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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistFri, Jun 20, 2014 7 min read

Social Media Is The Inbound Sales Person’s Secret Weapon

SecretWeaponLook around: The world of sales and marketing is changing so fast that even an inbound marketing agency like ours has to work hard to stay on the cutting edge. It’s even harder for our clients to stay current.

For example, Wednesday’s blog article had a tip for sales people on how to use social media marketing tools, like Twitter, to close deals.

We got such a positive response and higher-than-normal shares that we thought a follow-up article on social media and inbound sales would be well received.

So, here are a few ways that your sales people should be using a more proactive social media strategy to connect with prospects, move deals along faster and hit their revenue goals more consistently.

Leverage ALL Of Your Networks

The days of Rolodex are over. Today, you should be looking for sales people with extensive LinkedIn networks, wide Facebook followings and thousands of Twitter followers. If your people have weak social networks, their value to your organization is going to be limited with today’s inbound marketing tools.

If, on the other hand, you have sales people with extensive social networks, you have to build in the tasks required to leverage those contacts and bring them into your company’s conversation. Make sure you have them sharing ALL of your content with their entire network EVERY time you publish anything. This is, by far, one of the most underutilized tactics we see within organizations. The impact of this small investment of time by your sales people might be the difference between hundreds of people seeing your content marketing and hundreds of thousands of people seeing it.

Monitor Your Prospects' Conversations

You probably didn’t know this, but nowadays, we’re able to monitor social conversations that are directly related to your keywords. Yep, you heard me right. You can be alerted every time one of your prospects mentions the words related to your products, your services, your solutions or even the pains associated with what you do.

Now, when your team finds prospects chatting on social sites about their issues, your people are able to jump into the conversation – not to sell, but rather to provide the education, guidance and advice your prospects are looking for, exactly when they're looking for it. It’s a very powerful sales technique.

Allocate 30 Minutes Every Day

Part of the problem is that this sounds like a lot of work. In reality, it’s not. If they allocate just 30 minutes every day, interacting with prospects on social media pays out dividends far and above the time it takes to execute the tactics we’ve been talking about. Doing this every day is the best way to change someone’s behavior.

Make It Personal First

Make sure your team starts with the personal first and moves into the professional ONLY when your prospect allows you to make that move. Social marketing requires a very personal approach, which means you learn a lot about your prospect and then use that information to make the connection. Remember, people make purchase decisions emotionally, so connecting with them around a personal topic like sports, hobbies, family or travel is a great way to start building that emotional connection first.

Then Make It Educational

Once you establish a trusting personal relationship, it’s easy to make the transition to something more professional if you lead with education instead of sales. Don’t ask to meet, have lunch or even go to a game. After all, you’re not friends yet. You barely know each other. Instead, offer to send something educational, like a recent blog post, one of your infographics, a slide deck or an e-book your company just finished. In essence, you’re paying it forward, helping them by giving them something without asking for anything in return. This is a great way to transition the social media relationship from casual and friendly to professional without scaring them off.

Track It

With all of the tools at our disposal, it's now easy to track all of your prospects' interactions with your firm. We are able to show you what web pages they visited, how long they stayed on that page, what social sites they came from and what offers they viewed and downloaded. From there, you manage your side conversations with your prospects. If you see they visited a page but didn’t download the offer on it, you might want to reach out to find out why. Did they get distracted, or were they turned off in some way? Not only is this extremely valuable info for the marketing team, but it also makes your relationship with your prospect that much stronger.

If you manage sales people or work with sales people from a marketing perspective, it’s obvious that the role is changing dramatically. Adding this set of activities to their day is going to require them to literally change the way they work. Alan Deutschman coined the phrase “change or die” in his 2005 article "Change or Die" for Fast Company magazine. Today, that phrase seems perfect for this scenario. If sales people don’t start using the tools available to them and don’t start working with people the way they want to be worked with, they are going to find themselves extinct. The good news is that inbound sales provides a path to relevance for them all.

Start Today Tip – The best advice we could give business owners, CEOs, marketing execs and sales leaders is to lead. Lead your sales teams out of the dark and into the light. Expose them to social marketing. Make it a requirement that they use it and start connecting with the people they want to talk to. Pilot social outreach and monitoring programs with a few of your more progressive sales people, and watch the others literally beg to be part of it. Set the bar high, demand activities like those discussed above and hold them accountable. After some initial success, you’re going to see an entirely new approach to sales across your entire team.

 Social Media Strategy For Professional Services Firms

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.