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11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Social Selling

 

Koka Sexton, a leading visionary on Social Selling (and the Global Senior Manager of Social Marketing at LinkedIn), sat down with our team to share tips on why social selling is important, and rather crucial, to sales.

Definition of Social Selling:

Leveraging your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights and relationships.

Why it’s really important:

Social selling helps you be proactive vs. reactive in your selling process. It helps you bring more passion to your work. Instead of being “salesy” Koka says,

”Social selling helps you influence your buyers and come across as credible, authentic, accurate, information rich, and service oriented.”


Here are 11 social selling tips that you probably don’t know:

1. Social Sellers are more likely to hit their quota

Salespeople that use social selling to increase their pipeline actually see better results. In a study by LinkedIn, the C-level and VP buyers (your decision makers) are using social media to make 84% of their purchase decisions.

Key takeaway: When DM’s have more information, “they feel more confident about the buying decision and are willing to spend more.” Social buyers make 61% more purchases. Make sure your social media is teaching rather selling.

2. Social Media is kind of like Outside Sales.

This was my ‘A-ha!’ moment and I think this is a great way to look at social media. Since salespeople don’t always get the opportunity to meet prospects in person, think of social media as being the door to their office. It opens up a whole new world for making a personal conversation.

Key takeaway: “As an inside salesperson, I didn’t have the opportunity to go into their office to see pictures of their kids, plaques on the wall, memorabilia from their vacations, and find personal talking points.” By doing research on social media, “You can understand where people are in their lives based on their presence on social media” Don’t be creepy about it, but find something interesting to talk about.

3. Don’t sell like a LION.

LION (LinkedIn Open Network) is a connection philosophy. Meaning, you’re a LION if you push accept on anyone and everyone that asks to be your connection on social media. While some people find this useful for building a large network, other’s want to build more personal relationships.

Key takeaway: Pick a connection philosophy, but make sure the person you’re accepting can add value. Koka’s filter for accepting invites is, “If I can add value and you can add value to me; I’ll connect with you.”

4. Always send a personal message when connecting

I can’t reiterate enough how important personalization is in emails. Take the same mentality when using social media. That extra minute it takes to write a quick note when connecting will make your relationship that much stronger. Don’t get lazy.

Key takeaway: “A good connection request is relatively short (2 paragraphs) and shows that they actually understand me in some way.” Koka always tries to reply to personal messages. “If you write a personal message when connecting, 99% of the time they will write back. How cool is that? These are your buyers talking to YOU!”

Super simple example:

5. You don’t always have to talk about your company

It’s important to MIX up what you talk about on social media. Unless someone is a devout customer, they might not love hearing about your company as much as you do. Instead, take an influencer approach and share the latest and relevant sales content.

Key takeaway: “Make sure you talk about relevant sales content like: the world of email, why analytics are so important, an occasional sales meme, industry news, etc.” Because you’re always doing something new, people will keep on coming back if you’re giving enough helpful information.

6. You’re a part-time CEO

One of my favorite lines Koka said was, “You are the CEO of ME Inc.” At the end of the day, it’s about you. A good brand, “conveys some kind of emotion.” So make sure “your” company looks good on social media.

Key takeaway: Think about what that is for yourself. Make sure you tell your story for how you got there, things you’re dealing with, things that interest you. Be a little more authentic and “channel fun things like birthdays and events to add a level of entertainment and authenticity.”

7. It’s great to shoutout to your customers via status updates

Koka uses a trick to promote his network in his status updates. By saying a simple, “Happy Monday to my favorite connections…(and listing a few), you’ll get the attention of your network and show appreciation.

Key takeaway: When you make shoutouts to your current customers or social media followers, you do two things. “One, you build and strengthen the relationship with that person. And two, you increase the visibility of your posts and personal brand.” In other words, their friends will also see your post and you’ll gain more visibility.

8. Everyone messes it up at one point.

Everyone make a bad post or says something they shouldn’t have, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, learn how to not take things so personally.

Key takeaway: “One time I tweeted something that went too far into my personal world, and so I took it down. People were upset that I was taking tweets down and got angry. I fired back and took things way too personally.” Instead he says, “Take the criticism and let it go to your logic brain as opposed to emotional brain.”

9. WHO you know is more important than WHAT you know (Tags)

Companies are making social selling a qualifier these days; as opposed to an option.

Key takeaway: Make sure to tag people into groups on your social media accounts so you have quick access to finding the right people. By tagging groups like “all Sales Managers in SF,” you’ll be more organized with your potential leads or customers.

10. Stop thinking about your LinkedIn profile as your online resume

Don’t just copy and paste your resume onto your LinkedIn profile. It’s meant to be used for more.

Key takeaway: “Make sure you use your online social media profiles to build your reputation and include things about your industry.” What does this do? “By having rich media on your profile, your page becomes a go-to resource!

11. It’s okay to change your title

It’s okay to have a different title on your LinkedIn profile. Change your title to describe what kind of seller you are along with your company name.

Key takeaway: It’s an added bonus that gives your buyer more information and *sparkle* about you.

*What else would you like to know about Sales? Ask us here!


User of the Week: How our tool Niko helps with Prospecting

Name: Zarah Trinh

Company: UserTesting

Position: Biz Dev

1. What’s your company/role?

I do Enterprise Business Development at UserTesting.com. We provide an automated recruited and on-demand testing platform for companies in need of rapid, data oriented research.

