We all need to look for ways to increase ROI in all that we do, and our activity on LinkedIn, Social Media and Social Selling is no exception.
Social Media and Online Networks can be a huge time sink if activity is not planned and focused, reducing Sales Productivity and Social Selling benefits.
Consultants, Sales People and Business Owners like us need to achieve significant benefits through Social Selling to make the effort worthwhile.
However, there are compelling statistics that Social Selling works. One study found that the percentage of sales people achieving quota who use Social Selling was 79%, where the average was 43% and for those who didn’t use Social Selling it was just 15%. *
To increase ROI from Sales Productivity and Social Selling here are TEN strategies, techniques and tips to help us plan, manage and review our social sales time and social selling activities.
1. Goals – the Sales Productivity and Social Selling targets
Be clear what we want to achieve through social media, such as:
- To generate new business sales opportunities
- To send more visitors to your website and landing pages
- To keep in touch with current customers, to increase loyalty and sales
- To position yourself as an authority to strengthen my other selling activities
If possible set top-line numeric targets, and regularly check to see if you are on course, and what needs to be amended.
2. Identify different time slots that will suit Social Selling activity
Depending on your current work pattern, you might identify that you can allocate:
- 5 minutes between meetings – twice a day
- 25 minutes – daily
- 50 minutes – weekly
- 2-3 hours – say fortnightly or monthly
How much time you are able commit will depend on the results you want to achieve, and the trade-off.
3. Find a time of day that suits you – to be ‘social’
Choosing a time outside of your prime time, and that of your prospects and customers, is likely to be easier to stick to.
- First thing, lunchtime, late afternoon and early evening work well for me, plus occasional evenings and weekend time
- For bigger time blocks, pick a quieter time of the month, or a time out-of-hours
- For my longer daily session I find mid to late afternoon, or between 8-9pm after supper work for me.
Be disciplined. Diarise it as a meeting with yourself, and your social contacts. Then start on time, and finish on time.
4. Pre-schedule status updates that link to content on your website
Fundamental to achieving a return is to send good value to people regularly, and this is likely to come from your website or blog.
- Using Tweets and Status Updates to refer people to content on your blog will drive traffic and emphasise your brand
- Use Hootsuite or similar to schedule messages to your Twitter, LinkedIn and other networks ( if you’re there too)
- By using a scheduler you can do this as a block activity once a week.
Check the statistics once a week too, to see what has been achieve, and what was popular and worked well.
5. Create and publish your own content
Communicating your own message, as an individual or as a company, is pretty essential to enhance your profile as an expert.
- Focus on a specific audience, their pain and needs, how they might alleviate that pain, and a call-to-action
- Use a mind mapping tool to help you develop and structure your ideas
- Select a suitable format, or maybe more than one, such as a blog article, newsletter, PowerPoint, Info-graphic, e-book, video etc.
- You might choose to write an expert summary or opinion, a how-to piece, a review, a compilation, an interview. The options are many.
As this is a bigger task it might be something that you do on a monthly basis.
6. Curate and share other people’s content
There are a several advantages to finding and sharing other people’s material.
- It saves you time – it takes seconds or minutes to review and share something from someone else. Five of theirs to one of yours is a fair balance
- It wins you friends – giving credit to the author will usually mean they pay attention to you.
- Tip: If you want to connect with a person or a company (a prospect) then sharing something of theirs is a great way to get their attention
- It positions you as well connected – if you choose your circle of contacts well you gain some merit through association.
You might do this as a ReTweet, a Like of a piece on LinkedIn, or adding their slides and infographics to your LinkedIn profile or Blog article.
7. Do small Social Selling tasks in Tens or Dozens
There are many little tasks and activities associated with Social Selling. If done individually the time and effort involved with starting and finishing can make this very unproductive. For example, checking your Twitter stream for anything interesting every half hour, and checking back on discussions frequently, can be very wasteful. Checking twice a day or every 3 hours or daily will usually suffice.
- Endorse people on LinkedIn – LinkedIn makes this a little too easy – enabling people to endorse 4 people at a time for random skills, but you get the idea
- Find and follow a dozen companies – do a company search and scan down the list and click ones to follow and investigate later
- Create a Tag group in LinkedIn and add 12 contact – researching a dozen profiles in an hour is much more effective than looking singly. A Tag Group in LinkedIn helps group them
- Find a topical article and send a link to a dozen customers – as you read, or get alerted by Google Alerts, share via the LinkedIn Share, with a personal message, to each of a dozen customers. It reminds them of you, and may trigger a response
- Share a company piece such as a case study with a dozen prospects – if the article is on your website again it’s easy to share with the LinkedIn Browser Plug-in
- Go through the email alerts from LinkedIn notifying you of recent comments on discussions – and chip in to those where you can add to them, or like and connect with other contributors.
It can be more productive to do this with a Social CRM system such as Nimble. It’s easy to work through a list and see social comments from contact there, and decide what action to take.
8. Reply to people who contact you
People may be looking for your services, they may want your help to contact someone else, they may be offering value, and some will just be pitching their wares.
- It’s good practice to do this at least once a day. More than twice a day and it can become a distraction
- A quick note to say hello, or a reply to a comment, will show that there is a human behind your profile
People who genuinely message you on LinkedIn or Twitter create an ideal opportunity to respond, and develop that connection.
9. Check who visited and connected
When you’ve done the hard graft and people are now connecting and following you, these are people who are interested in what you do. Make the most of the opportunity to contact them.
- Check who has visited your LinkedIn profile on a daily basis. This is a good indication of how well you are being found
- See who they are connected with, and do an initial qualification of the contact
- Assess if they meet your profile as a potential customer
- Even if they are not obviously a potential customer it won’t harm to make contact
- Drop them an email to make contact in LinkedIn, if you can
- If they look promising it may be worth tracking them down outside of LinkedIn.
Have a scan down the list of who is now following you on Twitter. You might be surprised.
After the initial contact made above, diarise further follow-up, via social media, email, phone and so-on, to nurture or generate opportunities. Similarly, with existing customers or clients there may be follow-up opportunities triggered by LinkedIn. Or perhaps someone else in their organisation is giving off trigger event signals.
- A good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system will help you to manage follow-up in a systematic way.
- Developing and automating follow-up sequences can make the next stage even more productive, helping people to know, like and trust you.
Monitor and Refine your Social Selling Plan
Effective routines and better results from Sales Productivity and Social Selling are not immediate. However, with some focused prospecting activity, the results may be quicker than you think.
As you develop your network, share worthwhile and valuable content, be memorable and respond to contact and engagement opportunities, results will develop over time.
How we help to Increase ROI of LinkedIn and Social Selling
At Wurlwind we are developing a Structured Education and Training Programme to rapidly accelerate the results and benefits that Sales People and Business Owners achieve through LinkedIn.
Our objective for the accelerator programme is that people will generate
- 30 opportunities in
- 30 days in
- 30 minutes a day.
And therefore leave the bulk of your time for phone calls, follow-ups, meeting, proposals and more.
It will be delivered as a daily email specifying tasks to be completed that day, with back-up resources.
If you would like to be included in the pilot group please send an email through to Mark@Wurlwind.co.uk.
* Social Selling: Best-in-Class Targeting of the Right Message, at the Right Time, for the Right Person – Aberdeen Group 2012