It starts with a Referral – Not a Salesperson

Harvard Business Review posted a recent article, with some interesting statistics. The headliner being :

84% of B2B Sales Start with a Referral — Not a Salesperson

Here is the article for you reading pleasure

 

Outbound B2B sales are becoming less and less effective. In fact, a recent survey found that connecting with a prospect now takes 18 or more phone calls, callback rates are below 1%, and only 24% of outbound sales emails are ever opened. Meanwhile, 84% of B2B buyers are now starting the purchasing process with a referral, and peer recommendations are influencing more than 90% of all B2B buying decisions.

Why are more and more buyers avoiding salespeople during the buying process? Sales reps, according to Forrester, tend to prioritize a sales agenda over solving a customer’s problem. If organizations don’t change their outdated thinking and create effective sales models for today’s digital era, Forrester warns that 1 million B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service e-commerce by 2020.

The answer to the shift away from reliance on outbound sales could reside in social selling, the strategy of adding social media to the sales professional’s toolbox. With social selling, salespeople use social media platforms to research, prospect, and network by sharing educational content and answering questions. As a result, they’re able to build relationships until prospects are ready to buy.

This is different than social media marketing, where a brand engages many, aiming to increase overall brand awareness or promote a specific product or service by producing content that users will share with their network. Social selling concentrates on producing focused content and providing one-to-one communication between the salesperson and the buyer. Both strategies create valuable content from the consumer’s perspective and use similar social networks and social software tools. But with social selling, the goal is for the rep to form a relationship with each prospect, providing suggestions and answering questions rather than building an affinity for the organization’s brand.

Social selling makes sense for achieving quota and revenue objectives for multiple reasons. First, three out of four B2B buyers rely on social media to engage with peers about buying decisions. In a recent B2B buyers survey, 53% of the respondents reported that social media plays a role in assessing tools and technologies, and when making a final selection.

In addition, more than three-quarters (82%) of the B2B buyers said the winning vendor’s social content had a significant impact on their buying decision. A LinkedIn survey found that B2B buyers are five times more likely to engage with a sales rep who provides new insights about their business or industry. Another survey showed that 72% of the B2B salespeople who use social media report that they outperformed their sales peers, and more than half of them indicated they closed deals as a direct result of social media.

Social sales content also gets salespeople involved earlier in the sales cycle, which means they’re more likely to define the criteria for an ideal solution or the “buying vision,” and thus, more likely to win the sale.

It doesn’t take a significant amount of time to get started in social selling. B2B salespeople only need to invest 5% to 10% of their time to be successful with social. Salespeople should begin carving out a small percentage of their daily time for social media. Regular interaction with a prospect may not lead to a direct sale this week or quarter, but could result in a significant win within the year.

Salespeople should also collaborate with their social marketing counterparts to make the most of their social efforts. Marketing can train salespeople in social media systems, processes, and best practices. According to a survey, 75% of B2B salespeople indicated they were trained in the effective use of social media. This training can encompass everything from working in specific social media channels to using corporate social media software, understanding the business’s social media guidelines, and orienting social media content around customer interests and needs, rather than on brand features, benefits, and prices.

What’s more, sales and marketing can collaborate on information to ensure that their efforts are aligned and to identify common goals and metrics that both teams can support. Since sales pride themselves on their one-on-one relationships with customers, they can discuss with marketing customer successes and concerns, changing customer needs, customer questions, and industry updates.

Integrating systems and encouraging transparency will also go a long way. Salesforce, for example, emphasizes the importance of improved communication between sales and marketing citing an App Data Room and Marketo study that found sales and marketing alignment can improve sales efforts at closing deals by 67% and help marketing generate 209% more value from their efforts.

 

Social media is too important to be left to marketing. In fact, a recent study found skilled social media sales professionals are six times more likely to exceed quota over peers with basic or no social media skills. It is time to get started with social selling and meet your prospects where they’re spending their time. Your organization could be halfway there if marketing has already made the shift to integrating social media into their strategies. When marketing combines their long-game with sales short game in social selling, it can be a win-win for both teams — and for your overall business.



This article is was originally published Here

How to make #SocialSelling work for your organisation

I recently had the opportunity to work with Network Sunday and spent some time talking with Tim Bond, the companies CEO, resulting in a white paper that will guide organisations to the benefits of social selling.

Here are some highlights, followed by the white paper in full, hosted on slideshare.

In 2015 the questions being raised were:

What is social selling? Why aren’t more sales people selling this way? How do we implement it?

