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Blog social content marketing Social Selling

Why Do B2B Sellers Need to Share Content on Social Media?

One of the questions salespeople might be asking is this: Why do I need to bother with posting and sharing content on social media? Isn’t that the marketing team’s job?

Traditionally, that makes sense. However, modern selling is changing the landscape of prospecting and closing deals.

B2B sellers have to be on social media platforms to connect with their existing customers, build relationships with new people, and establish themselves as authoritative players in their industry. 

Regularly sharing relevant content can help them build and maintain rapport with their existing and potential customers and improve their company’s reputation and brand awareness.

Who Needs to Share Social Media Content?

If you have a role in sales enablement, SDR, business operations, VP of sales, or other positions similar to these, you have to share content regularly.

This is especially important if you’re in the B2B sales industry. 

LinkedIn and Twitter are two of the essential social platforms for reaching out to prospects and maintaining relationships.

Here’s our COO, Amar Sheth, on why sharing content online is an absolute necessity as a B2B seller:

Why Do You – a Seller – Need to Share Content?

67% of B2B buyers are now visiting LinkedIn profiles

If you aren’t doing it yet, you are likely missing out on opportunities for sales and networking.

By sharing the right type of content and interacting with your audience consistently, you not only craft better awareness for your sales team or company—you are also keeping yourself open whenever new opportunities arise.

Did you know that the “Activity” tab is the fifth most checked-out portion on your LinkedIn profile?

This is the section where you can see what posts you’ve been sharing. It’s better to see that section filled with relevant content than not.

Different types of content can help you resonate with your target audience. Doing social media content work can help you, in the short term, get more clicks to your website, increase brand awareness, and grow your immediate network. And in the long run, it can lead to more sales conversations, deals closed, and the growth of your sales pipeline. You need to keep in mind these reasons whenever you perform social media sharing tasks (looking for content, sharing the content, and scheduling future content).

82% of buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from a winning vendor.

Forrester

95% of buyers chose vendors that provided content that helped guide them through every stage of their buying process.

Demand Gen Report

In addition to opening up opportunities for pipeline growth, there is also the obvious benefit of converting your content to actual sales. Buyers are more likely to purchase from trustworthy and reliable vendors and have established authority in their industry.

What Content Should You Share?

So you’re convinced that sharing content on social media is essential for your sales process. The next thing you need to figure out is which types of content you’re going to share. 

It’s generally accepted and commonly done for salespeople to share third-party content.

This reflects content – and information – that you as an individual find interesting. It should also, of course, be relevant to your field and industry. This type of content is something that you should actively seek out and share regularly.

Marketing teams follow a general 80-20 rule in content sharing. This means they share 80% third-party content and 20% promotional or company content. In B2B, however, these ratios can differ depending on how much high-level educational or professional content your company produces.

Sellers, in particular, need to be vigilant about sharing data, products, and even sales pitches. What you need to do instead is to provide content from outside sources regularly. This gives your audiences and target market an idea that you are a hub of information and knowledge and that they can trust you as an authority in your field.

In addition to this, you can list the sources of content where you can get your daily social media shares. Gather the publications and other sources that are relevant to your industry. You can even ask customers directly (i.e., What publications do you read to stay up-to-date for your role and/or industry?).

Your sales team can also work together with your marketing team. Ask the people in charge of marketing and social media for sources and content that you can share on your LinkedIn pages. These people are expected to keep themselves updated with the latest in your industry, so they will be a valuable resource for you.

Sharing relevant curated content lets your audience know that you take time each day to keep up-to-date with news and trends in your industry. It shows you’re looking for the best ways to offer added value to them without a sales agenda each time.

The Takeaway

Almost any sales enablement team will succeed if they make content the foundation of their social selling practices. Having relevant and useful customer-facing content can establish the seller’s authority and improve the level of relationships between them and their customers.

Keep in mind that while content matters, having the correct type of content (in context) matters more. When planning out your sales process, remember that customer-facing content that becomes part of the customer journey can be the secret to success, especially in such a dynamic buyer-driven environment.

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Blog LinkedIn Social Selling

LinkedIn for Sales: 4 Tips to Build Your LinkedIn Network

Modern problems require modern solutions. If we’ve learned anything from the past year, many professionals, especially salespeople, are pondering how to increase their LinkedIn connections and whether they are doing everything they can to improve their profile.

