Do your Discovery by Social Listening
Today we are talking about active listening. What are our customers talking about? What are their pain points? How could our company solve a problem? What can we contribute? For this form of listening, a whole new concept has emerged, namely “social listening” – listening to customer conversations on the social web, to make the company’s own response and offer as accurate as possible to the real needs of each individual customers.
So how does Social Listening work I hear ask? Mostly by observing your leads as well as using information gathered to get to know your potential clients and their interests better. Of course it helps you to generate leads on the one hand, by solving the problems of your customers and (for future customers) publicly pointing to the services of your company and the successes it has brought to your customers. On the other hand, by watching what is being talked about within the industry and participating strategically (and appropriately) in these conversations you will simultaneously learn more about your target customers and increase opportunities to engage.
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is extremely useful. If you haven’t used it yet, you may want to check it out. This LinkedIn premium tool allows you to set account filters that show you your target leads at your target companies. By automating the process of following your saved accounts, Sales Navigator will provide you with up-to-date information on what is happening within those companies. Also you can create lead lists based on your already built target personas. It can help you to optimize your Social Listening and doing your Sales Discovery work by observing what companies are sharing and where they are focusing on and helps you knowing what your prospects truly care about and what their company is focusing on.
Contact your potential Lead
Even more powerful than a custom invitation to connect is a warm introduction. As you access people’s profiles, on the top right hand side, LinkedIn will automatically find people who you and your prospect have in common. Reach out to your joint connection and ask this person for giving a warm introduction to connect with your prospect. This isn’t in any way complex, yet gives enormous credibility when asking to invite someone to LinkIn with you.
Remember though, when you invite your prospect, that social is personal. Always send a tailored request to connect. Selling is way better received when it feels like a 1-to-1 relationship, rather than a blanket message to all people. Don’t be expedient, make it personal. If you are dedicated to your social listening, you can act on key events, such as a new job appointments, as well as giving you the green light to engage in meaningful conversations with your prospects. This allows you to kick start a conversation with “Congratulations on your new job role”, which is much stronger than “Hello, I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is….“.
Build a team strategy
Social Selling is no One-Person-Show. Sales, IT and marketing ideally work together in implementing Social Selling. In addition to CRM support, the use of content databases, marketing automation tools, or sales apps is desirabel to ensure social selling is successful. According to IDC, B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year. But when sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies became 67% better at closing deals. (Marketo) This is an essential fact for the success for social selling, too.
No one is likely to know the customer quite as well as the sales team. Marketing needs to ensure that this knowledge is incorporated into their social media activities. The sales team needs the skills, content, and tools to become active in the social media and generate revenue. This is exactly why Sales & Marketing should collaborate early and often to boost success and effectiveness of sales campaigns and marketing activities.
To make your Social Selling to a success:
- Develop an overarching social media strategy including Sales, Marketing and IT
- Educate your sales and marketing staff in dealing with the social media
- Ensure the right technology to enable social listening and engagement
- Provide good and informative content that your sales team can take
- Encourage your employees to develop and post local content
Social selling sets up the best opportunity for sales managers to help their teams identify potential customers in social networks, thus opening up potential new sales. Sales targets are achieved faster through social selling. So start now! Build your sales and marketing teams’ social selling fitness in the digital age by engaging in Social Selling!
Are you interested in receiving any further support on your social selling? Our Social Selling training enables salespeople to rapidly increase awareness of their professional image across a range social networks, simultaneously building their social brand as part of the sales process. Get in contact with us!
This article was written by Astrid Menzl. Astrid Menzl M.A. is Business Development Manager und Consultant at PDAgroup GmbH. Within the scope of the Masterthesis, Astrid Menzl dealt with the subjects of business model innovation and digital transformation in medium-sized manufacturing companies. Her consulting focus lays within innovation management and the digital transformation of enterprises, supporting companies to enable performance in the digital age with customer centricity.