Today (October 2016) there is a general consensus that the buyer / seller dynamic has changed and sales people who practice social selling outperform their peers. Clearly organisations now face a new hurdle: ADOPTION

Social selling for Organisations from Ben Martin Social_Ben

 

Learning, Adopting, Improving, Performing – The metric model to use; by Toby Beresford

The Learning Adopting Improving Performing (LAIP) model provides a new tool for categorising personal analytics metrics according to the maturity of the behaviour. This allows program managers to channel behaviour adoption appropriate to business priorities and the current status of the individual and cohort.

The model stems from a collaboration between  Ben Martin and myself when looking at metrics to encourage effective social selling practices.

Anyone creating a personal analytics program may find it a helpful tool when evaluating which metrics to include, when to include them and how to weight them.

The LAIP Model

In our LAIP model, maturity of a behaviour is evaluated along two axes:

  • how established is the behaviour?  has it become a habit?
  • how much value does the behaviour drive? is it worthwhile?

Based on these two axes we can create a boston matrix and into each quadrant we can categorise our metrics.

laip-model-1

Learning

The player is learning the new behaviour and associated tools / processes.

Adoption

The player is seeking to create a regular habit around the new behaviour.

Improving

The player already has a habit but seeks to derive more value from the existing behaviour.

Performance

The player is seeking to achieve higher performance in the adopted behaviour.

Worked Example

Let’s apply this model in the context of an inside sales team looking to drive telephone calls off the back of cold (unsolicited) emails.

Say for example I have the following metrics which I am tracking for each of my sales reps:

  • Total emails sent  (Learning)
  • 20  emails sent per day (Adopting)
  • Responses per email ratio  (Improving)
  • Number of telephone calls arranged (Performing)

laip-model-worked-example-1

Number of cold emails sent is a  Learning metric because it is relatively simple. Sending out emails is a new behaviour and for now I just want to track the total number I’ve sent. This helps me as I get going with sending out those cold emails.

Once I’ve got the hang of sending emails I might want to tighten up the metric so I can be sure I adopt the behaviour I want which is to send 20 each day. So a ratio formula – number of cold emails / day with a goal (20) is a real Adopting metric. This helps me adopt the behaviour I want to achieve.

My Performing metric, in this case, has nothing to do with the underlying behaviour but all to do with the value I am hoping to achieve with my cold emailing behaviour – which is telephone calls with a real lead. So here my metric is number of telephone calls I’ve arranged.  Over time I can make this more sophisticated, perhaps calls per month, per week and so on.

Finally there is a chance that I develop my cold emailing behaviour but it isn’t driving the value that I want. In this case I need to consider anImproving metric – a ratio of email responses to those sent out. This looks at the quality of the emails in terms of who I sent them to and their content. An improving metric assumes that the behaviour is established but is not driving value.

Handling misfit metrics

Like any model, the LAIP model can only offer an approximate view on reality – inevitably there will be some metrics that seem to fit into more than one category or no category at all. The expectation in this case is that the manager will provide a “best fit” assessment when plotting metrics on the matrix.

Conclusion

Overall this model offers gamification gurus a way of categorising metrics, particularly useful in multi-metric scoring systems where scores from multiple behaviours are composited into a single score.

By categorising the metrics,  the program manager can ensure that the personal analytics dashboard is aligned to the current business goals for the individual or current cohort. The program manager does this by weighting and prioritising metrics within the overall score algorithm.

The ULTIMATE SOCIAL SELLING routine for the modern sales pro [INFOGRAPHIC]

What is the perfect social selling routine? Salesforlife crowdsourced from 65,000 sales professionals to find out. They have put the results into a great graphic listed below.

How can you discover relevant content that sparks conversations with buyers? What is the best way to engage buyers online? How to track these interactions? And how do you overcome the dead zone, continually re-engaging buyers so they don’t forget you?

This infographic ensures you’ve got every stage of the buyer’s journey covered — from lead generation to prospecting, closing to nurturing. Enjoy.

Social Selling – Basic Tools to Gain Influence and Dominate your Territory – Guest Post Timothy Hughes

I’m going to start this blog assuming you know about Social Selling already. That buyers can now cut you the seller out by using Google and other techniques. As a seller you will have already wised up to the fact you need to do something different.

Here is a quick summary of techniques and tools you can use to support your selling efforts.

There are many others tool, if you have any suggestions or “hacks” you want to share, please do in the comments.

