Why LinkedIn is One of the Best Tools Out There for Social Selling

Why LinkedIn is One of the Best Tools Out There for Social Selling

We are truly in the digital age, and sales strategies have changed to reflect that. With over 360 million members, LinkedIn has become the go-to social network for companies when it comes to B2B sales. What used to be considered a site solely for job searching, LinkedIn is putting an end to traditional cold calling sales tactics and providing salespeople with a way to prospect for leads that is both efficient and far-reaching. The old way of thinking about prospecting is changing, and LinkedIn is leading the way. Guest Post by Lindsey Boggs, VP of Enterprise Sales and Social Selling at etailinsights. Before social selling and sites like LinkedIn, sales people were relegated to the “more calls equals more leads equals more sales” model. They had to reach out, either by phone or in person, to a huge number of potential buyers in order to generate leads, leads which may or may not turn into closed sales. That way of thinking is outdated, and LinkedIn is the major player in teaching sales teams to focus more on the quality, rather than the quantity, of leads. The following are some of the ways that LinkedIn helps you find the right leads to prospect, generates more sales, and makes sales teams successful. LinkedIn lets you target the ideal customers. About 45% of the people on LinkedIn are in upper management. They are the decision makers. You no longer have to make it past the gatekeepers to get to them; you can connect with them directly via InMail. LinkedIn allows you to get to know prospects before you reach out. There is plenty of information on a person’s profile,...
“Social Selling” is Redundant: Selling Has Always Been Social

“Social Selling” is Redundant: Selling Has Always Been Social

Since the first salesperson in history sold fire to a tribe of hunters in exchange for a rack of mammoth ribs [We cannot vouch for the historical accuracy of this image – Editor], sales has been a social endeavor. Chances are, said salesperson cashed that mammoth commission check by roasting it over the very fire that he sold. The salesperson brought fire to the party, the buyer put food on the table in exchange – apart from products and currencies, little has changed in the relationship over time. The Essence of Selling At its core, sales is about facilitating beneficial exchanges of value between businesses and their customers. Sales helps customers acquire useful products or services, and revenue secured from said customers benefits the business. In this way, a sales rep has been, and will always be, a resource both to an organization and to its customers. And the way in which a salesperson maintains this value exchange is also, inescapably, social. Salespeople must listen to the needs, pain points, and preferences of their buyers and respond accordingly. Salespeople must also find, reach out to, and build relationships with new buyers. From the first salesperson who noticed that mammoth meat was more enjoyable when cooked, and thus sold fire to the mammoth hunters [Again, the historical record is unclear on this point – The Editor], to the modern Best-in-Class sales organizations that are 48% more adept at mapping products and services to a buyer’s individual business challenges, sales has always been a social art. The Evolution of Selling As this social art has evolved to occur wherever human-to-human interactions occur (even...
Customer Engagement Has Evolved. Can Your Sales Team Keep Up?

Customer Engagement Has Evolved. Can Your Sales Team Keep Up?

Few market watchers today will deny that the revolution in customer empowerment is in full swing, and is rapidly spreading from consumer to business environments. In an age when a single tweet can bring down years of brand-building labor, how is a modern seller best provided with an opportunity to restore equilibrium to the buyer / seller dynamic? There is little doubt that the digital-era customer experience has changed everything we once knew about the trading of goods and services. Think about the generations-old experience of purchasing a car: before the mid-1990’s, the seller held all the power, and did a remarkable and frustrating job of confusing customers about the most elemental fact involved: the actual price of the vehicle. As Consumers Reports, Kelley Blue Book, Yelp and ultimately social media rose in popularity, the pendulum of knowledge and influence swung dramatically toward the buyer. Today, we mostly explore and price out cars online, and then sometimes drop by a dealership to handle the paperwork. Much as this democratic, user-generated content revolution has spelled trouble for the classic car salesman, so too are enterprise B2B sellers challenged by the well-documented “hidden sales cycle” that allows their prospects to do significant homework before facing off in a 1:1 conversation. With better-informed and savvier buyers, enterprises and their front-line reps need to re-think the sales information engine that drives continuous revenue. Strategy One: Establishing an Integrated Sales Data Path Fortunately, enterprise sales leaders and operational managers recognize this situation. New Aberdeen research published in The 21st Century Buying Experience: Say Farewell to the Sales Cycle highlights “customers are demanding better service...
Would You Buy from a 20th-Century Sales Rep?

Would You Buy from a 20th-Century Sales Rep?

Success in B2B selling is difficult enough. Given the hyper-competitive markets and highly educated buyers that make every closed deal a precious commodity, do we also want to shackle our front-line reps with yesterday’s sales technology tools too? Aberdeen’s Sales Effectiveness research presents a significant body of work, focused on empowering contemporary Sales Operations leaders with the tools they need to more effectively help their EVP’s of Worldwide Sales beat quota in every possible month, quarter, and year. While the findings will occasionally fail to ratify certain “nice-to-have” technology solutions, or reveal that the worst-performing companies more actively adopt certain poor practices, most of the research naturally supports the most popular and effective tools of the trade. This is not an accident, because the very rationale for conducting the research lies in determining which applications and professional services, as well as organizational core competencies, are associated with Best-in-Class performance. Such a crowd-sourcing model remains a very effective and objective methodology for sales leaders to quickly consume the lessons that their peers and competitors can teach them. A new Research Report also considers in its analysis the buyers themselves, who ultimately represent the reason sales technology investments are made in the first place. More specifically, will savvy, modern buyers resist purchasing from a rep utilizing 20th century tools? Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Early to Adopt Let’s face it: the moment the release date of the new iPhone, Xbox, tablet, or other consumer electronics goodie is announced, either we ourselves, or someone we know on Facebook, can hardly wait to get their hands on the new technology toy. While the...
Mastering the Art of the #ColdTweet

Mastering the Art of the #ColdTweet

Networking and events go hand in hand, but have you ever heard of the art of the #coldtweet? Probably not, since I just came up with the term. Think about it – when you meet someone and you’re prospecting, you cold call them, right? While prepping for the upcoming Oracle Eloqua Modern Marketing Experience #MME15, I had planned on connecting with some new folks. So why not drop them a tweet prior to leaving? There is something nice about reaching out over social media and admitting that while you have not met, are looking to connect all while doing it over a public forum! An Aberdeen research report published in 2012 by Peter Ostrow titled Collaborate, Listen, Contribute: How Best-in-Class Sales Teams Leverage Social Selling found that 70% of the Best-in-Class companies who use social selling have a process in place to identify social influencers. And in our case, it’s quick and dirty. Below are 4 tips on managing the art of the #ColdTweet: Prep work pays off. Before heading off to that networking event, or conference, spend a few minutes with your sales and marketing team to find out who they are talking to, or are having trouble getting a hold of. Think pre-schedule. Ensuring we have the right amount of retweets, @tweets, and original tweets in our twitter feeds can be a pain, but with programs like Buffer, TweetDeck and Hootsuite, you can pre-schedule tweets to have them flowing throughout the day. Think about using one of these programs to schedule your #coldtweets as well! #hashtag it. Most events and conferences have a hashtag, but in the rare case they...
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