Through our Customer Experience Analytics and benchmarking metrics, enterprise teams can FINALLY synthesize both qualitative and quantitative data into a digestible findings report, aligning multiple team initiatives (product, marketing, UX/ design, engineering, etc.) with overall business objectives and revenue goals.

2. Why do you love ToutApp? How do you use it for your job?

  • Sales productivity – Salesforce integration and the “Niko” bubble that makes it easy to input data into Salesforce (from any site) when I’m prospecting
  • Sales Effectiveness - I love the ability to schedule follow up reminders w/prospects, add notes as to how I should follow up in the reminder.. and not just for emails, I can setup reminders for phone calls as well
  • Sales Visibility – The ability to track and see when and if the email is opened and if they’re clicking on certain links in the email

More info on Niko:

Niko is one of our newest feature that bridges the gap between browsing the web and Salesforce. Have you ever scouted LinkedIn for a potential prospect and found a winner? Instead of manually copying information, opening a new tab to SFDC, and creating a lead….CLICK NIKO!

As you browse the web, Toutapp will pull in these respective email addresses and allow you to easily add this contact into Salesforce.

Niko’s a great tool to utilize from either Gmail or Linkedin, without ever having to page back and forth from Salesforce.

3. Why Tout vs. other sales tools in the market?

It’s so easy, integrates with our email and Salesforce, and “Niko” makes it easy for me to access analytics on a prospect and set up reminders on ANY site.

4. What was your journey into sales?

I moved to San Francisco from Alabama for the opportunity to work with talented, ambitious and hungry young professionals like myself. In my first job position after college, I built out a pre-sales position, which we called the “sales consultant” to assist a team of 24 reps on key accounts. I was a part of the first strategically closed enterprise account at that company (Comcast) and brought in a portfolio of other logos, including Yelp, Spotify and Web.com.

…. and I haven’t looked back since :)

5. What’s one of your favorite sales tricks?

My favorite trick is to ask questions I already know the answer to….For example, I sent out a proposal using ToutApp, and even though I knew the email wasn’t opened, I called the prospect to “make sure she got the email.”

.. Or when they say they’re not interested & 10 views later you reach out to call their bluff.

It works every time!

6. Favorite email you’ve ever received?

I reached out to a prospect who declined my Linkedin InMail. Two days later, she sent me an email and wanted a demo, then proceeded to tell me she had no budget and couldn’t commit to any sort of subscription. Three weeks and probably 20 tout emails later, the deal closed, AND she committed to an annual plan!

My favorite emails are the salty ones…. because they always end up sweet (if you use the analytics to your advantage)! ;-D

**Congrats to Zarah + UserTesting for winning this week! We couldn’t be happier to have you on board with ToutApp. If you’re interested in being the next featured superstar, please apply here. **


Be more productive and close more deals in 2014

I decided to get a new little gadget called a FitBit to help motivate a healthier lifestyle. The coolest part was seeing how many steps I took each day. The saddest part was when I realized I had spent an entire 12 hours sitting at my desk only taking 25 steps the entire day. From that point on I made it a goal of mine to make sure I get out and move. The lesson that I learned this month is you still have time to get ahead. No matter if it is lifestyle changes, career goals or sales aspirations, don’t hold off on all your resolutions till after the New Year.

Have you ever walked into a gym in January? It’s a giant cluster of chaos and adrenaline with your workout time spent waiting online for a machine. Come March the crowds trickle down as people either stick with it or move their “get healthy, workout more” resolution to the bottom of the list.

My biggest piece of advice is to get a jump start so you can be ahead of the game and have your routine down come January.

Now, let’s apply this same concept to a career related resolution.

I want to be more productive and close more deals in 2014.

Koka Sexton hits this spot on in A story of two sales experts [infographic], “One of best pieces of advice I got as I grew up was to always find ways to work smarter and not harder. By leveraging people, technology and other resources in a smarter way you have the opportunity to have a much larger impact than if you just worked harder in a vacuume.”

Put a simple plan in place and evaluate where you're wasting most of your time.

For example, “This past year I wasted a ton of time manually creating proposals, agreements and invoices. So my team and I found an awesome tool DocuSign to alleviate the pain, automate and give us back more time in the day to focus on selling.”

While I won’t be using DocuSign Christmas Eve, I’m armed with the right tools to go into 2014.

On the flip side, there are a ton of small tasks you can check off your list to tackle resolutions before the official kick off date, Jan 1, 2014.

Here are a few actionable tips to do right now so you can be more productive and close more deals in 2014:1. Prospect, research, get introductions and knock out some of the sales activities that will take up most of your time come January.

  1. If you get ahead of your prospecting you’ll be way ahead of the crowds and more likely to score meetings come Jan.
  2. Or if you’re REALLY ahead of the game forge relationships NOW and confirm meetings on your calendar in January 
  3. Rest up, sleep and recharge. Don’t wait till Jan 1 to do this.
  4. Make a list or multiple lists. When you return to  the office Jan 2 it is going to be pretty tough to remember everything that happened pre 2014. If you jot down reminders for yourself, to dos and goals now, it will be an easy way to get back up to speed quickly post holiday madness.

Most importantly, Happy Holidays and sending some cheer your way from the ToutApp Team…