The fact is, LinkedIn can help you attract new business prospects, keep you in front of existing clients and vendors, generate more introductions and referrals, receive invitations to speak at events or conferences, among other things.

But having a savvy LinkedIn network doesn’t just occur naturally. Despite LinkedIn’s best efforts to assist you in developing a smart network, you must still do your part to generate relevant and meaningful relationships.

Here are 4 tips on how to build your LinkedIn Network:

1. Treat LinkedIn as a Primary Channel to Gain Connection

Many salespeople today regard LinkedIn as a mere secondary tool for business growth and sales efforts. That is simply not a good idea.

You don’t want to wait to speak with someone on the phone or send them an email before connecting with them on LinkedIn. Instead, you must begin considering LinkedIn as a primary channel through which you want to make connections and build confidence before returning to the phone and email.

You’re effectively spreading your sphere of influence by engaging with folks on LinkedIn. When you connect with additional individuals on LinkedIn, particularly those with whom you’d like to conduct business in the future or with whom you already do business, you’re slowly but steadily influencing them by sharing your ideas, insights, and education.

The whole point of trying to expand your LinkedIn network is to share your ideas on a broader scale.

And that’s something that current salespeople have never had before. You can certainly achieve that level of scale via social media sites.

2. Set a Target for the Expansion of your LinkedIn Connections

In addition, modern salespeople should consider how many LinkedIn connections are reasonable and how many they should have.

According to LinkedIn data, the average salesperson still only keeps one to three contacts in a single account.

This needs to change.

The fact is, to make the most of an account, you’ll need an average of eight individuals or relationships because that’s the number of people who are currently actively contributing to a buying decision.

In today’s world, a purchase decision is made by an average of eight persons.

You don’t have to get them all right away. But set a goal and a deadline for yourself. For example, let’s assume you set a goal of connecting with or sending at least three connection requests on LinkedIn every day, and you give yourself one quarter, maybe two quarters, to achieve that objective.

More contacts or stakeholder connections in an account boost your prospects of renewals and expanding business because the more contacts you have, the more sales interactions you’ll get.

But you must go out there and find people in all of the major accounts, connect with them, and start having discussions with them carefully and with intention. Do that, and establish a goal of increasing your network size with critical people in accounts by at least three people every single day. If you do that, your renewals will appreciate you.

3. Customize your LinkedIn Connection Message

Now that we’ve demonstrated the need to build your network consistently, we must consider connecting with people on LinkedIn effectively. For example, how can you persuade them to approve your request for a connection?

Never send someone a blind connection request.

On LinkedIn, you may just click the connect icon and send a request to anyone. Unfortunately, most people who receive connection requests like that on the site will simply ignore you.

Sending customized messages is what you should do instead. There are two rules that you should follow when creating those messages.

  1. Give Them a Good Reason to Connect
    Offer to learn from that individual. Don’t just say you’d want to connect with them for this or that reason and then proceed to your sales pitch. Instead, mention that you’re hoping to interact with industry thought leaders so you may learn more from them and expand your skillset. Find your own words—no need to be too fancy.
  2. Offer Them Value in Exchange
    Second, keep your message humble. Offering to be a resource for them is a terrific way to do this. When you message someone, they’re giving up something like their privacy or inbox space by engaging with you. As a result, offer to be a resource for them in exchange. Let them know that you, too, have unique information and specific knowledge that they can tap into and that you’re willing to offer it.

Your chances of connecting with more individuals on LinkedIn will naturally increase as a result of these strategies. And whether you want to connect with CEOs, critical people who are managers or directors, or anyone in between, this is a great approach to expand your LinkedIn network.

4. Take Advantage of the “Executive Network Effect”

Finally, make it possible for salespeople in your company to connect with you and make your profile and network visible to them.

Allow your team to assess who in your network is worth meeting for them to utilize you and an introduction from you to go out and start a sales conversation.

This phenomenon is called the Executive Network Effect. Every organization that does it sees an immediate rise in sales opportunities, and they do it regularly as part of their strategy of identifying future opportunities and prioritizing them.

Interested in learning more tips on how to use LinkedIn for Social Selling? Read The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling now.

These simple steps will help you expand your network on LinkedIn. They do not only increase the likelihood that a contact will do business with you, but an expansive network will also allow other industry insiders to see your profile and consider you as a business connection.

