I received this email and wanted to pass on some of the helpful hints and tips.

Social Media is a topic that can be overwhelming – at least for me! This is a tool and like all tools you need to find what works and makes the “best” sense for you and your company.

One area is sales and sales people and the question asked is, What is their role in this social media revolution?

It is a powerful tool for sales people. Rather than trying to connect with an entire market, sales people have a unique advantage to embrace social media to support their day-to-day selling activities. Sales people can embrace social media 3 ways:

1. Listen:
– Stay up to date! The first place that your customers go to find out about your company is the Web.
– Be aware of all activities happening in your industry: set up Google Alerts. You will receive a weekly email from Google with all the latest results for targeted searches you define. Add search phrases along with keywords related to your company, your products, your industry and your competitors. Think outside the box for different ways that your customers may search your product and company.
– Create same “setup searches” on Twitter and LinkedIn.
– Plug into the discussions happening in social media – ones that are relevant to your work. You can follow what is being said/key conversations your customers are having.
– Being “plugged in” allows you to stay on top of trends, learn and develop your position as a subject matter expert.

2. Network:
– Social media was made for networking.
– Understand how women and men use social media differently. Women tend to use Facebook, Myspace and other social media as a way of connecting and sharing ideas. It is a great way to have a blog or women share the benefits of your product/service. Men tend to be more content oriented. They are higher users of LinkedIn and Youtube.
– Be purposeful in your online networking process. The same rules of networking apply online as they do in real life.
– Build quality relationships based on trust and value. Be authentic to who you are and your work. Share and don’t sell. Adding each and every request/invitation is not networking – DISCERN.
– Make an effort to connect with people you want to know, and then work to understand them and bring them value. Help your contacts build their businesses, and they will reward you in kind.
– Connect and participate regularly. Trust takes time to build. Make an effort to login, engage and participate in your social media networking activities at least once a week.

3. Participate:
– At its highest level, social media is about participation.
– It is NOT your role to lead the charge – leave that to the Marketing team however you do have the opportunity to be active, vocal personalities in your organizations’ online communities.
– You are the subject matter experts: you can respond to questions, and share your wisdom on a strategic basis.
– Participating in social media allows the sales people to develop their personal brands while bringing value to online communities.
– NOTE – this is tricky – You must make sure that your organization is equipped and set up to have the sales teams participate in social media. COMES DOWN TO COMPENSATION AND MANAGEMENT:

* How will sales people be compensated for their online activities?
* What happens if they generate leads outside of their territories?
* Does management want their sales people involved in lead generation and community
development, or working with active prospects and customers in the sales process?

Each one of these has different levels of engagement. You start with listening and finding out what is going on via social media. Sales people do not need to be active however they must consider using this as a tool to stay “plugged in”. It is a great research tool – discover key contacts in an account that you are selling to, look for mutual connections; a person that can introduce you to one another, and find which social media platform is the best to reach out.

Sales people GET GOING – this is not going away! It is a great tool to assist in driving the sales process!

JUMP IN and then learn how to swim with ease and style.

Sandra

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