A 5-Step Guide to Social Data-Driven Sales

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A 5-Step Guide to Social Data-Driven Sales

There is a lot of buzz around social selling as the sales method of the future. I had a chance to attend the LinkedIn Sales Connect conference in San Francisco last week. Most of the people I spoke to there agree that having a social selling strategy is beneficial and advantageous to a successful sales organization, but what can you do now to enable your overall sales strategy? Fortunately, LinkedIn brought together a lot of smart people to discuss this with, in addition to a great lineup of speakers. Here are a few of my strategies around social selling that can add immediate and long term value.

1. Project your company and personal brand

LinkedIn is a great way to share insights about your experience, your company and your areas of interest. It’s important to reflect work history, but make your LinkedIn profile more than a job resume. What are some education, projects or volunteer experiences you've been involved with? What are you doing in your current job role to help your team and your company win? This is a great opportunity to give insights into your company’s culture and your personal values.

2. Read and share relevant content

I heard someone at the conference discussing building out content roadmaps for their teams to share, making them "seem" like thought leaders. This isn't bad in and of itself, but you’re either a thought leader or you're not. Read news and research relevant to your industry and share the insights on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. Additionally, read what your potential customers read and share it. Trying to sell to marketers? Read AdAge. Trying to sell to CIOs? Read CIO.com. The better you understand your potential buyers and their priorities, the better you can share information that adds value to their stream. This way, your social persona will move from salesperson to thought leader.

3. Connect with people you know

I've heard multiple debates about whom to connect with on LinkedIn and when. In my experience, it’s best to connect with people you work with, people you've been in conversations or done business with, or people you’ve personally networked with.

4. Use social to stay educated on potential buyers

Before you can do this effectively, it’s important to have a clear picture of what types of companies you sell to and which person within these companies is your ideal buyer. Additionally, what types of trigger events are a good reason to reach out? Perhaps an expanding sales force or an acquisition identify good opportunities for your business to add value. Once you've hashed out these items, leverage social by following good potential companies or buyers on Twitter and LinkedIn to identify a good time to reach out.

5. What’s the ROI of social selling?

One of the biggest questions we wrestled with at LinkedIn Sales Connect was how to measure social metrics as it relates to sales. An initial measure was the SSI (social selling index) LinkedIn provided to rate someone based on personal profile/brand, relationships, sharing insights and finding the right people (on a scale of 1 to 100.) That’s a good start, and you can build out reports leveraging your cloud CRM data (Salesforce, etc.) versus SSI by rep, to identify trends and correlation. To take it a step further, pull in social data (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc) as well as CRM data into an analytics platform like GoodData. You can incorporate social activities and SSI into your current sales analytics metrics like emails, calls, and meetings to get a more complete picture of its overall effect by rep, team and organization.

The last takeaway is simple--don't be selfish. Social selling isn't about connecting with everyone, its not about only sharing your company’s marketing content, and its not about what everyone else can do for you. It's about being a thought leader in your space, proactively adding value by sharing relevant insights, and developing yourself as a trusted advisor.

Written by GoodData Author  | 

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