Social selling can cover everything from engagement, to sharing content, to building lead lists. But nobody has the time to do everything. It’s much better for BDMs to focus on posting and connecting, if they’re short on time.
Trying to do everything can lead less effective to social selling efforts and increased stress levels as they try to juggle too many things.
The Role Of BDMs In Social Selling
It’s the job of BDMs to have an inch-deep, mile-wide understanding of businesses. Unlike account managers, who go deep on one account and know everything about them, BDMs have a surface-level view of lots of accounts.
But you do need to know who the accounts are and know enough to open a conversation.
This understanding needs to be deep enough to position you as a trusted advisor to a company, who’ll see your content and think, ‘they get me, they get my business, I need to talk to them.’
Doing this requires positioning BDMs as thought leaders, which may include creating content like videos or blogs.
Ultimately, BDMs/MDMs need to stay on top of trends and insights. If you’re staying on top of trends and insights, your followers don’t need to go searching for answers – they just need to follow one person. Which makes their lives easier and deepens their connection with you.
Understanding Network Spread
An understanding of someone’s network spread is important because an effective BDM has a good spread around a lot of companies.
To find out your network spread, open up LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Filter it by first-degree connections, then look at who you’re connected to. Is it just internal people? Or is there a good spread of people?
The left-hand menu allows you to filter deeper. It will show you how many people work at the companies you’re connected to, which can help show your network spread. It won’t show all the companies, just the ones you have the most connections with.
Social Selling Index Criteria
Research by SAP has found that two parts of the SSI scores which are most significant for BDMs are the professional brand and building relationships.
Being seen as an expert in an industry attracts more leads and can help to build relationships.
It doesn’t mean BDMs should only focus on these two things, but that it’s worth putting the effort into these areas.
Becoming A Master Of Digital Networking
Optimising your profile to demonstrate your expertise is a big part of building a reputation as a thought leader.
Your profile should speak to your audience with the right keywords. When you speak someone’s language, it immediately creates a connection. Staying on top of trends, and sharing that relevant content with your audience, will further deepen the connection.
You also want to be constantly building your network. Invite and accept requests, and reach out to people via InMail.
If you’re not connecting now, the conversations won’t come further down the line. It’s all about opening the door and turning connections into conversations.
Building Your Digital Influence
It’s easy in social selling to get confused about everything you can do on LinkedIn.
There are three milestones you need to recognise:
- Finding companies and people, which you can do in LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
- Turning those into connections. This is your main goal. Once they’re in your LinkedIn network, they’ll keep seeing you sharing content and ideas.
- Open the conversation.
LinkedIn data shows that reps who focus on new business, and who exceed their quota, send an average of 148% more connection requests each month than their peers.
Questions To Consider
- Who’s your ideal customer? Would you go for 10 employees or lower? Would you go for 100+ employees with a substantial manufacturing capacity?
- Who do you want to connect with?
- Who within your company can connect you to them? Team Link can be your best path in, but if you can’t find anyone who can help with that…
- Who within your network can refer you?
- Are you growing your connections? This is one of the key indicators. Are you consistently building your network? Connections turn into conversations – if you’re not building connections, you won’t build your conversations pipeline.
- Are you regularly posting content?
- Who are your industry influencers?
Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator For Searches
Salespeople focused on new business, who exceed their quotas, perform 52% more people searches. That’s a big difference.
Using the advanced filters in Sales Navigator to focus your search can really help with these efforts. You can filter your search to focus on regions of interest, relevant industries, high growth accounts, and more.
For example, if you have an expensive product, you want to filter companies by size, because smaller companies won’t be able to afford it. The annual revenue filter isn’t very reliable, so be careful of that.
Filtering by location can also be beneficial if you only serve certain areas, such as Europe or the Americas.
You can also filter and sort by product department and headcount growth. The latter will help you to get an idea of if the company is growing. This can show you companies that may not be ready yet, but might be soon.
When you save a search, LinkedIn will send you an alert when new profiles which fit that criteria crop up.
The lead results tab allows you to search for people based on keywords. As part of that search, it will show when someone was last active. Ideally, you want someone who was active within the last thirty days, as then you know they’ll actually see your content.
B2B buyers are 5x more likely to engage when outreach is through a mutual connection. Team Link can really help with this, as a colleague can introduce you to someone you’d like to connect with.
If someone you work with knows one of the leads, Sales Navigator will show a box that says ‘[Name] could introduce you’.
If you don’t have a colleague who can introduce you, there may be someone else in your network who can.
Second degree connections show you all the people you know in your network who could connect you to that person. It will show you who the mutual connections are, so you can then decide who would be the best person to introduce you.
If that doesn’t work, you can do cold outreach. But, if you’re going to do that, you need to nurture first. Cold outreach should always be a last resort.
