Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact – indirectly – with their prospects, develop relationships with them, and provide value by offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.
These days, it’s rare for someone to seek out a salesperson when they want to buy. Some people actively avoid them. Offering a social selling approach appeals more to these quieter customers and is softer than more direct sales and marketing techniques.
Social selling helps you to become a thought leader on platforms like LinkedIn, helping you to improve customer relations and even reducing your CAC (Customer acquisition cost).
I am going to share a series of three blogs to get your Business Development Representatives (BDRs) & Business Development Managers (BDMs) ready for Social Selling.
Social Selling Ecosystem
The goal of social selling should be to become a thought leader, especially on LinkedIn. This will help you connect with your target customers.
There are several parts to the social selling ecosystem for BDRs and BDMs:
- Deliver social selling email/targets
- Verify team usage of Sales Navigator
- Track Social Selling projects in your CRM system
- Improve customer relationships
- Be recognised as a solution architect
- Vet new and existing customer locations
- Turn cold calls into warm calls
- Use Smart Links to share information
- Inject social selling into your content roadmap
- Deliver dedicated content assets (InMails, posts, templates)
- Develop a content plan to support industry experts
- Define events to be supported by Sales Navigator
Goal Of Social Selling
The goal of social selling is for you to become a thought leader or influencer within your industry. This means becoming an industry expert, creating content that shares your knowledge, experience, and insights with your followers. This will turn you into someone who can open doors for salespeople.
Ultimately, you want an inch-deep, mile-wide view of the market.
When building your profile, it’s important to focus on the quality of your connections. Quantity doesn’t matter if the people you’re connected with come from an unrelated market.
- Do your followers come from industries relevant to your products?
- Is there a range of roles that reflect the decision-making process?
- Is your network geographically appropriate?
Your Social Selling Index (SSI)
This is a great benchmark which can show you how well you’re doing, and which areas you need to improve on.
LinkedIn breaks it down into four areas:
- Establish your professional brand
- Find the right people
- Engage with insights
- Build relationships
To develop these areas, it’s all about growing, and engaging with, your network.
The more you raise your profile, the more views and connection requests you’ll get, and the more likely your connection requests are to be accepted.
Some things that will boost your SSI:
- Optimise your profile
- Demonstrate your experience with thought leadership content
- Build your network by sending and accepting connection requests
- What’s your ideal customer profile?
- Who do you want to connect with?
- Do you have a colleague who could connect you?
- Who within your network could refer you?
- Are your connections growing?
- Are you regularly posting content?
- Who are your industry influencers?
Establishing Your Professional Brand
Building your digital influence and credibility will help to grow the business. But how do you do that?
- Optimise your LinkedIn profile
- Drive thought leadership by joining groups
- Use Smart Links on Sales Navigator to curate and share content
- Proactively share content every week
Make sure your privacy settings are correct by clicking on your profile photo on the top right, then going to Settings & Privacy > Visibility.
If you’re cautious about accepting people in your network, you can select Connections and set the toggle to No.
We also recommend turning off sharing profile updates with your network when you’re editing your profile. You can do this by selecting No under Share Profile Updates with Your Network.
If you’re viewing the profiles of senior stakeholders and/or competitors, consider setting your profile viewing option to Anonymous. Otherwise, maintain an open profile. Some people may be interested in connecting with you after you’ve viewed their profile.
If you have Sales Navigator, you’ll still be able to see who’s viewed your profile – even if they’re in private mode.
Optimising Your Profile
LinkedIn profiles with a photo are 40% more likely to be viewed. So, start off by using a professional photo that looks like you. So no five-year-old holiday snaps where you have a different haircut and you’re holding a cocktail.
Create a visual impact on your profile by using a banner image that represents your market/industry.
Also, update your contact details. Include your work email address, tidy up your profile URL, and include contact information so that customers and contacts can easily get in touch with you.
When it comes to your summary, create one that’s customer centric. Focus on your expertise and background. This will build your credibility. Also, explain how you approach common issues in your field.
In your experience section, be specific. Include business-related keywords, the vision for your role, and how you support customers. You could link to the company website, add key event information, include public customer testimonials, link to the product website, or share blogs.
In the next blog, I’ll share some ways that BDRs/BDMs can boost their professional brand and establish social selling by being an active member of the LinkedIn community. Including some tips on: joining groups, sharing posts and publishing your own blogs.