Create some saved searches based around keywords relevant to your business such as:
    • Your products
    • Your services
    • Your company name
    • Your industry sector

Basically, anything that reflects on your business and offers you the chance to engage with people who are showing an interest.

  • Listen! It’s tempting to jump right in and hijack conversations, particularly when people are complaining about your brand – but that’s a customer service issue. Instead, try to gauge what the public sentiment about your business is.

  • After identifying people of interest, try assigning a ‘lead rating’ to categorise who needs to be contacted, and in which order.

  • Keep records of your findings, particularly new sales leads, in your CRM system. If your platform already has Social CRM capabilities this will be a whole lot easier.

“Success with social in the sales process depends not just on using the tools effectively, but on capturing the results and relationships for long-term benefit to the organization.”

(Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks) 

2. Engaging

Once you have identified and rated persons of interest, and gauged general attitudes towards your business:

  • Reach out and join existing conversations with people who have shown an interest in your business

  • Work the leads previously identified carefully to nurture new sales leads

  • Let the client drive the conversation and continue to listen more than you speak

“Rushing into social-computing initiatives without clearly defined benefits for both the company and the customer will be the biggest cause of failure.”

(Gartner.com)

Never forget that these days, although it's not accurate to say that you have no control, the customer has a whole lot more than they used to.

The infographic 5 powers customers have now that they never had before illustrates this shift perfectly. 

3. Socialising

As well as joining conversations, social media offers your company chances to start new conversations too. Social media is about building relationships and two-way conversation, so your sales team should use targeted messages to:

  • Invite comment on topics which can further interest potential customers

  • Share company news regularly

  • Project a more human face for your business

  • Show that your company maintains an active social media profile, helping to increase customer trust 

“Over 62% of people polled in the UK held a deep rooted cynicism towards companies and felt that companies are only interested in selling products and services but not necessarily the product or service that is right for the consumer.”

(Socializing CRM eGuide)

Next steps

These three tips can be implemented without any additional software or delay, allowing your sales team to get started with social media immediately. However to streamline the process and make sure that nothing falls through the gaps, a Social CRM system can keep track of interactions and lead ratings to streamline social sales efforts.

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John Cheney

CEO, Workbooks.com

John Cheney has over 18 years of IT experience in Europe and the USA. He is currently CEO at Workbooks, developing Cloud CRM software, and publishing CRM guides and resources.

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Comments

Sales has always given people a slightly shady feeling, and it is hard to turn that kind of stereotype around. I believe that apart from the valid points highlighted above, conveying sincerity is a much-needed element in any form of marketing. The genuine intent to bring value to your customers is the only way to ensure that we will always do our best for the customers, and in doing so, convince them that we are doing things with their best interests in mind. 

However, this is hard to accomplish, especially if the focus of a company is profit-driven rather than customer-driven in the first place.

You're right about the sincerity, Samuel. There is definitely a way to be customer-focused without losing sight of business objectives. I think keeping an eye on the customer experience is vital part of this. We need to make sure customer relationships are managed efficiently, and with a human touch.