No matter what industry you work in, reaching potential customers can be a challenge. A recent Spiceworks study showed that on average IT buyers are being contacted 22 times per week by technology sales reps or marketers—13 times by email, five times by phone, two times through online forums or communities, once through social media, and once by physical mail.
All that noise makes it difficult to get your message heard. That’s why more sales teams are starting to incorporate social selling tactics into their strategy. According to a study by Sales for Life, 61 percent of organizations that are using social selling report that it had a positive impact on revenue growth.
But there is a right way and a wrong way to approach social selling. In a recent LinkedIn post, Carrie Simpson of Managed Sales Pros shared an extreme example of what not to do. As Carrie puts it, “Don’t be this guy.”
Social selling do’s and don’ts
To help you avoid being ‘that’ guy when it comes to social selling faux pas, here is a helpful guideline to help you use social media to sell the right way:
1. DON’T be creepy. Clearly, an important rule of social selling is knowing where to draw the line. There is a difference between connecting with a potential prospect on LinkedIn before an appointment or after meeting them at an event and messaging someone you don’t know (or their family members) on Facebook. Use your common sense, and think about how you’d feel if a sales rep reached out to you in the way. Learn the differences between social channels and the ways your prospective customers use each one. If you aren’t sure, try asking current customers about the ways they use social media and how they would be comfortable connecting with your team on social media.
2. DO your research. Social media can be an effective way to learn more about prospective customers, who to target at the organization, and what challenges they’re facing. Check out the company’s LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook pages to get insight on topics the organization cares about, how they currently engage with their customers, and what challenges their customers face. What you learn can help you successfully navigate the sales conversation. Another way to gain insight is using a social listening tool like HootSuite, Klout, or BuzzSumo. These can help you stay plugged into the topics businesses you want to reach are talking about in real time.
3. DON’T spam people. Just like you wouldn’t go to a party and just talk about yourself, you should avoid sounding like a sales pitch on social media. Yes, you want to share positive posts about your services, but if that’s all you do, people will tune you out. Instead, use the time you spend on social media to share your IT expertise and have real conversations. Join LinkedIn groups that will help you connect with prospective customers or your peers. These types of interactions will help you build relationships that could ultimately lead to more business down the road.
4. DO spend time building your network. If you want to sell more using social media, start building up your network. Connect with old colleagues, current customers, and other professionals that you’ve gotten to know in the area or in your industry. As your network grows, you’ll be able to connect with more people and discover prospective customers. If you find a business you think would be a good fit for our services, try asking someone in your social network for an introduction. You might be surprised by how much they are willing to help you out.
When it comes to social selling, always use your best judgement and try to think about how your customer will react. Social selling can be the next big thing for your MSP business—but using these do’s and don’ts can help you prevent a sales team member from becoming ‘that guy.’ Ultimately, you don’t want to be remembered as the business that crossed the line.