LinkedIn: Continue to build your personal brand this has to be buyer centric. That means that if a buyer (usually in salesperson avoidance mode) came across your profile, would they avoid you, or maybe you can convince them to stop by and ask your advice.  But please don’t see Linkedin as some passive “tick box” exercise, your should be using Linkedin to drive “inbound” through your profile.

Sales Navigator: Great tool to allow you to research and monitor your prospects and accounts. LinkedIn quote that for the average Enterprise sale 5.4 people are involved.  The mistake that sales people often make is that it’s easier talking to somebody in your comfort zone.  Often they are part of the problem and not part of the solution.  Sales Navigator allows you to get broader and wider in an account to cover all the bases and lock your competition out.

Twitter: This is a great resource to allow to find and engage with people in your prospects and accounts. While this sounds like Sales Navigator, what you will find is that Changemakers will tend to use Twitter as they see it as a way to grow and connect with influence.

On Twitter you need a clear biography, most corporations will insist that you need a comment that your opinions are my own and a link to your LinkedIn Profile. Don’t link to your corporate website.

Buffer: Buffer is a web browser plugin that allows you to “buffer up” tweets. While automation should be used with care, it is “Social” Media after all, it is a way that you can Tweet and work at the same time.

Tip: Do NOT post to multiple Social Networks at the same time. This is easy to spot and will be seen by followers of yours on multiple platforms to be spammy.

How do you Increase The Visibility of your Tweets?: One tool that will allow you to do this is Crowdfire. It allows you to follow certain hashtags.

Or why not follow all your competitors followers and steal their Influence?

How as a Salesperson can you see what your customers are talking about on Social Media?

Below is the dashboard for my Twitonomy account

 Twitonomy looks very much like the basic Twitter client. You can reply, retweet and favorite individual tweets.

But Twitter analytics is where the tool really shines. Once signed in, you’ll get a Twitonomy profile page that has all kinds of statistics. There is too much really to mention, sign up and have a play.

In terms of your customers it will help find them, you can see who influences them, the hashtags they are using

Want to know your customers better and be alerted in case of important information?

https://www.netvibes.com is a great application, like Google alerts on steroids this allows you to listen to prospects and customers at a micro and macro level.

Want to Create some Funky Content that will Stand Out? 

Picplaypost – This app allows you to create photos and videos collages, great video on Youtube here

https://youtu.be/oHGgz0owzQc via @YouTube

Legend – This app allows you to turn text into stunning animations.
Put your words in motion. Inspire people. Make friends laugh. In just 2 taps! Perfect for Instagram, Twitter, iMessage, WhatsApp. Save video or GIF.

Conclusion: Social Media is your best friends to be visible on the market on what you do well, to be perceived as an expert by your eco system and also to have information about your customers, partners, competitors, etc

But you don’t become best friends in 5 minutes, you need to get to know each other and you can find your prospects and position yourself as being there to help.

In my book Social Selling, there is a whole chapter on technology and a practical way that people can use it to create leads and over achieve your quota quicker. It’s written to help support you both salesperson and sales leader on your Social Selling journey.

Want to know how to sell to the modern, connected buyer?

If you’re interested in a blueprint to help you in your move to digital and social then I recommend my book.  “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers”.  Written in a workbook style, it’s designed to help you implement a digital and Social strategy across Sales and Marketing.

To order follow this link to Amazon there is also a Kindle, eBook version.

About the Author

Tim Hughes is co-founder of Digital Leadership Associates a company that provides support and guidance in all areas of Social as well as Social Selling.  He has been called “an innovator and pioneer” of Social Selling and in the recent Onalytica list of the most influential Social Sellers globally, Tim was named as number 1.

Tim can be contacted on Twitter @timothy_hughes where he has some 150,000 followers or tim@digitalleadershipassociates.com – You can find him at his blog The Social Selling Network

THE EVOLUTION OF A SALESPERSON [Video]

Buyers are embracing the information saturated internet, simultaneously they are getting smarter and more savvy to their requirements and needs. This has made it even harder for sales professionals to get in front of those buyers, let alone be part of the early buying process.

Today’s connected seller is emerging. they embrace tactics such as social media, CRM, analytics, and digital collaboration. Together, the modern social seller and buyer are now working together to create more value but most importantly, to create relationships, that result in a sale.

Salesforce created and awesome slideshare on The Evolution of a Salesperson, highlighting the sellers evolution as they adapt to the current best practices on engaging earlier with potential buyers, sharing content to start conversations and creating new opportunities.

As I thought it would better as a video (135 slides! Way to long ) I converted it into one for you. If you prefer to click 135 time the links is below.