Sending Smart Links
Smart Links allow you to package content into one link to learn how buyers are engaging. You can create one in Sales Navigator, then send it to leads via InMail or referral.
A good Smart Link includes a combination of content types, such as: product sheets, white papers, thought leadership content, and collages of press activity.
When someone clicks on the link, it’ll open a window which tells the viewer that the person who created it will know about their activity on it.
Think of this as a door opener – if someone forwards the link around the company, you can see who else is interested. Which can help you identify the buying cycle before you’ve even spoken to anyone.
As a BDM/MDM, you should have one solid, go-to Smart Link you can lean on to open conversations. It should be ready to go whenever you need it.
As soon as you get that connection request, you can see if it’s the right time to send it, and if they engage, it means you can identify the buying cycle. If you can hand over an account with the buying cycle ready, that’s a really good position to be.
Connecting Via LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn groups are a fine art, but if you’re in business development, you need to be in them.
You’re 70% more likely to get an appointment with someone if you cite a common LinkedIn group. Even if you’re not active in the group, it shows that you and your lead have a common interest, which is a good start to a connection.
You can join up to 100 relevant groups. To find them, search in the top bar for an industry/ topic, then select groups.
Large groups with tens of thousands of members can be good because it means you’re more likely to have a group in common with someone within your topic of interest. However, the conversations don’t tend to be that good because of the size.
You can refine groups by keyword to find more niche groups, or get super focused by looking for groups based in a certain location.
Engaging With Relevant Influencers
49% of people rely on recommendations from influencers when making B2B purchase decisions.
So, if you can find an influencer in your industry/field and keep engaging, you can align yourself to them and make yourself more visible to those customers they’re influencing.
Make sure you’re engaging and connecting. You could share an article the influencer wrote, tag them in your post, or invite them to connect.
Customers you’re trying to get involved with will look at you and think, ‘Oh wow, this person talking to them, they’re tweeting their content, I didn’t know they were associated with them, I really value what they say.’ So it instantly builds trust.
Your association to people who are very influential within the market is important for opening doors.
Followerwonk’s free plan can help you find influencers on Twitter. You can search for people based on the keywords they use in their bio, locations, and more.
When searching through the results, look for social authority. Is it fairly high? If it is, it’s probably someone you want to follow and look up on LinkedIn.
Generating Content Ideas
Salespeople focused on new business, who exceed quota, make 39% more connections each month. This includes linking, commenting, researching, and quick interactions with your target prospect’s, or account’s, content. You don’t have to do as much engaging as a CAM would to stay front of mind for key accounts, but you should still be doing something.
Google Alerts is a free way to get ideas. It’ll send you an email notification each time certain keywords are mentioned.
If Google Alerts isn’t enough, you could use the same search string and put it into Google News.
You can then share this content to establish yourself as an expert, being one of the first people to share new stories when they break.
If prospects know you’re on top of industry trends, they won’t need to look for themselves – they’ll connect with you to get the latest and greatest information. This puts you in a position of expertise and credibility within your network, and will naturally attract a followership.
When it comes to engaging with content, make sure what you like, comment on, and share is relevant to your audience. LinkedIn shows everything you engage with to your audience, so if you like a post on daily sales stats, it could send the wrong message.
You can search for content on LinkedIn, and see all the latest articles you could engage with. It also allows you to filter that content based on when it was published, so that you know you’re sharing the most recent, relevant information.
Using InMails To Open A Conversation
89% say they’re more likely to consider products and services from sales reps who understand the business’s needs, role, and take a personalised approach (LinkedIn). You can show this by sharing new research or a relevant article; inviting someone to a webinar; asking for a referral to someone, or sharing a Smart Link you’ve created.
InMails are time-consuming and complicated, but they do work. Where most people go wrong is that they send lots of them without a very concentrated approach. They’re more effective when you’re focused and personalised.
InMails are also good for following up with connections after you’ve been to a trade show.
Getting Started Using The Coffee Cup Theory
It doesn’t have to take hours out of every day to get started with social selling. It could be as simple as:
Day 1 – Search and save 2-3 accounts. This will take about 10 minutes and give you a feel for using the search function.
Day 2 – Target engagement. This is all about maintaining your expert brand.
Day 3 – Create a Smart Link.
Day 4 – Engage with groups and influencers. Share content. Be valuable and helpful so that people know you get their industry.
Day 5 – Connect with others. Send 2 InMails/connection requests.
To see how well your posts are performing, go to your posts, then click on activity. See all of your latest shares.
Find a post, then click on the number of likes. It will show you the number of first degree connections who’ve liked your post.
If you keep scrolling, it will show you the second and third degree connections who’ve engaged with your content, too. This is a trigger – get them in your network! If they’re relevant, they’re likely to accept your connection request.