social media sales
POSTED : October 17, 2012
BY : PK

While social media strategy and program management has traditionally been the domain of marketing and communications managers, sales leaders are increasingly using social media tools and techniques to improve lead generation and prospect development.

Fact – your customers are using social media, most are every day.  In their social actions they are communicating what they like, what they think, and who they know. This information can be used by sales people to identify potential clients, learn about them, and find the perfect time to pitch products and services. In a world where information is power, social media can put you one step ahead of your competition. However, with so much information and so many tools available, getting started can be a bit overwhelming.

Here are some simple steps to enhance your sales processes with social media:

Understand the conversation

The first step is to understand where your prospects are spending time online and observe the conversation. This can be done through monitoring a hashtag on Twitter, joining a group on LinkedIn, joining a group on Facebook, or becoming a member of a forum. Once you have found the right conversations, listen to them to gain as much information as possible. Identify pain points and learn how to best communicate to the audience in a natural and relevant way. In the simple act of listening, you will now be able to identify more qualified prospects and understand how to engage with them.

Join the conversation

Start engaging with potential customers through social media channels and develop relationships. Connect on LinkedIn and follow on Twitter. Build credibility by sharing relevant articles, sending invitations to webinars, and creating ebooks that address common issues that face your customers. This will establish your credibility and position you as a trusted resource in your industry.  Furthermore, when prospects are ready to engage, you will have already established contact and you will understand how to effectively engage.  Relationships are the key to closing sales, social is another channel to develop and nurture more.

Monitor the conversation

Keep your finger on the pulse of the conversation. There will be moments in time when your customers will be in need of your product or service. Setting up the right listening tools will help identify those opportunities.

Monitoring can take many forms; some may watch conversation volume around certain hashtags on Twitter through Hootsuite or TweetDeck, others may set up a Google Alert to provide real-time news on the industry, some keep a close eye on potential customer’s activities on LinkedIn. No matter the tools you choose, there will likely be an alert system that will help you stay on top of the conversation and begin timely conversations that may turn into a closed deal.

Social networking allows sales professionals to tap into a broader range of people and understand more about them than ever before. Your telesales reps now have access to greater insights concerning a prospect’s current business challenges and they can engage in relevant conversations, resulting in a more informed sales force.

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