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Sales Excellence Begins with You

It’s Just Sales, Stupid

Gretchen DeKnikkerToday’s post is by Gretchen DeKnikker, cofounder and CMO of SocialPandas.

 

 

 


“Social selling” has become the buzzword in sales, and it has come with an onslaught of training on how to become a “social salesperson.” Really, sales is still sales. It’s still about listening. It’s still about uncovering a pain point and finding a solution. It’s still about relationships and connecting on a human level.  

In the not-so-distant past, a sales rep would walk into a prospect’s office and instantly profile the individual. From the display of family photos and diplomas to a mug bearing a sports team’s mascot, experienced reps would identify multiple points of connection in the first 30 seconds. They had an instant sense of who they were meeting and could use this insight to build the kind of rapport and credibility that repeatedly win deals.

Even with the ascent of new technologies, relationships remain the foundation for B2B sales. You may meet via Web conference or “ink” the deal with an electronic signature, but at the end of the day, people still buy from people. Yet most of today’s typical social-selling prescription advises sales reps to behave like marketers, publishing content and mining for buying signals in 140 characters or fewer.

SocialPandas, the ultimate wingman for sales,is a powerful tool that scours pervasive, publicly available social data, making it easy to quickly get to know your prospect.  Beyond just the static intelligence your predecessor gathered walking into an actual office, SocialPandas delivers timely, relevant insight into what is top of mind for prospects. Insight about the conferences they attend, their pursuits, such as cycling or chess, or their love of a certain brand of coffee can be used to build rapport throughout the sales cycle, because connecting in real life is truly social in sales.

For the past two years, we’ve observed our users incorporating social selling in many forms. Here are a few of our slightly contrarian best practice recommendations:

Put down the megaphone and strategize. If you blindly start broadcasting into the digital abyss because you read that customers complete 50 to 70 percent of their buying process before reaching a salesperson, then you’re probably going to invest a tremendous amount of time that yields disappointing results. Yes, the buyer journey is evolving, but social channels are not a magical lead-generation unicorn that will turn your desk phone into an ATM.

It’s OK to lurk. You don’t have to engage in Twitter streams and troll LinkedIn groups to enter the age of social. That’s not to say that reps shouldn’t gather that widely available insight.They absolutely can and must.When used effectively, social media opens up an entirely new source of intelligence for even nonsocial marketing mavens. 

Leverage social intelligence your way. The use of social channels comes naturally to some, and it didn’t happen overnight for those who have cracked the social-selling code. When reps choose to interact on social channels, some take a very personal approach with their prospects, while others keep it all business. It’s all about what works for you. Altering your style to incorporate social best-practices will come across as disingenuous. If you think Twitter is stupid or sharing content is marketing’s job, it’s OK to do it your way.

Sales has always been and will continue to be social. Follow the adage, “Keep calm and carry on,” and evolve in a way that works for you. Oh, and let SocialPandas deliver the social insight you need to win. Email beta@socialpandas.com to sign up for early access.

Read more about SocialPandas.

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