Over the last two weeks there has been alot of coverage around Social Media as a sales tool. Specifically, the buzz has been primarily about Social CRM Tools that sit on top of your existing CRM system to help your organization sell more effectively. Recent articles on SearchCRM discussing Social Sales, and Xerox's announcement on how they plan to utilize Social Media has clearly illustrated that the Enterprise now sees value in Social Selling.
But what really is Social Selling? As I put it to a collegue the other day, it is first a strategy! It is not a tool or technology. In fact, the tools and technology out there today really force the strategy of Social Selling. Service Push's Social CRM Suite of tools enable that strategy. So here are the 5 Key steps in Social Selling that you may want to employ with your next lead that you may find on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. These are steps any sales person should take to effectively sell using social techniques.
#1 - Monitor Conversations Related to Your Brand, Service, or Topic.
#2 - Add value to those conversations and get support and/or provide assistance to those who inquiring about your products or services.
#3 - Become active in the community by posting or adding valuable content to your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn Networks
#4 - Follow, Connect, and Link with your Leads across these social networks as long as they follow you or have been familiar with your Social Conversations online.
#5 - Continually work the relationship and begin to have sales discussions.
If your a sales person who wants to skip steps 1 - 3, then you will fail at Social Selling. Many folks online will not take a sales pitch over the web without seeing value in what you are doing within the community. The benefits of this strategy is that it forces Salespeople to manage the relationships better while also ensuring that they are upto speed on trends, and conversations within their industry. The challenges with this will likely be in the Sales' persons success to keep up with adding value to the Online Communities through tweets, and blog posts while also serving as a Customer Support liaison on product or service related issues. However, when this is effectively done with the right resources and support - you will see customers convert to your product.
What are some of your steps in managing a successful Social Sales?