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Account Based Sales Development Blog Sales Play

The 5 Sales Plays Every Account-Based Seller Should Know

Different customers consume content in different ways. Some prefer videos, some prefer infographics, while some prefer well-written copy. And that’s why there’s no singular magic bullet-type of messaging that will have the same effect on all your customers.

The best sales processes use several stories and touch points for each account. These are designed using storyboards, taking into consideration various messaging themes, data points, and engagement mediums.

At Sales for Life, we recommend developing multiple storyboards for your account engagements, or sales plays. By applying a variety of themes, styles, engagement strategies, you’ll have more chances of providing value to your customers during the activation cycle.

Here are five sales plays you can try:

1. The Sphere of Influence connection

The Sphere of Influence is a process we use to determine social proximity.

It starts by identifying existing customers and advocates, thinking outwards from inside of your customer base to map the companies and people that have the highest social proximity to your best success stories. These people or companies could be past employees of your customers, former colleagues, vendors, partners, fellow alumni, or other key social connections to your best advocates.

A high social proximity implies a stronger relationship, increasing a seller’s chances of winning the account.

Deploying the Sphere of Influence Connection sales play accomplishes two things:

  1. It humanizes the seller and
  2. It demonstrates the high social proximity that you and the customer share.

It gives the illusion of familiarity, decreasing the prospect’s apprehension of an unsolicited engagement.

2. Stack-Ranking the Account Against its Peers

This sales play pits the account against its competitors to objectively highlight the target account’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats.

One example of this is Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, which rates several vendors based on their completeness of vision and their ability to execute. A vendor’s score will determine its placement in one of four quadrants: Leaders, Visionaries, Niche Players, and Challengers.

Leaders have the highest total score for both completeness of vision and ability to execute, and they often dominate the market. Challengers have strong products and sizable market share, but they still lack the influence that Leaders possess.

Visionaries deliver innovative products, but haven’t quite captured the market yet or exhibited sustainable profitability. Niche Players are usually focused on specific verticals or markets, or are in the process of developing new or existing products for a new market. 

By ranking an account against its competition, it will have a better idea of its current performance, as well as a clearer view of areas they should improve on.

3. Applying Market Intelligence and Trends

In this sales play, the seller assumes an advisory role to strengthen their relationship with the customer.

By providing industry secrets and relevant business advice, the seller becomes a trusted source of reliable, useful information.

4. Envision Success

One way to sway a customer’s decision is to help them visualize how successful they could be if they were to become your client.

Show them the results they can get in a quarter, in half a year, and one year later. You can accomplish this via case studies, white papers, and trial programs. 

Think about how Dorothy was persuaded to go to Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. She saw herself in Emerald City, and she got a glimpse of the flying monkeys and talking trees she would eventually see. By doing the same thing for your customer, you can reduce their apprehension over purchasing.

5. Focus on the People Instead of on the Account

Sometimes, even the best sellers forget that they’re not selling to companies, but to people—human beings with feelings and needs.

Always remember that you’re trying to win over accounts by winning the people within it.

Instead of focusing on account-centric messaging, think about how your product can benefit your prospect in their role. How can you help them, and what value can you offer?

Keep in mind that sincerity goes a long way. By exhibiting a genuine desire to help your prospects, you can create customers for life.

Read The Essentials of Account-Based Sales to learn more about what an account-based sales strategy can do for your business. 

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Blog

How to Clean Dead Leads in Your Sales Pipeline

We can’t emphasize enough how crucial it is for sales leaders to know how to make the most of their sales pipeline.

It’s the lifeblood of your business: A healthy pipeline with a steady flow of prospects exponentially increases the likelihood that you’ll meet your quota. 

Top-performing sales teams manage their sales pipelines religiously. They make incremental improvements to their bottom line by regularly reviewing their entire sales process. They know that their customers and processes are ever-evolving, and constantly tweak, adjust, and test their methods to see what works best for a certain client  or a specific scenario. 

Take a page from their book and power up your team’s sales process with these sales pipeline review tips.

Look for prospects who have been in your sales pipeline longer than your average sales cycle.

Letting go may be difficult at times, especially if your sellers have already invested a lot of time and resources to cultivate unresponsive leads. However, in this situation, it’s not only necessary but also healthy.