Slideshare version

 

Related posts

Get Social to Get Selling

Social Selling – The Evolution of Sales

 

THE ROI OF SOCIAL SELLING: 5 DATA-DRIVEN OUTCOMES [INFOGRAPHIC]

The number of companies adopting Social Selling tactics is growing at a rapid rate. In fact, 62.9% of sales professionals report that Social Selling has become highly important for closing new deals. With such levels of adoption, the odds are high that either you or someone in your company are already using social channels to generate new revenue.

  • Buyers are already 57% through the purhcase process before sales professionals even speak to them. (Tweet This)
  • B2B organizations with tightly aligned marketing and sales achieved 24% faster revenue growth.(Tweet This)
  • Nearly 82% of buyers viewed between five to eight pieces of content from a winning vendor. (Tweet This)

From staying ahead of the competition to having more sales conversations, it’s undeniable the outcomes of Social Selling are evident. The infographic below shows the results that Social Selling is providing for companies of all sizes. Take a look!

social-selling-roi-infographic-#WESOE

Originally posted HERE

23 Social Selling Stats, you need to know

 

  1. On average decision makers consume 5 pieces of content before being ready to speak to a sales rep. (Source)
  2. 10.8% of social sellers have closed 5 or more deals attributed to social media. (Source)
  3. 54% of social salespeople have tracked their social selling back to at least 1 closed deal. (Source)
  4. 72.6% of salespeople using social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often. (Source)
  5. 46% of social sellers hit quota compared to 38% of sales reps who don’t. (Source)
  6. 64% of teams that use social selling hit quota compared to 49% that don’t. (Source)
  7. 80% believe their sales force would be more productive with a greater social media presence. (Source)
  8. B2B buyers complete 57% of the buying decision before they are willing to talk to a sales rep. (Source)
  9. 92% of buyers say they delete emails or voicemail messages when comes from someone that they do not know.(Source)
  10. The average cold calling appointment rate is 2.5% (Source)
  11. 2/3 of companies have no social media strategy for their sales organizations. (Source)
  12. 93% of sales executives have not received any formal training on social selling. (Source)
  13. 53% of salespeople want help in understanding social selling better. (Source)
  14. 96% of sales professionals use LinkedIn at least once a week and spend an average of six hours per week on the professional networking site. (Source)
  15. 82% of prospects can be reached via social media. (Source)
  16. 50.1% of social salespeople spend between 5% to 10% of their time on social media. (Source)
  17. 21.7% of the sales people are not using social media, 18.9% cited not using it because they didn’t see the value and 45% cited because they did not understand social selling. (Source)
  18. 77% of B2B buyers said they did not talk with a salesperson until after they had performed independent research (Source)
  19. 36% of buyers said they didn’t engage with a sales rep until after a short list of preferred vendors was established. (Source)
  20. 84% of B2B decision makers begin their buying process with a referral. (Source)
  21. A warm referral increases the odds of a sales success 2x-4x. (Source)
  22. 71% of salespeople believe that their role will be radically different in 5 years. (Source)
  23. 69% of sales executives believe that the buyer process is changing faster than organizations are responding to it.(Source)

Have any intriguing social selling statistics to share? Please post them below, we’ll use them in a follow up and attribute it to you & your source.

Sources Used:

CEB
Salesforce
The Sales Management Association
DemandGen
Accenture
Edelman Trust Barometer
A Sales Guy Consulting
Aberdeen Group
IBM Preference Study
LinkedIn Sales Solutions
American Association for Inside Sales Professionals

10 Ways To Teach Your Customers To Buy From You by Gerry Moran

When it comes successful social selling and meeting your sales quota, being more like a car mechanic, instead of a car salesman, might be the key to your success. Huh? How are you going to meet your quota if you don’t act like the tenacious and famous car salesman, Cal Worthington?

Teach Your Customers

I have purchased over 10 cars in my lifetime and cannot remember any of the names, faces or other details of the people who sold them to me. However, I remember every car mechanic I’ve ever worked with. I remember each of them because we built a trusting relationship. They taught me and did not sell me. They showed me how to maintain my car and advised me on what to look for when buying a new car. They were my trusted advisor who helped me fix my current problem and frame my future purchase. Wow!

Whether you are selling enterprise software solutions in the cloud or trading show shipping services you can position yourself as a teacher, like my car mechanics, and reap the rewards of being a top seller.

