Are your sales prospects active on social media? It’s a pretty safe bet that they are indeed. Today, over two-thirds of the world’s internet users regularly use social media, according to We Are Social. That’s over 31% of all people.
LinkedIn’s data (PDF) indicates that 77% of B2B buyers look to social when they want to learn more about the products and services they are considering.
For salespeople, this much digital connectivity is a double-edged sword. It’s great because you can use social listening and engagement to reach out to and nurture leads. You can even leverage data on anonymous site visitors to see what aspects of your product are most important to them, enabling you to interact with them in ways most likely to interest them.
On the other hand, the signals can be misleading. When you read in a buyer’s Twitter feed that they’ve already had their coffee, and they’re heading into a quarterly budget meeting in a couple of hours, you might think the time is right to pounce and wow them with your pitch. And you may be right. But you may also be making a big mistake – pitching too early can be a major turnoff.
Steady Wins the Race on LinkedIn
Some 80% of B2B marketers want to use LinkedIn more than they already do, according to Social Media Examiner. There’s no quick fix, though, as the key to selling on social media is building relationships over time. You need “a good reputation, integrity, and strong relationships,” says Peter Kim, LinkedIn’s Director of Relationship Management Sales.
No, you won’t find much success in your social selling efforts if you’re immediately pitching to everyone who seems like a worthy target. And manually keeping in touch with everyone relevant can represent major scalability challenges. So how do you ensure that you don’t lose momentum as you slowly, deliberately build these relationships?
Here’s a list of three tools that will help you stay top of mind, using LinkedIn, with minimum time and effort. Each of these tools performs a specific task that is critical in your social selling process.
1. Congratulate Connections on their Milestones
One of the toughest aspects of social selling is identifying the right moments to reach out. No problem – LinkedIn is happy to send you an email every time there’s a press mention of a prospect.
Originally launched independently under the name Newsle, this tool was acquired by LinkedIn in 2014 and lives on as “Connections in the News.” Now you can easily revive conversations with them, keeping the interaction focused on their success. And if these press hits speak to significant growth milestones at your leads’ companies, you might even be able to catch them when they’re looking to reinvest in their businesses by making purchases.
Also, when you show genuine interest in your prospects’ success, you gain more trust from them. And that is a plus to any kind of relationship.
As a salesperson, you can use this information to let your contacts know that you’re thinking of them and are taking notice of the strides they are making. You can also use it to participate in discussions about them, so you can earn points as their supporter.
When you have connection-specific news alerts, you can always add your two cents without worrying about being irrelevant.
2. Automate Messaging With Personal Touches
Don’t you hate it when you get a message on social media, and a few words in, it becomes abundantly clear that the message was written by a robot? Yeah, everyone else hates that too.
LinMailPro is a Chrome extension that allows you to find quality leads on LinkedIn and send them highly personalized messages – with minimal manual effort. The tool uses name fields and other dynamic variables to maximize the relevance of your messages, which you can set for dispatch on an automated basis.
From contacting people who view your profile, to targeting certain companies and registering views of others’ profiles in bulk, LinMailPro comes in handy for the modern social salesperson. For example, with LinMailPro, you can reach out to the people who view your profile with a personalised message that both acknowledges their interest in your profile and invites them to start a conversation. That right there is social selling at its best.
Using automated drip campaigns allows social sellers to message prospects regularly without coming off as a spam-bot. This shows your targets that you’re an expert in the topics you discuss with them, that you are keeping them in mind, and that you are a real human who can hold a conversation.
3. Keep the Conversation Going
You may find that you’re accumulating more and more useful LinkedIn connections with each passing day. At first you might try to keep in touch with all of them regularly, but as time passes and the workload grows, you probably find it getting harder and harder to stay in touch.
Thanks to Geir Freysson and Agnar Sigmarsson, the founders of FiveHundredPlus, it’s easy to make sure you don’t lapse too much.
FiveHundredPlus helps you stay in touch with your connections as often as you would like to by organising your connections in four segment- categories: Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Annually. This way, when theset period elapses, the app reminds you to revive your correspondence with the relevant connections.
This is important, as it allows you to reduce the chances of letting discussions with viable leads go cold.
Social salespeople can also use FiveHundredPlus to monitor how often you contact certain people. These don’t have to be sales leads, mind you – they can also be industry influencers; those people who add credibility and relevant audience referrals to everything you do.
Over to You
Because it’s so B2B-centric, LinkedIn is almost like an online marketplace for buyers and sellers. If you approach it with care and take the time to build your relationships on the platform well, you will surely see increases in the effectiveness of your social selling efforts.
These three tools should give you a lot of what you need when it comes to successful social selling.
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