The phenomenal growth in the use of social media has radically transformed the B2B sales landscape. No longer do customers depend on the sales rep to learn about the products. Buyers can get all the information they need on the Internet. In fact, studies by the Corporate Executive Board reveal that about 60% of customers make a decision to buy or not, even before contacting a rep.
How can your sales people close deals with such well-informed prospects? What are the aspects you need to focus on to ensure effective customer engagement in the digital age? Well, you need to train your reps to unlock the full selling potential of social media. Research conducted by A Sales Guy showed that 78.4% of sales reps using social media tools performed better than those who weren’t. The research also revealed that salespersons who utilize social media were 23% more successful in meeting their targets than their peers who did not use them.
How to train sales force on using social media effectively?
You need focus on the following aspects to enable your sales people harness the full potential of social media.
Identifying social media websites your prospects frequent
You need to train your reps to identify social media groups your potential customers actively participate in. And, to do this, you need to consider 2 vital aspects – customer persona and the nature of your product. Customer personas help you identify the activities and challenges of your target buyer clearly, and this goes a long way in identifying groups in which he is a member. For instance, if your prospect is a supply chain professional in the automobile sector, then you will most likely find him in LinkedIn groups such as Auto OEM Network. The nature of your product often determines the “genre” of social media websites you need to visit. Colleen Francis, a sales guru and president of Engage Selling advises companies to scout LinkedIn groups for B2B sales prospects, while potential buyers of B2C products can often be found on websites such as Facebook and Instagram.
Making the best use of common interests
Social media is all about connecting people who have similar interests and backgrounds. Isn’t it? Many successful salespersons focus their initial conversations on things they have in common with their prospects, before “trickling down” to product information. However, it may not be possible always to connect with potential customers using shared interests. This problem can be overcome by finding out what your customers are passionate about and tailoring your conversation accordingly. For instance, if your prospect is a baseball buff, you can start by talking about a recent, interesting MLB game.
Using social media beyond prospecting
Many believe that social media can be useful only to get new leads, but it can prove useful throughout the sales cycle. You can use websites such as Twitter and LinkedIn to remain in the spotlight and grab the attention of a fading contact. For instance, you can re-tweet him or comment on his LinkedIn article, so that you don’t go off his scanner. You can also use social media to promote your new products to existing customers, ensuring their loyalty and grabbing a bigger share of their wallet.
The effective use of social media is vital to drive revenues in the information era. Firms can help their sales folk unleash the power of social media by training them to identify where potential buyers spend their time online. Common interests and backgrounds can prove very useful in establishing rapport with prospects. The usefulness of social media extends throughout the sales cycle. Hope you liked this post. Do share your views.