Recent surveys have shown the positive return on investment (ROI) of social media for sales teams. Our own data has shown that sales teams selling through their own personal social channels can outperform selling efforts through corporate-owned social channels by three times on LinkedIn and by 12 times on Twitter.
Jim Keenan conducted a study showing that 78 percent of salespeople using social media outsell their peers, but why? What are the common trends between salespeople who are able to utilize social media as a sales tool? How can social media allow you to connect deeper with your prospects, understand their business pains, and generate more qualified leads?
Think about which industries have been successfully introducing social media platforms into their toolkits. Advertising, marketing, and customer support are the obvious choices and probably the first that come to mind. These industries are active on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook because of the potential reach, one-to-one relationships, and customer insights that are available. So if that's the case, it's not hard to make the connection between social media and the sales process. Sales is driven by the connections made and information exchanged by buyers and sellers, things that social media has proven to be highly effective at facilitating.
Social selling is simply the integration of social networking into the sales process. Social media is an additional tool that sales people have at their disposal to help them connect with customers and close deals. Successful salespeople who introduce social media into their toolkit use it to network, answer customer inquiries, and provide value for prospective customers who are actively seeking for more information on the respective industry or product they are offering.
How Does Social Selling Help Generate Leads?
Buyers are consistently going to social networks and the Internet to research any products they have an interest in purchasing. Whether you are a B2B or B2C brand, potential buyers are looking for you online. How many times have you logged into LinkedIn to see that an anonymous user has viewed your profile? For the most part, buyers have the luxury of stealth and anonymity when searching for and accessing information on products they have interest in. So it's important for salespeople to stay visible on social media so they can become a resource for potential buyers, because they are doing their research. Buyers have access to a wealth of information and aren't as susceptible to marketing messages as they were in the past. Reviews, recommendations, and general sentiment are more important than ever.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Russ Fradin is the co-founder of Dynamic Signal and a digital media industry veteran with more than 15 years' experience in the online marketing world. Russ co-founded and was CEO of Adify (acquired by Cox for $300 million in May 2008) and co-founded SocialShield. He was also SVP of BD at Wine.com, EVP of Corporate Development at comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) and was among the first employees at Flycast (acquired by CMGi for $2.3 billion in January 2000). Russ is also an active angel investor in the digital world and is on a number of boards. Russ holds a BS in Economics from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
March 19, 2014