If you missed our latest webinar, Sales is Social, don’t fret: it’s now available for you to watch at any time. LinkedIn’s Head of Marketing for Sales Solutions, Ralf VonSosen, and HootSuite’s Head of Enterprise Marketing, Ashley Jane Brookes, discussed how to make the most of LinkedIn for sales, prospecting and branding. They were joined by Ashley Hedge, a LinkedIn Sales Pro who shared her social media success stories.
Whether you’re a power user or new to the world’s largest professional network, there’s practical info in this webinar that you can apply right away to your LinkedIn strategy.
Sales is Social
As social media blurs the line between personal and work-related communication, sales professionals are seizing the opportunity to create meaningful relationships with customers. With over 175 million users, LinkedIn is a rich source of sales leads. But how do you access them? Learn directly from LinkedIn how to implement a scalable social media strategy for your salesforce, and get results.
In this webinar you’ll learn:
- Linkedin Best Practices: Build your personal brand to add credibility to the individual and to the company.
- How social media management allows you to look for new opportunities through marketing and as an individual
- How to create a meaningful one to one relationships.
- The change in the relationship between sales and marketing.
Answering Your Social Business Questions
Thanks to all who attended, and to those of you who asked your questions. We’ve included the most popular questions and their answers below. If you’re interested in continuing the conversation, please comment here, or join the conversation on Google+.
Q: Is there a difference in applying ‘Social Sales’ for either B2B environment or B2C?
A: Social selling principles hold true for either audience – they both need to find the right prospects, build trust, and leverage relationships to close business. They’re both looking to leverage a platform to build a professional network that helps them find and connect with prospects. The difference is consumers achieve this individually, while businesses do so as a team or company-wide.
Q: Please be sure to address the ‘purchase process’ where by people/companies buy goods and service. How do these two sides interact? Especially where the purchase side does NOT want a relationship.
A: A big benefit of social selling is the ability to explore multiple avenues when building relationships with prospects. Try not to be ‘single threaded’, meaning building relationships across teams and organizations, to influence the buying process, not just focusing on one person. This allows other stakeholders to influence your purchaser and they will become more likely to build a relationship with you.
Q: Rapport building is my main tool for generating sales. How can I achieve the same level of rapport building on LinkedIn that I do face to face?
A: Let’s be honest, face to face rapport is tough to replicate online. However, there are ways to build trust and credibility online, and to do it efficiently. Participating in groups that your prospect is in, for example, is a great way to establish yourself as credible and a thought leader in the space. You’ll also likely pick up on anecdotes from the prospect that will help you build rapport with them later when you send them a direct communication. Staying in touch with multiple groups and multiple conversations can feel daunting, but using HootSuite you can follow and respond to all groups from one simple dashboard, saving time and consolidating efforts.
Q: How do you handle cultural differences with social sales?
A: Part of social selling is getting to know your audience. Participate in their groups, read the articles they share and the comments they make – it will help you take the right approach.
Q: Is LinkedIn going to enable Tweeting from a Company Brand page?
A: Currently, there is no Tweeting enabled from company brand pages directly, however HootSuite allows you to broadcast messages across multiple networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ Pages. The advantage of using HootSuite for social selling is that you can easily reach and monitor all of your audiences from one centralized dashboard – on web or mobile – saving time logging in and out of individual sites.
Q: How do you see Klout fitting into the context of social selling?
Klout measures social influence across various networks, which is another good data point.
Q: How important is it to use Twitter to improve the social selling, from the LinkedIn point of view?
A: Twitter is another valuable channel to leverage in social selling. You’re able to get a sense for what LinkedIn calls ‘trigger events’ on both LinkedIn and Twitter – good reasons to reach out to a prospect such as a shared news article, new job, etc. When using the two together, set up streams within your HootSuite dashboard to follow each network side by side for instant visibility.
Q: If you do not have any kind of personal hook…is it ok to send an inMail?
A: It’s a good idea to always find some type of connection before reaching out – that’s what social selling is at its essence. Keep in mind it doesn’t need to be overly personal, it could be something as simple as noticing an article the prospect shared or a comment they made in a LinkedIn Group.
Q: What are the most common shortcomings among LI profiles?
A: It’s critical to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date, even when you aren’t looking for a job. It’s a reflection of you professionally, and if you’re using LinkedIn to prospect, they will surely check your profile before doing business with you. Make sure it’s accurate and tells a great story about the value you provide.
Q: How do you respond to negative social media comments – for example someone calling you out on spam. Say I put a blog post on a LinkedIn HR discussion, and somebody blasts that it’s an advertisement, which it really isn’t because it is in context and relevant and actually stimulates discussion.
A: While you can’t keep everyone happy, you touched on the right points – posting content that’s in context and relevant. The broader group will appreciate your blog post, even if there’s an occasional naysayer.
Q: How can I post in different groups at the same time?
A: HootSuite allows you to post to multiple groups at one time. That being said, in order to build authentic relationships, we recommend that you communicate within the confines of each group to keep the conversation engaging and genuine.
Is your sales team socially savvy? Learn more about how HootSuite Enterprise can help your sales force work together with customer service and marketing departments to generate leads and drive results. Visit hootsuite.com/enterprise to learn more.
Ready for more education? Dig into our Social Strategy section for more articles and free webinars like this one.