This holds especially true for dead leads, which could be identified by these characteristics:

  • They cannot be contacted
  • They have clearly stated their disinterest
  • They already have or use a similar product or service
  • They cannot afford your product
  • They are resisting your team’s efforts to steer them onto the next stage of your pipeline

Think of your sales pipeline as a plant that needs pruning in order to properly grow. Your sellers should learn how to identify leads that need more nurturing and quickly decide on the best course of action: whether to let go or to nurture more. They should strongly consider dropping an unresponsive lead—even if they have already invested a large amount of time, effort, and resources to cultivate it—so they could channel their energy and effort into more promising opportunities

Send follow-up messages.

Sellers need to work harder to help buyers make the right decision about a product or service. However, 44 percent of sales professionals say they would give up after receiving just one “no” from a customer.

What they fail to realize is that in sales, tenacity is the key.

“If you want to get people out of the ‘dead zone,’ you have to get into the mindset of the customer and start giving,” says our CEO Jamie Shanks.

“Provide them with competitive intelligence reports, market best practices, upcoming pitfalls, challenges, roadmaps of what it’s like to be in the first hundred days of success. That’s the type of information you need to be focusing your energy on.”

Aim for a balance of consistency, tact, and sensitivity when following up. Be mindful of how often you’re reaching out and how you’re doing so.

Know when it’s a lost cause: If you’re not getting any engagement, walk away respectfully.

Ensure that your data is always accurate and updated

Your sales pipeline should be able to give you an overall view of your business at a glance.

Each day, new leads are added, customers move from stage to stage, deals are closed, and unresponsive leads are taken out—and your sales pipeline should accurately reflect these changes.

Keeping your pipeline regularly updated can be time-consuming, but it’s necessary. Otherwise, your sales pipeline could easily spiral into an disorganized, outdated mess. This could have several repercussions, ranging from inaccurate reporting and team inefficiencies to lost sales.

Your sellers should monitor your key sales pipeline metrics and set aside some time to review them on a regular basis.

These include the average deal size, the deal close rate, and the sales velocity. These metrics function as benchmarks, and help in predicting future sales trends. Since numbers can’t lie, an accurate, updated matrix can tell you the real status of your sales in a snap.

Found our guide helpful? Discover more about Sales Pipeline Creation.
Better yet, get in touch with us to learn more pipeline creation advice.

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Account Based Sales Development Blog

Why You Should Implement an Account-Based Sales Strategy

When you hear the word “prospecting,” the traditional method of reaching out, one by one, to a long list of people in various roles and organizations comes to mind. And while the contact-based sales approach has been proven to produce results, there is a way to reach your best potential customers in a more efficient manner.

By adopting an account-based sales approach, you can precisely target the customers who can most likely contribute to your business’ growth.

Instead of messaging dozens of people from different industries, you’ll be focusing on just your best accounts, growing them in a strategic manner.

Here’s how an account-based sales approach can benefit your revenue team.  

1. More efficient qualification

In account-based sales, it’s crucial to qualify leads as early as possible.

Proper lead qualification saves your sales team’s time, effort, and ultimately, bottom line. It’s a process that’s honed over time, allowing you and your sellers to efficiently determine if an opportunity is ripe for your taking.

And the faster you can disqualify leads that are no good, the faster you can move on to the next account that could use your product. 

2. Better targeting

Creating an ideal customer profile is a crucial step in account-based sales.

This step ensures that all your resources are focused on acquiring the right type of customers for your business.

“Inbound lead flow, many times, has a natural diminishing rate of return. So you can only pour so much money into that cost of customer acquisition and inbound until it becomes no longer efficient because the type of leads that start coming in are not targeted enough to be able to achieve the very specific growth patterns that you need”

“By being very strategic about your growth, you don’t have to rely on the assumption that your inbound lead flow will be enough to achieve the growth you want.”

Jamie Shanks, CEO of Sales for Life

3. Higher and more predictable revenue

Account-based selling is the better option for large deals since you’ll only be focusing on the verticals with the greatest need for your product, and are therefore more likely to purchase. You’ll get better results with less wasted resources.

Another benefit of account-based sales is better revenue forecasting.

Since you’re only focusing on one enterprise, you’ll have a good idea of the average value of a potential deal. Predicting your revenue is easier when you can determine beforehand the pipeline value of a deal before even initiating contact with an account.

4. Better Engagement

Since you already have a good picture of the kind of customers you’re talking to, aligning with the marketing team should become a smoother process.

When everyone in your team agrees upon your messaging strategy, it’s easier to create content that will resonate with your customers, allowing them to see your product’s value faster.

The result: better engagement rates and, with proper execution, shorter sales cycles.

