Social Selling Tips from Some of the Best Salespeople I Know
I’ve had the good fortune to work with many great salespeople in my career. I’ve observed them using social selling techniques to finesse the art of a sale with a scientific method to move prospects through the sales cycle. Rather than another blog post telling you how to up your social selling game, I’ve asked a couple of all-star sellers to share their proven techniques. Let’s talk with Carly Wennogle, account executive at Conga, who finds a large majority of her targets through their social profiles; and Jeff Renaud, Senior Account Executive at Localytics, who encourages salespeople to bring a point of view about a prospect’s product early in the conversation.
Q: What do you believe are the biggest benefits for a salesperson to adopt social selling tactics?
Carly: True engagement is the real benefit of social selling. How do you relate to someone you don’t know? Get to know them better. Social selling is all about: 1) using social networks to understand your buyer, and 2) providing a truer image of yourself to your buyer. To use the words of Craig Rosenberg, “If you’re skeptical about the role of image in selling, consider the following statistic: According to LinkedIn, 90% of B2B buyers are more likely to engage with a salesperson viewed as a thought leader.”
Jeff: I believe there are several. First thing would be to build your own personal network of fans, and followers. The point is for my territory to work for me. If someone in my network reads an article that leads to a referral, and potentially a new customer, that is gold!
Q: If someone is just getting started in social selling, what advice do you have for them? What do you recommend as the first step?
Carly: Updating your LinkedIn profile is step one. You can’t expect others to connect with you in the social realm if you don’t have a clear, up-to-date social profile yourself. Your LinkedIn profile isn’t a virtual resume, it’s how you show buyers you’re experienced enough to work with them. My favorite posts that go into detail on this topic: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile for Social Selling by Craig Rosenberg and 3 Ways to Create a LinkedIn Profile That Boosts Sales Credibility by Jill Konrath.
Jeff: Talk with customers. Learn what’s working, and what’s not. This could be an opportunity to look like a hero if you can quickly help them. As for your next prospect conversation, have your own point of view ready to share based on customer success stories, as well as things you’ve read that interest you. Now, take it a step further and write your own blog article. Ask your employer to publish it, then share it with everyone you know. This is a wonderful opportunity to build your own personal brand, and network of fans + followers — perhaps it’s about the opportunity you uncovered, and helped solve for your own customer.
Q: What are your top three favorite (or overlooked) social selling tactics?
Advice from Carly:
- It’s all about who I/they know. If I can find a common connection with my prospect, this often goes far for building a relationship. I often ask how they might know this common connection… never assuming they know them well.
- When a buyer goes silent, I often scour social to understand what’s going on in their world. One time, my prospect was in the middle of their user conference! Or sometimes I’ll send a connection request (if I haven’t already). How they respond, or not, can be telling.
- If my prospect has a personal blog or publishes content (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc), this often relates to the conversation I’m trying to have. I have found it easy to integrate their words into a cold email or cold call.
Advice from Jeff:
- Change the subject line. Ask a question in the subject line… the point is to get people to respond.
- Connect with every client, and prospective client you have a positive experience with.
- Timing. I connect with prospective customers when the prospect hasn’t responded in awhile. If they accept the invite, they are still engaged. If they don’t, that could mean they don’t really care about me, or the value I could add. Wait to connect when you need it.
Q: What is your best success story using best social selling?
Carly: I’ve received countless responses from cold emails because of the research I’ve done on my prospects. In one case, I realized this particular prospect was a huge advocate for our solution and had used our solution at two prior employers. Not only was this an instant conversation starter, but after some time and collaboration we won the business!
Jeff: My employer Localytics encourages sharing content religiously. We use an external provider for social selling software to curate, share, and measure engagement from all types of content (media mentions, case studies, product updates, etc). I share at a minimum of four times per day, and my engagement is off the charts. Localytics even sends out gift cards for first place in highest engagement, measured by a combination of reads + shares + clicks. I also use another tool called Socedo. It amplifies the number of Twitter followers by 10x. It builds my network, and extends my reach of social selling. And it’s automated. I’m still measuring results, so it’s impact is to be determined, but so far it did generate conversations with an AVP of Marketing for a Fortune 500 company. One final thought: I’m finding that coming into a conversation with a unique point of view about a prospective customer’s business helps guide the conversation the way I want it to. Having examples ready to share about how your solution can help drive growth, efficiency and effectiveness, helps the prospective customer understand how you can add value to their business.
If you’re new to social selling, or looking to improve your social selling effectiveness, try implementing some of these proven tips from Carly and Jeff.