Social Selling Lessons | Be A Teacher Not A Seller

1. Differentiate Yourself From The Sales Sharks. With InsideView reporting that 90% of CEO’s do not return cold emails or calls, becoming a trusted advisor and teacher to your customers makes sense. It’s the only way to break through to them. Don’t ‘look’ like the typical sales professional and you will separate yourself form the herd of sales sharks.

2. Don’t Be All About Making A Deal. Instead of focusing on a small amount of sales, build a large social network people modeled after your customers and their influencers. 75% of B2B decision makers use social media to learn. So, plug into this larger network, to bust your quota.

3. Pass On Valuable Information. Don’t use your social media and network channels to promote your solutions. Pass on valuable information, instead, to lead the conversation to you when the time is right to buy. You want to be known for handing out knowledge and not brochures.

4. Associate Yourself With Great Brands. You are the company you keep, so keep good company. Associate yourself with great knowledge brands, like Harvard Business Review, Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, to build your reputation and brand.

5. Think Outside The Trade-Show Booth. Cast the trade booth sales mentality away and spread your knowledge so people will eventually visit your trade booth when it’s time to buy; 73% of customers are willing to engage with you on social media, so get to it!

Successful-Content-MarketingThink.com-@GerryMoran

6. Use Social Media To Teach And Not Sell. Selling is best done face-to-face. However, Social Media Today reports B2B buyers look at an average of over 10 digital resources before ever making a purchase. Since customers need to learn before they buy, use this opportunity on social media to connect. Your customers are there whether or not you are.

7. Teach And Connect With Today’s Technology. Connect and get on the radar of your customers and potential networks by retweeting, sharing, commenting and favoriting others’ content. Intersecting with their learning tools is a great way to build a relationship instead of finding and phoning them from a LinkedIn search. LinkedIn reports 85% of IT Decision Makers use social networks for business, so your future customers are waiting for you to socially engage.

8. Develop Insights. Before you teach and connect with your customers, you need to listen to the customer and their customers. Listening is a great way to prepare for your connections and calls. SirisuDecisions reports 82% B2B decision makers think sales representatives are unprepared for meetings, so this insight-driven approach will help you build the best social selling lesson plan.

9. Tap Into The Ready-made Network. There is an entire social community on LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs, where customers are tapping to learn how to be smarter, more effective, more efficient to make more money. Determine how to tap into this potential, leverage the rules of engagement, and position yourself as a teacher; especially since the Sales Benchmark Index reports reps with 5000+ linked in connections have a 98% chance of attaining quota.

10. Be A Publisher. In addition to curating and passing on the great content to your network, create your own assets on a blog. Blogging is the social selling secret weapon. Hubspot reports that 92% of companies that blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog, so this strategy seems like a no-brainer!

Do you have another teaching tip to share? If so, please comment below.

 

Have You Been Social Selling All Along? by Susan Marshall

Chances are, you’ve read a blog post, joined a webinar or attended a conference that celebrated the “social selling” revolution. Supporters of the social selling movement claimed that LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites would bring an end to the stereotype of pushy, disconnected, quota-hungry salespeople and give rise to a new breed of relationship-first sellers who use social media to seek connections instead of transactions; who share valuable resources instead of pushing products; who listen instead of talk.

Yet despite the promise of social selling, just one in four salespeople know how to use social media to sell, and a mere 31 percent of reps report using social media at all in their sales process.

The meager adoption of social selling, however, isn’t because it doesn’t work. In fact, 73 percent of social salespeople strongly outperform their traditional selling peers. The problem is that the concept of social selling is woefully misunderstood.

Many salespeople tend to think of social selling as an entirely new discipline: “I know how to sell in the real world, but now I need to learn how to sell on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.” But the simple truth is that social selling isn’t new. The same traits that determine if you’re a good salesperson offline—being honest, helpful, and informative—are what make salespeople successful in the social sphere. Social media are tools. Being a good salesperson is a mindset13. (highlight to tweet)

So, although you may have at first been intimidated by the concept of social selling, understanding the similarities between selling online and traditional selling will help put you at ease. You’ve been social selling all along, and you didn’t even know it.

LinkedIn: Like Trade Shows Without the Travel

Trade shows are a massive investment in time and money. The average attendee travels more than 400 miles to each show and spends more than eight hours meandering through a maze of exhibits in search of leads. The grueling days and hefty travel expenses are worth it, though, if each trade show visit results in new relationships forged on the exhibit hall floor.

It’s that same ability to build meaningful, long-lasting relationships that makes LinkedIn so valuable to salespeople.

