Social selling is leveraging social network to gather insights and connections and using those information to discover new opportunities, sell, and get business done. Sales rep can directly provide value and information to their prospects by answering questions and offering meaningful content until the prospect is ready to buy.
The goals that sales manager or Inside Sales manager institute for their sales team can be easily achieved when the whole team is engaged in building up brands, generating leads, and establishing loyalty among customers through engagement on social platforms. Social selling should always be considered as top level engagement activity to generate interest with prospects.
According to Forrester, LinkedIn is considered as a useful tool for B2B inside sales reps, as 74% of B2B decision makers use LinkedIn for business purposes, and 40% say LinkedIn is important for research and evaluation.
Still many sales rep make common mistakes while approaching customers on social platforms. It is for managers to guide their team members regarding social selling strategies and techniques, while avoiding mistakes.
Here is a list of few social selling mistakes which an Inside sales rep should avoid:
Adopting “Always Be Closing” Technique : Are you using social media for directly pitching to your target audience? Check your news feed and go through few months activity. You will realize that you are losing more customers rather than adding one to your fans and followers list. Sales rep always get confused while posting content on social media. They always fail to differentiate between the pitch for sales and the pitch for building engagements. Therefore they end up posting just hard selling contents like workshop announcement, suggestion to try a new demo or to buy a latest product. This is a major turn-off for the target audience. So limiting hard selling posts and taking a soft selling approach like sharing tips, posting relevant content and engaging audience on discussions can be of great help.
Incomplete and Unprofessional Profile: Your online presence might be the first impression that you make on your potential customers. Prospects always visit your social media profile especially LinkedIn,before taking any kind of buying decision. What if they visit your profile and don’t find relevant or sufficient information about you and your company? Have you ever thought about the consequences of trying to do social selling without an updated profile? Inconsistent branding sends out the wrong message to your audience, which may cause confusion and lead to mistrust of your company and brand. Remember the first thing that customers and prospects do when they meet you or take your call on the phone -they check out your social profile! So, make sure you deliver a good impression from the beginning by keeping your profile updated with a professional profile photo and description about your company and yourself.
Not Actively participating in Group discussions: Participating in group discussions should be considered as the core activity of social selling. Many sales rep fail to understand the meaning of sharing and liking content on social media. They keep on tweeting and liking stuffs that might not be professional at all which can hamper their social profile. Active participation of sales reps in group discussions on linkedin, quora and twitter can mutate a sales miner to a great thought leader. Group forums and discussions are the right place to find prospects. Inside sales rep can proactively participate in discussions or can start discussions related to their target audience and hence can build connect with them. They can also tweet, retweet and favourite meaningful contents on twitter. It is not only beneficial for the profile enhancement of sales reps but also helps in building building brand of the company that the rep belongs to.
Sharing Irrelevant or Spam Content: The majority of sales reps don’t share relevant content. Posting things like tips about health care, tips to save a life or anything of his own interest, on groups that are not relevant to the industry vertical which the sales rep is targeting, will spoil the image of rep in the market. This will inspire your connections to unfollow you and can also cause potential customers to unfollow your postings.
Preaching to the Choir : It is of no use for sales rep if all their connections are business friends or thought leaders. They might not be the audience you want to target. Sales rep should stop convincing people who are already convinced. A proactive due diligence about what your prospects are doing on LinkedIn and what groups they belong to, the Pulse news that they read could be of great help. You may be a great sales rep but you won’t find your prospects for your IT solution at groups not relevant to the industry such as “Young Inside Sales Reps” group or “business development” group. Pick and choose the right groups and people you connect with according to the keywords that apply to your industry.
Avoiding Active Listening: Active listening on social media also known as social media monitoring, is the process to identify and assess what is being said about a company, individual or a product on various social media platforms. Organizations lack behind when it comes to active listening for cries and help of customers on social media. Reps should be proactively commenting and listening to the issues or queries raised by customers on social media platforms. This will not only help them in providing seamless customer service but will also help them in earning prospects.
Sending Standard Linkedin request: It is an advice for inside sales reps to only link with people they know on social media. That’s generally a good rule, though there may be some very good reasons for trying to connect with someone they don’t know. People often get lots of invitations from people in industry they don’t know. So, avoiding a standard linkedin request is advisable in this case. A personalized message is good especially when you are trying to connect with someone you don’t know.
Please share other social selling mistakes which a Inside sales rep should avoid.