Read The Essentials of Account-Based Sales to learn more about what an account-based sales strategy can do for your business. 

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Blog pipeline development sales pipeline

Here’s What Happens When You Have a Weak Sales Pipeline

No sales team is perfect. Teams are composed of human beings, after all, and human beings make mistakes. That’s how people learn: By slipping up, acknowledging the wrongdoing, and not committing the same error again.

The last part is crucial, especially in sales, where even seemingly small mistakes should be fixed before they negatively impact the creation of sales pipeline—something a lot of organizations already struggle with.

“There’s so much effort and time that’s invested in the tweaking of sales pipeline management, but there’s not enough attention given to the main problem, which is how can we create sales pipeline in the first place.

How can we create it in a way that is standardized, prescriptive, and therefore, predictable?”

Amar Sheth, COO of Sales for Life

Below are some of the most common repercussions of a weak sales pipeline:

1. Working with too few opportunities in a pipeline

Closing a deal in the B2B landscape can take up to several months. With so many decision-makers and touchpoints, it is logical to expect slow progress in most accounts.

However, this only calls for more lead generation efforts. Working with too few opportunities in a pipeline will definitely have negative effects on an organization’s annual revenue.

“That’s the number one issue in sales pipeline,” says Sheth. “You can’t manage people if you don’t have people to manage.”

2. A stream of poor leads

This will result in fewer sales, thus taking a big chunk of the annual revenue of an organization. If your leads are always subpar, try reviewing your ICP to ensure that you’re targeting the right customers.

Check if you really understand your ideal customer profile criteria. How well have you defined and understood them, and is marketing and sales crystal clear on what that looks like?

3. The gatekeeper problem

It’s essential to work out who the decision makers are for every prospective account in the pipeline. Wasting time and resources on opportunities that can’t convert because you are negotiating with a person that can’t make a decision is a formula for negative ROI.

You need to have a proper qualification process when you’re guiding people and helping them understand what needs to happen and whom you should reach out to in order to trigger a sales opportunity.

If your sellers don’t know how to land meetings with a company’s more senior players or the classic decision-maker, you’ll eventually be building an inflated pipeline that doesn’t really have any credible quality of closing.

Approaching leads based on Signals is the most effective way to ensure that you’ll have an asymmetric competitive advantage over your competitors.

“What we suggest is that you apply Signals against your accounts,” says our Managing Partner, Jamie Shanks.

“Signals provide objectivity and clarity as to which accounts will result in opportunities, and which ones could prove to be a risk.”

These are just three of the several issues your team could encounter if their pipeline creation method is flawed. If one of your sellers experience one of these problems, take a step back to objectively assess your monitoring and pipeline management strategies to ensure your pipeline generates a stable revenue stream. 

To learn more about pipeline creation,
check out The Fundamentals of Pipeline Creation.

We’d also love to help you optimize your team’s pipeline creation process. If this is something you think could help you, use this link to book a meeting with us.

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Account Based Sales Development Blog

The 3 Ingredients of a Best-In-Class Account-Based Sales Team

So your company has decided to adopt an account-based sales approach.

This is great news for your bottom line, as this strategy will unlock improved win rates, higher revenue, and more efficient allocation of resources.

Now, how should you go setting up your ABS team for selling success?

1. Mindset

Departments must work together.

The first thing you have to ensure is that everyone on the team should be on the same page.

If your marketing team is playing the volume game while your sales team wants to focus on select verticals, it’ll be hard to agree on a strategy that will work for your company’s bottom line.

“The mindset’s got to be, ‘we’re all one team. we’re all going to make this collective decision together,’” says Jamie Shanks, Sales for Life’s Managing Partner. 

You need a collaborative team revenue approach in which the sales, marketing, operations, and enablement departments come together to collectively build a go-to-market strategy.

There can’t be a singular department group of sellers deciding this within the organization because then marketing can’t provide the right air cover, sales operations can’t measure the right KPIs, and sales leaders can’t enforce or govern and create accountability to outcomes.”

Jamie Shanks, CEO of Sales for Life

Be intentional, not haphazard.

Another mindset shift you need to make is that an account-based strategy cannot be implemented by just one sales unit. All your sellers need to be on the same page, regardless of their existing prospecting efforts.

