I was asked this question by a sales leader this past week. He gave a bit more detail and said he had previously been in other sales roles where leadership felt social was something you do after hours or on your own time.
Sales leadership, in his previous role, only saw prospecting activities as making calls, sending emails or going to see prospects face-to-face. Well, we know a lot of f2f is not happening right now. So, let’s look at the efficacy of emails, phone calls and social media as tools for prospecting.
A few key statistics to motivate any sales leader to keep reading
A digital selling report from Johns Hopkins University and SAP found digital sellers were 90% more likely to meet or exceed quota AND they have an average deal size that was 300% larger than their non digital counterparts.
Digital Selling leaders create 45% more sales opportunities than their non digital selling peers.
⅔ of organizations have not yet created digital selling strategies or tools for their sales organization.
The success of cold calls to appointments is only 0.3% (3/10 of a percent!)
55% of buyers reported they research through their social networks.
Hopefully the data was able to capture your attention.
Here is my simple definition of prospecting I use that influences my view of digital for prospecting. Prospecting is activity designed to help us meet ideal customers that leads to a first conversation, with the goal of creating or discovering if a sales opportunity exists.
All business starts with a first conversation.
Our prospecting goal is to establish or create a first conversation. We can not serve a customer with whom we have never spoken. So, it all starts with the first conversation. This is why social is a much more efficient tool for prospecting than either the phone or emails. When all 3 are used, then your prospecting is on hyperspeed.
I am not an extreme social thinker.
I DON’T believe that email is dead.
I DON’T believe that cold calling is dead either.
I DO believe adding digital to your existing prospecting systems is necessary to effectively prospect with modern buyers.
Buyer Behavior Has Changed
We all know this. I won’t bother with the statistics here.
Buyers only want to talk with trusted advisors
Buyers want value and help considering their challenges
Buyers don’t need sales professionals for information alone
The 3 Digital Selling Activities for Success
1) Engage with Others
I will argue that engagement is the most important digital selling activity for all sales professionals and business leaders. The tendency for many is to believe that we don’t have the time to do it.
But, the value of engaging with ideal customers and specific, strategic prospective customers is more valuable than voice messages and flurries of emails that don’t get responses alone.
Engagement is an activity that helps sales professionals be seen and be known in their industry. When sales professionals publish content, it is good. But, it doesn’t mean enough people see it. When you engage with your connections, you are seen more by them and their contacts, increasing your exposure and perceived thought leadership.
When prospects are receiving information from a sales professional via email, calls and seeing them actively engaging with them on social media, they respond quicker and are more likely to agree to a first conversation. Why? Because buyers want to work with trusted advisors and industry influencers. The act of engagement does 2 very important things for a sales professional
First, it helps you be in your ideal customer’s line of sight. When you engage with them or with other social posts that they have also engaged, buyers will receive notifications from LinkedIn. The notification will include the sales professionals name, image and headline. Done frequently, sales professionals can quickly position themselves as a known or familiar person in the customers’ network. Familiarity increases responses and acceptance for first calls.
2) Publish Content
Thought leadership is developed through content online. Buyers want to engage with trusted advisors who help them with their challenges. They want to invest time with those who will help them understand their challenges better, and provide solutions to their problems so that they can make good decisions.
Buyers don’t want salespeople who just have “commission breath” and are just focused on their selfish goals and sales results. They want to work with someone who provides selfless value and provides genuine assistance.
To demonstrate thought leadership and provide valuable insights that capture prospective buyers’ attention, sales professionals must create, share and promote content daily. But, it’s not just any content.
Brochure-style content has been proven to be ineffective on social media. It has the lowest engagement rate and has the lowest click-through rates of all of the variations of social posting. Why? No one wants to read brochure materials that may or may not be perceived as beneficial to their situation. Buyers want real, meaningful content and insights that speak to their circumstances.
3) Grow Social Network
In order to make digital selling effective, sales professionals must consistently expand their digital network with strategic focus and consistent messaging. Whether your team is structured with an ABM model or geographic regional territories, sales professionals need to strategically and consistently send out connection requests to the right contacts and analyze invite messages that create the highest acceptance rates.
If a salesperson has a small online network or the incorrect contacts of prospective customers, their online activity can’t be effective and get results. To make online connections powerful, salespeople need to consistently expand their network with the right prospective customers, industry partners, industry influencers, and other champions that can help them meet new people, expand their reach and grow their influence.
How can sales professionals do this most easily?
Our FunnelAmplified solution is a daily activity management and reporting tool specifically for digital prospecting. It leads your sales team through these 3 key daily activities. It ensures consistency, captures data and gamifies activities for team competition.
FunnelAmplified captures all of the data surrounding social-based sales activities and automates the outcomes and analytics right into CRM records for you. FunnelAmplified makes it easy to manage daily activities and measure results to help ensure your sales team are using their time in the most effective sales activities that lead to more opportunities and more sales wins.