I wrote in my last post about ways to gain executive buy-in for the integration of social media into a sound sales strategy. Rather than replace the tried and true, social tools can augment great sales efforts today. Used effectively they can also help your sales folks reduce sales cycle time by building relationships early and quickly through social communities. Yes, you can still attend in-person networking functions and you should – provided you are attending the right ones. Easy enough to burn hours of time that get you nowhere for the right events, much less attending the wrong ones. Instead invest some of your sales time each day to participate in online spaces, like LikedIn to connect, source business opportunities and prepare for your sales calls. Welcome to the world of social selling.
As I’ve observed companies considering how social media applies to them, I’ve also seen a tendency to want to short-cut the process. This is a big change and you need to prepare yourself up front for success. Asking and answering these types of questions should be the first step.
- Are your sales leaders prepared to adopt new sales communication approaches and tools?
- Will your current processes support a smooth integration to using new technologies?
- Have you established sales communication guidelines and social usage policies?
- What kind of training will your sales people need to make the shift?
- How will you hold people accountable to using new media as part of their sales day?
- Is your IT organization prepared to assist you in integrating the right social tools with your sales goals?
- Do you use customer data, survey’s and focus group feedback to update services, policies and processes on the fly?
- How well is your team “listening” to online conversations happening on the various social sites?
- How ready is your sales team to respond to negative commentary?
- What does your competition’s social media presence look like?
Don’t be seduced by the promise of number of followers = sales. Twitter isn’t for everyone and neither is Facebook for that matter. Think carefully about your strategy. It will make the difference between floundering around and achieving sales results.