The Experts: The Role of Social Media in the Sales Process

social media in the sales processAs digital continues to grow, it touches many aspects of a business, including the sales process. Because of this, we are continually trying to encompass new aspects of the sales process including digital media campaigns, specifically with the use of social media.

In this post, the experts give us insight into what the role of social media in the sales process, both in their organization and on the larger sales landscape.

Here’s what they had to say:

We use social media to research and contact prospects. We mainly use Linkedin to prospects second degree connections. We use Twitter to promote events and content but we are not as active as we should be.

– Paul St. Onge, Managing Director at hjc, @paulstonge 

Social media is a critical part of sales success, especially alongside other tools.  The challenge is ensuring that social activity is productive and helping you sell, not just socialize.  As with other elements of selling, it is important that sellers look at how their buyers use social, and ignore those where their buyers are not active.  On the other hand going into a sales situation without first leveraging LinkedIn, and other social site that allow one to not only understand the buyer, but their segment is just not professional.

It is also important to remember that there is buying going on beyond social.  Large parts of markets are not on social in any meaningful way.  In this sense, social will help you understand the trends and issues in a given market, but you will need to use traditional sources and resources to get to the prospect.

As well make sure you have a means of validating what you see on social.  Remember companies have specific resources to deal with social, and very much control the message.  What you may think is a post or tweet from an individual could be part of

– Tibor Shanto, Principle at Renbor Sales Solutions Inc@TiborShanto

Social media is an important piece of the selling puzzle, especially today, but it is does not replace other traditional selling strategies.  It should be used as one of the communication channels within a larger contact strategy.  For prospecting, it’s great to keep up with where people are and what they are talking about within relevant groups.  For educating your existing customers or late stage prospects it’s super easy way to share insights in your field.

– David Bloom, CEO & Founder of Lurniture, @sdavidbloom 

As a sales leader, you know that social selling is an important part of your team’s sales process. But how will you outline what social selling will look like? At Sales for Life, our sales team spend 30-60 minutes per day solely on social media. They integrates social into “EVERY DEAL, EVERY DAY,” a phrase coined by social selling leader Jill Rowley.

The daily social sales routine is comprised of 4 main components which can be represented by the acronym FEED, which stands for Find, Educate, Engage, and Develop:

– Find: In this step, you need to identify the “decision-makers, champions and influencers”  or “mobilizers” in your industry. There are three levels of people you need to find: the people, the corporations and the influencers.

E – Educate: Corporate Vision that 74% of deals are awarded to you, the sales professional, because you were the first to provide value and insight in the deals cycle. This step is all about providing value about a topic of interest to your prospect. Give them original content or share existing content, just ensure that it’s relevant and you remain top of mind.

E – Engage: This step is not about likes, comments, and shares. Those are vanity metrics. You need to start net new conversations or re engage or nurture existing conversations by leveraging social platforms.

D – Develop: To develop means not only to help buyers through their journey, but you also need a repeatable process in place that brings people back into your network. The ‘who’s viewing your profile’ is a great tool for letting you know who’s showing interest of engaging with your content.

For a more detailed insight into the elements of a successful Social Selling routine check out the ebook: Beyond LinkedIn which maps out the key elements of a successful Social Selling program.

– Jamie Shanks, CEO at Sales for Life@jamietshanks

Social media should be a major tool for the modern B2B sales person. They should be using it every day as part of prospecting and account management. The best network is LinkedIn. It is a great way to find and stay connected with people. The sales person can reach-out directly with a message if connected, through a group to a member, or with an inMail. Once connected regular updates with great 3rd party and company content helps to reinforce being a subject matter expert and helps them to be top of mind. I also find that Twitter can be a great tool, depending on your target customer. You can make connections and share content.

– Mark Elliott, Co-Founder at Venture Accelerator Partners, @markeelliott

How do you incorporate social media in your sales process? Are traditional sales practices a thing of the past? Let us know in the comments below.

If you can’t get enough of what our sales experts have to say, check out these posts: Sales Trends for 2016 and Biggest Challenges for Sales Professionals.

The Experts: The Role of Social Media in the Sales Process