“You can’t decide that a business unit team will be account-based, and just do it haphazardly,” says Shanks. “There has to be this mindset that there are very specific accounts, whether geographic, verticalized, or named accounts, and we are going to target them. Whether we win them or not, we can’t control them. We can only influence them. But we’re going to be strategic in targeting them.”

2. Skillset

The moment you decide to adopt an account-based sales approach, you need to adjust your whole strategy from top to bottom.

Your team will need to learn new go-to-market strategies, sales motions, and sales plays.

You might also need to determine new metrics to properly gauge the effectiveness of your strategy, and you will have to learn how to measure and use the new data you’ll have.

“There has to be a transfer of knowledge about what’s your modern market strategy, what are the sales motions, what are the sales plays you need to master, how you are going to do it, how you are going to measure it,” says Shanks.

“Your team needs to be enabled with the right skillset across the board, from the BDRs and SDRs linking up with the AEs. So the channel can’t be focused haphazardly all over the market, when in fact, there’s a very specific group of accounts you want to win.”

3. Toolkit

To properly implement an account-based strategy, you will need the right methodology and tools. And by “tools,” we’re not just talking about the tech stack.

Probably the most important weapon in your account-based sales arsenal is complete, accurate, and relevant data.

You need to have intent data to find out when your key accounts are engaging. You need product usage data, which you can use to improve your product and refine your marketing strategies. Above all, you need sales intelligence not only to acquire more leads, but also to maintain your existing accounts.

“There needs to be signal intelligence delivered directly to the sales community from those specific named accounts,” says Shanks.

Competitive threats, relationship roadmaps, time-based signals, job changes or maturity changes inside companies—these need to be delivered to the sales team so they know which accounts to segment and prioritize based on empirical evidence, rather than just calling through the phone book, A to Z.”

Read The Essentials of Account-based Sales to learn if what the ABS strategy can do for your business and if it’s right for your organization.

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Blog

Social Selling and Social Media Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Admit it—the first time you heard the term “social selling,” you thought of social media marketing. This is one of the most common questions—and misconceptions—in the world of both marketing and sales. The truth is, there is quite a bit of difference between the two.

Social Selling

Social selling is a vital tool that can be broken down into four main approaches:

  • Creating a strong brand
  • Building relationships
  • Engaging with your customers
  • Focusing on your prospects

Social selling focuses on building and nurturing relationships—relationships between people, between companies, and between teams.

It is the process that takes place when an industry expert or a professional uses social media platforms to start and engage in conversations about topics that are relevant to their field of work.

Think of it as having a veteran on a particular subject having a casual conversation with you. In this conversation, they’re sharing their experiences, insights, and knowledge. This is the heart of social selling. It is founded heavily on facts and expertise. 

What makes social selling both attractive and attainable is that it costs nothing. In our digital world, any expert from anywhere can share their wealth of wisdom anytime—and their audience receives this information for free.

Why should this matter?

The mere fact that any person—whether they’re consumers of a product or simply consumers of information—can ingest this information, engage in the conversation, and even get in touch with the expert in real-time.

Yes—the end goal of social selling is still, of course, to sell a product.

However, it is done in a very genuine, honest, and straightforward manner. We live in a world where information is given in bulk. The accessibility of consumers to this information is not the challenge.

The real value of social selling is the ability to talk to an industry expert with the experience and credibility to discuss it thoroughly, answer questions, and even give recommendations.

A significant difference between social selling and social media marketing lies in how information is shared. In social media marketing, you can use tools to schedule and automate posts. You can even automate your responses when a person tags or mentions you. If you do this practice in social selling, you’ll be marked as spam, and you’ll likely lose credibility from that follower.

Again, social selling is about taking care of relationships that you’ve managed to build. This means sharing authentic content and investing in genuine engagement with your audience.

Interested in learning more about Social Selling?
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling.

Social Media Marketing

Because of the more accessible insights of people in the world of business-to-customer relationships, social media marketing has become almost second nature in commerce today. That’s why whenever a consumer looks up a brand to check out a product or service that they want to buy, they go to that brand’s social media profiles.

Social media marketing is just that: catering to customers.

Businesses post about their products, promotions, campaigns, and other business-related information. Lookup any of your favorite brands—food, clothing, or electronics—on social media. You’ll notice immediately that their posts are designed to appeal to their customers.

The type of content shared here is meant to be consumed fleetingly, as is the nature of social media originally. That’s why it’s common to see memes, trivia, product posters, and other one-off content that you can ingest once and never have to think hard about later. People don’t feel compelled to have a conversation with the brand’s authorities to have in-depth talks about their products the way they would in social selling.