Contrary to popular belief, LinkedIn is more than a job-hunting destination—it’s an incredibly deep research and prospecting tool that can be used to unearth new prospects and identify key points of entry into the businesses you’re targeting.

Consider how you select which trade shows to attend before buying a badge. You visit the trade show website, do some research on who’s slated to speak and which companies are signed on to exhibit, and then make a judgement call on if you think it’ll draw the type of prospects you’re looking for.

Finding and connecting with prospects on LinkedIn is even easier. Featuring a variety of search options and detailed profiles, LinkedIn enables you to quickly find the people you want to connect wit2h and makes it easy to ask existing connections to introduce you to their connections to broaden your network.

Following through on our analogy, if you think of LinkedIn as a trade show, thenLinkedIn Groups are the swanky, invite-only after parties. And, just like at real parties, nobody likes a pushy salesman crashing a LinkedIn Group. Groups aren’t a place to hawk your products and services. Rather, they’re a place where you can answer questions, share relevant and informative resources, and engage in conversations. By joining in on these real—albeit digital—conversations, you’ll earn a reputation as an expert whose products or services are worth paying attention to.

Twitter: A Warmer Alternative to Cold Calls

Think those cold calls are working? Think again. According to sales research groupHuthwaite, 91 percent of people never respond to cold calls and, even worse, 71 percent find them annoying2. Even salespeople hate cold calling: 63 percent of reps say it’s what they hate most about their jobs.

Even if cold calling is a necessary evil to filling your funnel, wouldn’t it be nice to know just a little bit about a prospect before reaching out to them? Well, think of Twitter as a tool for making cold calls warmer.

The best thing about Twitter is that you don’t need to tweet a single thing to start seeing its value—all you need to do is start “listening.” Twitter is the perfect tool for conducting some basic pre-sales research, because you can search for specific keywords and phrases to identify prospects. Plugging in a competitor’s name might turn up a Twitter rant from an unhappy customer looking to make a switch. Or, you might find that a prospect is narrowing down their shortlist and looking for suggestions from the Twittersphere. You may even stumble upon some of your own customers requesting (or, in more severe cases, demanding) help.

Twitter enables you to find and engage with prospects at every stage of the sales cycle, and can even help you intervene should a current customer be having a hard time. And, should you be so inclined to share some tweets of your own, you’ll find that the Twitter audience is eager for advice: 73 percent of people trust the information they receive from Twitter.

Now, isn’t that better than taking a shot in the dark on a cold call?

Facebook: A Friendlier Way to Nurture Leads

Potential buyers don’t become customers overnight. In fact, according to MarketingSherpa, 79 percent of marketing leads never convert into sales due to lack of lead nurturing. Conversely, leads that are effectively nurtured make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads, according to The Annuitas Group.

Relationships are critical in today’s sales cycles, and the only way to build those relationships is by communicating with buyers throughout every stage. Phone calls and email have been the two biggest lead nurturing mainstays among sales reps, but Facebook presents a unique opportunity for salespeople to connect with prospects and maintain relationships over time.

While Facebook started as a way for college kids and, eventually, friends and family to keep in touch, it has evolved to become an important source of news and information for the majority of adults. Nearly 80 percent of people consume some news when checking Facebook, including a small percentage who consider Facebook their primary news source. In other words, it’s no longer taboo to share information (provided it’s relevant and useful) with your Facebook friends.

Nurturing leads on Facebook is no different than nurturing them on a phone call to check in or an email that includes a relevant case study. Nurturing—using any communication channel—is less about closing the sale, and more about answering and asking questions, providing valuable content, and engaging in real conversations. And because Facebook is a place where people are more inclined to share what’s happening in their personal lives, it can lead to even deeper, more meaningful connections.

You’re Already a Social Selling Pro

Social Selling isn’t a new concept; it’s simply taking the same traits that make people good at selling at trade shows, on phone calls, and throughout the nurturing process and applying them across social channels. If your goal is to provide useful information and forge a meaningful relationship, then you will see your sales spike regardless of if you’re meeting in-person on the trade show floor or on LinkedIn, making contact through a cold call or on Twitter, or nurturing through follow-up emails or Facebook. Simply put: social selling is selling.

 

 

For 25 years, Susan Marshall has been building and launching some of the best-in-class professional web and video editing applications including Flash, Dreamweaver, and Final Cut Pro, as well as leading digital marketing efforts for ExactTarget, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and more. Capitalizing on her past experience at Apple and mobile startups like ChaCha, Susan now serves as the CEO and co-founder of Torchlite Digital Marketing