Those of us in sales have been living through a fascinating decade. Go back just a few years and you’d recognise there were two types of salespeople. Successful salespeople who generally weren’t afraid to make calls… and the “also-rans” who much preferred to rely on email to get the job done.
For years the common solution to underperforming sales teams was to have them spend less time emailing prospects and more time actually on the phone understanding a prospect’s problems and moving towards a close of the sale.
Then along came Social Media!
For a while it was resisted. Heads of Sales were anxious that social media could prove to be the modern day equivalent of email – what underperforming sales people would fall back on when they didn’t want to make a call. As a knee-jerk reaction this was totally understandable.
But then sales data started to tell a different story. More enlightened companies started to see their sales boosted and their closing rates improved by making more effective use of Social Media. Reports like the one produced by Jim Keenan showed that salespeople using social media for business were actually outperforming their peers – more likely to have exceeded their sales target, less likely to have missed their sales target, more likely to have hit Presidents’ Club.
Using Social Tools To Close More Sales
All of which brings us to the state of sales today. Many of the world’s largest professional services brands have now built significant practices showing large corporates just how to go about leveraging social media in their businesses and to propel their sales. As an individual sales professional, you owe it to yourself to start leaning on social media tools and using them to help you bust through your targets.
So for this month’s post, here are 3 tools you and your team can start using today to really make a difference in hitting this year’s sales targets!
Social Tool #1 – Nimble
One of the biggest challenges that social media presents is keeping tabs on all your interactions with potential clients. You have your phone conversations, your emails, your LinkedIn exchanges…. then add in tweets you’ve swapped or exchanges on Google+ or Facebook. Staying organised can be a nightmare, as can separating out the really hot prospects from all the other social “noise”.
That’s where Nimble comes in. You connect up your calendar, email, sales notes and all your social media accounts onto one dashboard. Then prioritise each contact according to how strong a lead they are – and therefore how much attention you want to pay to them. Every day Nimble will flag all the opportunities to interact with that are most business critical for you in terms of hitting your sales targets – and give you the means to forecast the business wins and likely sales revenues that will result from your various activities. There’s a free version you can use just to get a feel for Nimble – and thereafter it’s just $15 per month. Try it out and we think you’ll be amazed at the results.
Social Tool #2 – JustClip.it
So Nimble’s a great tool for you personally to organise your sales leads and stay organised (and indeed you can collaborate as a team too). But what about delegating the task of finding potential leads and sifting through all the social connections your company already has?
Well that’s where JustClip.it comes in. Connect your account up to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and you’ll find you have the ability to group social media profiles into categories. Not just your own contacts either, but any social media profile you find anywhere on the web…
… Want to delegate to someone on the team to look through all your company’s social media followers and identify potential leads? Well now they can do this – and tag the leads however you’d like. Tag according to who should follow-up with them or what product you think they’d have a need for. Whatever’s going to be most effective for your own sales team. Or perhaps you’d like to have someone on the team research potential client leads that you’re not connected with at present but want to work on engaging with in the future. You can create groups of targets too and the tool itself is currently free. Have a try and we’re sure you’ll immediately see the possibilities!
Social Tool #3 – BuzzSumo
Last but not least to try out is BuzzSumo. This isn’t a sales tool per se, but nonetheless can be invaluable for listening to your market, preparing for a sales meeting and uncovering the social media influencers in your niche.
Taking those in turn, the first thing you can do is find which content is being most widely shared for any topic of your choosing. If you want to stay abreast of the topics that are resonating with people in your industry, this can be an invaluable source of insight.
When it comes to preparing for sales meetings, you can do a number of neat things. Firstly, see what content from your client’s website has been being shared the most. This could give you some great insights into what they’re becoming known for or what they are prioritising in terms of their own marketing efforts. Secondly you can search for their company name (or their products) and see what the buzz is in the market about them ahead of your meeting. Thirdly you may also be able to find the individuals you are meeting and discover what content they’ve been sharing on social media, to get a feel for the topics that are likely to resonate with them. All invaluable information prior to your meeting!
Lastly – for longer term business development results – you can identify who are the most important influencers in your industry. Who has significant followings of your target prospects and a propensity to share other people’s updates? These are the individuals you might want to engage with to help build your reputation in the market and have your social updates seen be an ever larger audience of prospects and decision-makers.
What works for you?
So those are our 3 suggestions of tools you might want to try out in the coming weeks and months. But what about you? What other tools have helped you or your sales team to uncover opportunities or close deals more effectively? Please feel free to share in the comments…
About the Author
Robertson Sumner is a specialist IT sales recruitment company, supporting technology companies of all sizes to attract and retain successful sales teams. We work with sales candidates at all levels, from sales support to sales directors. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Facebook for the latest IT sales insights and tips or contact us on 01753 278000 to see how we could help you find your next sales role or employee.
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