Most business people know that social media is a great tool for building credibility and creating and maintaining a positive brand image. You know... Marketing. Unfortunately, most simply leave it at that. They don't take advantage of the power of social media as a sales tool. According to the Brevet Group;
“...less than half of frontline salespeople are using social media for prospecting, monitoring conversations, interacting with customers, or gathering intelligence.”
So the majority of salespeople don't realize how social media can help them to identify more qualified prospects, and more effectively engage them.
In the days before the internet, the buying process involved multiple meetings with sales reps, pouring over volumes of information, and trying to get feedback from a firm’s existing customers. In that environment, salespeople were an essential element of the overall sales process. Now, prospective buyers can find much of the information they need about a particular product or service by doing a Google search. In fact, 77 percent of B2B purchasers performed independent research before ever speaking with a salesperson.
The internet has drastically changed the buying process. If you join the minority that already uses social media as a sales tool (and it won't be a minority for long), you'll gain a distinct advantage over those who don't.
Here's how to get started:
There are over 284 million active users on Twitter and over 330 million members on LinkedIn. Maintaining an ongoing presence on these platforms enables you to not only build your own brand awareness, but gives you access to a virtually unlimited number of prospects, and the ability to become more intimately familiar with them.
This is where a lot of people fall short on social media. They fail to actively monitor their accounts. The thought is that it takes too much time. But you can actually monitor your social media presence in as little as ten minutes a day.
Setting up a Google alert is very simple. Simply enter a competitor's or prospect's name in the “create an alert about” box, select the desired options, and you can monitor the internet for content on virtually any competitor or prospect.
Joining LinkedIn groups that are specific to your industry is a great way to connect with professionals in your industry. But you can also join groups that are of interest to your ideal prospects. Of course, great care must be taken to bring real value to any group you join. You shouldn't join groups just to troll for prospects.
Whether you've seen them there or not, your customers and prospective customers are engaged on social media. With that in mind, you'd think that using social media as a sales tool would be sort of “old news”. But with so few salespeople using it as such, it's a golden opportunity for you to rise above the competition. But to do that, you have to start.