8 Social Selling Do’s and Don’ts For Your Sales Team

Guest Post by Julio Viskovich

Social selling involves using social media to stay relevant with your buyer, to listen for buying trigger events and to target the right message, at the right time, to the right person. For a more robust definition of social selling check out the post What is Social Selling and How Will it Increase Sales? Once teams and individuals understand the concept of social selling, and understand the benefits, the next step is to master the best practices. Let’s have a look at the Dos and Don’ts of social selling which will help to move your team from social selling laggards to leaders.

Thanks Anthony Iannarino and Eloqua for the above graphic.

DO…

…Be a Trusted Advisor. In today’s modern era, helping is selling. Try to add value and build trust within your buying community. They’ll turn to you when the time is right.

…Do Research. When I take sales calls and the person on the other end hasn’t done their research, I start looking at my watch. You have the data. Use it. With a combination of social monitoring and intelligence, find out what interests buyers before engaging.

…Be Authentic. Don’t be fake or sneaky. Social media has no governing body. Instead the users rule social and they’ll do everything to create a “safe” place to engage. Authenticity is a big deal in social. Violators of this rule are unwelcome.

…Nurture Prospects and Clients. Social allows you to stay in the hearts and minds of your buying community without having to do the dreaded “check in” call or send a thousand emails. Buyers will follow people that add value.

DON’T… 

…Talk About Yourself All the Time. Bragging on yourself or your company all the time is a turn off. Talk about, and share, other’s content – not just yours.

…Over Push Product. You can’t be a trusted advisor if you can’t hold a conversation without pitching. Social communities don’t want people pitching their products unless asked to. Being pitchy is unwelcome.

…Bombard Leads. You want to be where your leads are, but don’t immediately message them on every platform begging to give a demo or to visit your site. Build a relationship first.

…Be Nasty. Social media is not the place to bad mouth competitors. It’s not about ragging on the competition, but sharing how you can help followers succeed. Stay classy.


For more Do and Don’ts, visit Eloqua’s Grande Guide to Social Selling or follow my Twitter list of sales thought leaders that make up my personal learning network.

What other tips would you add? Drop by and say hello below.

Social Business matters today – and will matter even more tomorrow

Social business is just getting started. But its value is clearly emerging for innovation, operations, leadership and marketing. So what are companies really doing?

In 2012 MIT Sloane Management conducted a survey to really investigate that question. Below you will find my highlights and takeaways from this study.

Even though social technologies have been around for some years now. The sentiment from the report is that many companies are still holding back on the adoption of social tools. Of those surveyed, 52% said that it was important or somewhat important to them today. Whilst 86% believe that it will be important or somewhat important in three years.
Social business is primarily viewed as a tool for external facing activities with marketing departments, sales and customer services being the main driving force with customer relationship management being at the forefront.
The second important use of social software was to drive innovation and competitive differentiation. So whilst the majority see the importance over the coming years most are viewing social tools as external activity, with a smaller group understanding its potential for internal innovation and collaboration.

The Barriers.
The report highlights the biggest barrier is leadership vision. However it is noted that CEOs are twice as likely to drive strategic adoption of social tools than the CIO and CFO.
Lack of understanding on how to measure the effectiveness of social tools is also cited as an inhibitor of adoption with many not measuring at all. Social business depends on leadership, metrics may not be critical when experimenting with social software, but as it becomes more important to organisations, having metrics in place can help managers assess, encourage and reward related behaviours. Helping shift their cultures to be more compatible with social business. CEOs recognise that leadership can be improved with social business, may be more than other members of the C-Suite.

The Challenge
Gartner estimates that the failure rate for social business projects is 70%. That is astonishingly high. Factors that could be responsible include:
– Not using the software deployed to solve a true business problem
– Integration into daily work flow
– Lack of senior management support
– Thinking email is a collaborative tool
– The use of “Social” with the word “Business” vs “Social Media”
– Not realising we are Human. (The three basic psychological factors : The need to connect, feel competent and the need to be autonomous in one’s actions)

The report asked “Why do you use social business at work?” The top three answers being : To network, effectiveness and to voice opinions.
Motivations to participate in social business activities are thus far from superficial and even go beyond just our social nature. They can help fulfil basic psychological needs.

