Social Sales and Social Selling ImageSocial Media has created a whole new way for us to have sales related conversations – and develop new Social Sales skills.

In the same way that the telephone and email provided additional ways for people to communicate years ago, so too the various Social Media networks are adding to the Social Sales options today.

This is new territory. New (or modified) skills are needed. And there are many new apps and tools to help us be more effective.

Business to Business selling is built on conversations.

People get to know, like and trust each other through two-way communication. Traditionally we’d visit the sales prospect and the conversation would develop, triggered by clues from their working environment. Or we’d meet them at a networking event or exhibition and strike up a conversation there. And these and others will continue.

Social Media networks increase the diversity of channels.

As well as meetings, phone calls and email, there are now the various Social Media networks where communication and conversations take place. This can create a huge challenge; to initiate and develop conversations, to work across the various channels, to see and participate in conversations with someone in various channels, and between various team members.

TEN tips to develop your Social Sales skills.

To use B2B Social Media like LinkedIn and Twitter takes a new or modified set of skills. These 10 tips will help you plan and develop them.

1. Choose the right social networks – go where your customers, prospects, partners and introducers are. For business the main four are LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

2. Use the right tools – initially you’ll treat each network as a separate entity, but fairly soon you’ll need a system that will unify all the channels – meetings, phone calls, email, social networks. With the right tools your use and benefit from social media will grow more rapidly.

3. Connect to the right people – finding your customers, prospects, contacts in social media is the starting point – using a tool that imports and merges your contacts from other systems and helps with you to discover and link their other profiles will build your network quickly.

4. Raise your profile in Social Media – make sure your expertise and the type of problems you solve and the benefits you help clients achieve are clear. Your profile and regular status updates, contributions to relevant group discussions, and similar will keep you visible for the right reasons. You want to be found by people who fit the profile of your ‘ideal prospect’.

5. Receive alerts to start conversations – when one of your contacts changes their job, or sends you a message via email or social media when they’ve found your profile or one on the many status or update messages you’re putting out, this gives you the idea opportunity to respond, and the quicker the better, to get a dialogue going.

6. Be able to sustain conversations – two-way dialogue based on short messages sent frequently can build relationships and create opportunities for you. But if your turn-around is a day or two rather than an hour or less you may be at a disadvantage. Set a turn-around cycle that you can keep to – check and respond three times a day maybe.

7. Capture interest into groups – as you gather information during these exchanges you may want to add that contact to one or more interest groups – maybe for their sector, a need, or a product or service you offer. This enables you to follow-up to people with similar interests at a later stage.

8. Record opportunities into a sales pipeline – the Social Media conversation may highlight that they have a need for a product or service you offer, and they meet your qualification criteria. So you want to record this as an opportunity in your sales pipeline – and count it as an ROI from Social Media.

9. Integrate online and off-line – you probably want to move sales related conversation out of social media and into email, phone and meetings. But you still want to build up the history in one place, and continue to monitor what the prospect is saying in social media, for additional signals.

10. Be able to work as a team – when there are several people in your business active in social media and lead generation, lead nurture, selling and delivery it is a real advantage to be able to see what other contacts and communications are taking place with your prospects and customers. Finding a way to do this will help your business considerably.

Nimble – the new Social Relationship Manager

To help you implement the Social Sales techniques outlined above the latest version of Nimble (V2.0) will tick each item on the list.

The following video is a short introduction outlining how Nimble overcomes the major barriers that get in the way of sales productivity and success.

For additional information visit the Nimble page on this Wurlwind website.

I hope this gives you at least one idea to take action on today or over the next week.

If you’d like to know more about Nimble, and be guide through an evaluation, selection and implementation process, take a look at our 3 step Support plan here.

Check out the 3 step Nimble support plan from Wurlwind