What if the secret to more impactful, more effective social selling had nothing to do with communicating more frequently? It’s highly likely that, if you want to build on the success of social sellers’ current work, you need to look at what goes on behind the scenes – what they do when they’re not communicating externally. After all, sharing content and interacting with contacts is just one aspect of a social seller’s workflow. Here are four ways to up your game without actually saying anything on social media.
Social Listening and Sentiment Analysis
The things being said about your company on social media are essential insights for social selling teams, on both an individual and a collective basis. To take an example, let’s say a customer expresses unhappiness with a faulty product on social media; sales professionals need to know about this, so that they’re prepared to answer any direct questions from other clients or prospects. Meanwhile, sales management must be aware of the situation, in order to take the necessary action (synching with product and marketing teams, for example) to address the issue and ensure it doesn’t arise again.
On the flipside, sales teams should be tuning into positive sentiment that can be used to their advantage. What customers say on social media can help individuals to identify the most popular aspects of a given product or service; things they can highlight when prospecting. Good buzz should also be used to refine the resources being produced for social sellers. Working in coordination with marketing and customer service teams, sales departments can use positive feedback to guide the content that is designed specifically for sales enablement.
Any social seller, or indeed any sales team, taking action on social media without an awareness of competitor activity has a serious blind spot. When another company releases a new product, service or report, individual social sellers need to know about it, while as a team they must be clear on how they are going to respond. What’s the feature-by-feature comparison? Who has the edge in which areas? What can be learnt from what others are doing?
Again, this works both ways. When a competitor comes in for criticism, social sellers should learn from the mistakes of others. Perhaps their own offer, too, needs to be adjusted. Alternatively, maybe they are strong where competitors are weak; something that can be accentuated. Competitive analysis isn’t about sales teams trying to mirror the activity of others, it’s about having peripheral vision; being aware of the field in play so that their position is clear to both themselves and their audience.
Research and Content Curation
Social selling is as much about sharing content as it is about sourcing content. What’s more, sharing shouldn’t always be the ultimate objective. Content can serve as information for social sellers, who develop their awareness of industry activity, and as inspiration for upcoming content. Following the release of a report on the finance industry, for example, how can banks incorporate the data into their sales support material, and use the findings to support their product offer?
Conducting research is something social sellers should do on a regular basis in order to stay adrift of the latest trends, activity and developments, and make sure there are no gaps in their own knowledge.
Acting on Data
Metrics that are often considered the realm of marketers, but that are actually extremely relevant for sales teams, are the traffic, prospects and conversions generated by social selling activity. Which content is driving the most results, on which social channels? Who are the top social sellers in terms of engagement and leads generated?
Identifying this involves linking social selling activity to website analytics tools (such as Google Analytics) and CRM systems. This in turn enables sales teams to identify the content that resonates most with audiences, and allows individuals to optimize their activity based on the posts and messages that have outperformed others. Indeed, a combination of collective team data and individual performance metrics is essential to the success of any social selling program.
Time to Zip it?
Of course, social selling is largely about saying things; sharing and commenting on content, and engaging in conversation with audiences. By focusing on other areas, however, social sellers can make sure that when they do speak out, they are better prepared; that what they say is more pertinent, reflective of market sentiment, and in line with the company’s positioning on key issues.