The report also noted that larger organisations and smaller organisations appreciate the value of social business more than that of mid size organisations. With the smaller companies saying they could increase their voice and connect with customers to really make themselves seem bigger than they really are.

The Plan
A clear vision of how social media supports the business strategy was top facilitator in the report. So the first step in your social business journey is to create and communicate the broader social strategy for your organisation. What business challenges are to be solved with  social business activities? What is the Strategy to make this happen? What technology best supports these objectives? What kinds of social networks will support this strategy? Most important is to realise that your social business journey will take time, require and drive changes to your business processes. Defining organisational structure an how you interact with customers and employees.

Take the time to access where you are today, identify problems that are currently being addressed with social tools. Consider if the correct resources are being directed towards the right problems. If you are heavily regulated make sure you have governance process in place to address these. Identify the people or roles that will focus on social business and how these individuals will coordinate with each other. Use listening tools to collect information about your brand, customer service and competition. This area hols tremendous potential for organisations.

Ensuring that your business has enough resources is fundamental. Have you chosen to assign the tasks to an individual or will it be on top of someone’s day job. Will you have incentives in place, targeting and rewarding the correct people. Have you resources in place for communication, content creation, community management and training.

Whilst the report makes it clear that many companies are not measuring and whilst in experimentation mode this may not be so important. Measurement will however need to be conducted especially when redefining practices and processes, measuring adoption thought will be misleading so not advised. For people, often what matters most is whether the tools helps them to do their jobs more effectively.

 

Given that social business is just getting started you may be tempted to wait. But that approach may delay achieving its potential in your organisation, to the detriment of your innovation, leadership, operations and marketing.

Why Companies Need to be Prepared for Online Criticism

Social media has empowered businesses of all shapes and sizes across almost every industry to raise brand awareness, engage a global audience, boost traffic  and drive sales – when used the right way.

But it’s all about engagement and having a conversation. Social networking by definition implies a two-way relationship and people buy from people, brands need to be prepared to manage the bad with the good. No business model is perfect, and companies make mistakes. Are you ready to deal with the criticism?

Perhaps surprisingly, a recent survey revealed that just 29 percent of companies have a social media strategy in place, and two in five (40 percent) rated themselves as unprepared for online criticism.

Are you?

Should Your Business Be on Pinterest?

It seems like everyone’s jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon. But is the latest social media rocket a place for your business?

Software company Intuit published a helpful infographic to help businesses figure out if Pinterest is right for them. If your business is contemplating joining Pinterest, follow the below guide to help decide whether it’s a smart decision.

 

Infographic designed by Column Five Media and published by Intuit

Is everyone supporting social media at your company?

I’ve just finished a great post by Marcus Sheridan, in which he covers 5 ways to get your entire company on board with social media.

This post is highlighting these great points, with some thoughts of my own mixed in.

To read the original post go here:

Firstly – you need to have a sponsor, a champion for the cause preferably an executive. This individual will be the motivator, co-ordinator but this is not someone whom burdens all the responsibility. Further attributes – credible authority, can moderate disputes, can provide or raise budget, liaison between social and greater strategy, strong relationship with social media evangelist.

Secondly – Educate, bring all as many people as you can to a social media summit. Do not mass email employees telling them to join twitter, write a blog “Like” a page.
Phase 1: The basics;
Start with your guidelines, the can’s, the cant’s. Include an etiquette guide.
Introduce the tools and the platforms, uses – familiarisation.
Provide resources for learning. Include online, realtime and hands on.
Points of contact within the company.
Phase 2: Regular use;
How to represent the brand.
Case studies
Scenario planning, fire extinguisher response.

Thirdly – Encourage Employee action. Each employee can make a difference. Rewarding activity through the use of gamification is one way. A great friend of mine recently wrote a great article on gamification well worth a read. Also Marcus refers to a great example in his blog.

Fourth – Create a Social Media Newsletter – If I could +1 this part of his post I would. From personal experience this works, and works well. I run a community on social business which, in just over six months, has over 2500 active members. After every issue there is an influx of new members as the word spreads. Why is it successful? Its sleek, easy to read and bullet pointed.

Fifth – Education Education Education
The landscape is changing rapidly in this new world. So staying up to date is completely key for long term success.
Yet again I agree with Marcus. My team run twice weekly calls every on various topics, various platforms and various speakers. The key to the high attendance – short and sweet. No longer than 20 mins content and time for Q&A at the end.