Are you into New Year’s resolutions? I like the idea of a reset and fresh start, but I’ve never been particularly good at January resolutions. What I do love is a bit of time and headspace to reflect on where I am and where I want to be next and then the fun bit…mapping out how to get there.
Remote Sales Is Here To Stay
In 2020, I’ve been lucky to work with a diverse group of salespeople across the globe of all business sizes who have at least one thing in common – their desire to adopt digital and remote sales through social media. Social Selling has been around for a while, the need for digital sales skills has been building and in 2020 – it became critical. The pandemic put the brakes on tradeshows, events and in-person meetings and evidence shows that its impact on virtual and remote sales is here to stay. A McKinsey study found that more than three quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions.
Remote selling is here for the long-term, with sellers rushing to learn new skills, and sales organisations seeing it as a sustainable way forward. – LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2020
While we don’t know what the world will look like in 2021, we do know that the effects of the pandemic will be long lasting and evidence shows remote selling is here to stay. Given that remote selling and social selling go hand in hand, what’s a salesperson to do?
Here’s 7 Resolutions For The Modern Social Seller:
1 – Update your social profiles. How often do you review and update your LinkedIn profile? Or your Twitter account? Or any other social platform that you use professionally? Take some time to review your profiles and make sure they’re optimized and up to date. For example, does your LinkedIn profile speak to the current needs of your customers? Does it have recent and relevant media in the featured section? And here’s an often overlooked one…just how recent is your profile picture?
2 – Do not connect and pitch. I repeat. Do not connect and pitch. Nothing can set off LinkedIn like a newly accepted connection request, followed immediately by a sales pitch. If I let you into my network, don’t jump in with the hard sell straightaway. Unless of course, your intention is for me to completely ignore you in the moment and in the future.
3 – Do your homework and personalize everything. There is an abundance of sales and marketing content. If you want to stand out, do your research and tailor your message. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an excellent tool to gather sales intelligence and learn about your target accounts and the individuals within them. Trust me, a bit of homework will go a long way. InMails, requests to connect, Smart Links, etc. everything can and should be personalized. By demonstrating that you understand the needs, goals, challenges and aspirations of your prospects, you’ll stand out – in a good way.
4 – Be consistently helpful. The bar is being raised in B2B sales as more products and purchases move towards self-serve. Sales people who seek to network while sharing their knowledge and expertise will continue to win. Think about the content you share on social media – are you commenting on the wider industry you’re in or are you purely plugging your product, services and brand. At Tribal, we advocate for a 50/50 content mix. Yes, share your products and services in a helpful manner, but be sure that you’re part of a bigger conversation too. Here’s a quote that sums up it up perfectly, “Buyers will build their sales networks so they have a trusted circle of sales consultants who are less focused on selling a product and more focused on helping them solve business critical problems.”
5 – Experiment with video and stories. LinkedIn Stories launched globally in 2020 to mixed reviews. Some said, “really?’ I encourage you to experiment with stories on the platform. This is the age of sharing and LinkedIn Stories are an opportunity to further build your personal brand; showing your whole self in the professional world is the new normal. Video is another ‘trend’ that is here to stay. In fact, 82% of sales teams reported that video was becoming more important to their organization according to a study conducted by Vidyard and Demand Metric. The same study also showed that social media, followed by sales prospecting/conversations, then email were where video is most frequently used by sales. If you’re not using video now, 2021 is your year.
6 – Measure the impact of your activity with data. You can easily view the reach and engagement of individual posts on LinkedIn and Twitter. Invest time in getting familiar with the analytics behind your profile and activity. LinkedIn’s SSI score is a free tool to measure your impact and identifies areas of improvement. Twitter offers free analytics too. No matter how you do it, be sure to measure your activity and refine it for continuous improvement.
7- Show the person behind the job title. Here’s the deal, people want to connect with people. So be yourself in your profiles and the content you share. Yes, there is line (that’s a different blog post) but show your personality and interests. If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that we all need and crave connection, so be you. If you want people to buy into you and trust you, you need to show them who you are. Interested in sport? Talk about it. Are you balancing parenting and work? Share it. Have a charity you’re passionate about? Let us know. We’re all much more than our jobs and we can only achieve true connection when we let down our guards a bit with each other.
I’m full of hope for 2021 and truthfully, I’m glad to see the back of 2020. No doubt, 2021 will throw us a few curveballs and we’ll need to navigate these, just as we’ve navigated the events of 2020. However, no matter what 2021 brings to us, one thing I feel certain of are these social selling resolutions. These are tried and true tips from experience working with hundreds of salespeople who are learning and adapting to B2B Sales in the next normal.