5 Things Social Selling Is & 1 Thing It Isn’t

There is still a lot of buzz around social selling like its some newly discovered sales goldmine. In reality, its still sales just on a different medium. Most people I speak with agree that having a social selling strategy is beneficial, but it’s one tool in the box. What can we do now to enable our overall sales strategy?

Express who we are

LinkedIn is a great way to share insights about our experiences, our company and our areas of interest. It’s important to reflect work history, etc but we need to make our LinkedIn profile more than a job resume. What are some educational groups, projects or volunteer experiences we’ve been involved with? What are we doing in our current job roles to help our team and our company win? Like blogging? Post some stuff. This is an awesome way to give insight into our company’s culture and personal values. There is also the ability to add some work samples to our profile.

Stay educated about industries & buyers

Before we can do this effectively, it’s important to have a clear picture of ourbuyer personas. Additionally, what types of trigger events are a good reason to reach out? Perhaps an expanding sales team or an acquisition identify good opportunities for our business to add value. Once we’ve hashed out these items, leverage social by following good potential companies and clients on Twitter and LinkedIn to identify a good time to reach out.

Read and share relevant content

I heard someone at a conference discussing building out content roadmaps for their teams to share, making them “seem” like thought leaders. This isn’t bad in and of itself, but you’re either a thought leader or you’re not. Read news and research relevant to your industry and share the insights on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Additionally, we need to read what our potential clients read and share it. Trying to sell to marketers? Read AdAge. Trying to sell to CIOs? Read CIO.com. The better we understand our potential buyers and their priorities, the better we can share information that adds value. This will help move our social persona from salesperson to thought leader.

Stay connected with people

Shocker right? I’ve heard multiple debates about whom to connect with on LinkedIn and when. In my experience, it’s best to connect with people you work with, people you’ve been in conversations or done business with, or people you’ve personally networked with. It’s an awesome way to stay up to date on former colleagues, people we’ve done business with and the like as we all grow in our careers. I will accept connection requests for people I don’t know if they seem legit but not a big fan of the old connect + pitch technique.

What’s the ROI of social selling?

One of the biggest questions we wrestle with around social selling is how to measure social metrics as it relates to sales. An initial measure was the SSI (social selling index) LinkedIn provided to rate someone based on personal profile/brand, relationships, sharing insights and finding the right people (on a scale of 1 to 100.) That’s a good potential indicator of activity, thats about it.

What isn’t social selling?

As mentioned at the beginning, social selling is just one of many tools we need to work into our overall sales strategy and isn’t a stand alone sales methodology. It should be treated as such. At this point, its one of the things we as sales people need to get to proverbial dance floor.

The last takeaway is simple — don’t be selfish. Social selling isn’t about connecting with everyone, its not about only sharing our company’s marketing content and its not about what everyone else can do for you. It’s about being a thought leader in your space, proactively adding value by sharing relevant insights, and developing yourself as a trusted advisor. Want to learn more? Check out my LinkedIn post on 4 Ways To Not Suck As A Salesperson.

Best,

Colin