The goal of social media marketing is to expand reach. Think of it as the modern-day version of running a commercial on TV or the newspaper. Brands use this form of marketing to get their product information to as many people as possible. 

While engagement on social media pages is part of their marketing efforts, it’s not as focused on nurturing long-lasting relationships as social selling is.

In summary, social selling is done by sales teams to leverage social platforms to engage with prospects directly, while social media marketing is sharing content to achieve branding and marketing goals.

Combining Social Selling and Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a dynamic powerhouse that can deliver the right content at the right time, but the potential buyers require an established relationship. Both sales and marketing go side by side and without each other, the selling process is considered incomplete. And together, social selling and social media marketing have the potential to positively impact your businesses’ bottom line. 

Interested in learning more about Social Selling?
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling.

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Blog

4 Ways to Keep Your Sales Pipeline Full

In the world of sales, the only thing you can be sure of, year after year, is a higher quota. However, most sales professionals still have trouble meeting the increasing demands of their quota, even if they already expect it.

One of the leading causes of this problem is a lack of prospects.

Think of it this way: When there aren’t enough leads at the top of your sales funnel, you would eventually be left with zero opportunities to close deals.

Now, how can salespeople make quota when the number of people that they’re supposed to talk to is declining, while sales quotas keep going up every year?

We couldn’t stress enough how important it is for your team to keep their sales pipelines full.

When your sellers have plenty of opportunities to sell, they wouldn’t have to resort to giving discounts, guilting their prospects, and other practices that could harm their bottom line in the long run. With a full sales pipeline, your whole team can be firm on the price your product deserves, knowing that there are plenty of other opportunities you can fall back on.

The result: A larger average deal size, more referrals, and positive feedback.

To learn more about pipeline creation, check out The Fundamentals of Sales Pipeline Creation.

Here some ways your team can maintain a healthy sales pipeline:

1. Upsell and cross-sell

Working non-stop to attract new customers can be exhausting. That’s why upselling to your existing clients is one of the easiest paths you can take to increase your revenue.

In fact, the likelihood that you’ll be able to sell again to an existing customer could be as high as 70%. In contrast, your chances of closing a deal with a new client only stand at 5 to 20%.

Let us explain why.

With new customers, you need to establish trust before they’ll even listen to you, let alone buy your product. It could be a long process, and the customer is often resistant.

In comparison, your existing customers are already familiar with you and your product. They trusted you enough to buy from you. And if they already bought from you once, it shouldn’t be too difficult to persuade them to buy from you again—unless their experience with you is negative.

Always remind your team to monitor and regularly check in with their existing account. By continuously addressing their clients’ needs and providing them with value, they’ll be able to unlock more ways to increase their sales.

2. Incorporate social selling

Social selling is necessary to survive and thrive in today’s modern, digital sales environment. The sooner your revenue team embraces this, the faster you will meet your quotas, grow your pipeline, and maximize your profitability.

The SPEAR Selling strategy is an effective way to fill your sales pipeline with quality leads. First, a seller needs to be accountable for their own territory by visualizing their Total Addressable Market (TAM). This allows them to see clearly where gaps and opportunities lie. They can then apply sales intelligence against accounts in their TAM so they can objectively Select and Prioritize the most promising prospects using data-based Signals.

From there, the seller moves on to Planning—developing executive business plans for the top accounts. Engagement starts after, driven by synchronous and asynchronous video content.
Next, the seller Activates customers by applying the signal intelligence and the stories they have created against their accounts. The seller should gauge the customers’ feedback—also known as buying intent—before moving to the Reprioritize phase, wherein the seller will redevelop their TAM based on all the data they have gleaned. It’s a cyclical process that will result in a precise, continuously enhanced social selling strategy that actually delivers measurable results.

To learn more about pipeline creation, check out The Fundamentals of Sales Pipeline Creation.

3. Ask for referrals

Your current customers are your best source of your next customers simply because there’s proof that they believe in your value proposition. They wouldn’t buy your product otherwise.

So once a customer has crossed a certain lifetime value with you, ask them to refer you to someone in their sphere of influence who can use your product. But for this play to work, you have to be specific about who you’d like to be referred to.

“If you could find out who they’re connected to using the power of social media, then you can ask for strategic referrals,” says Amar Sheth, our Partner for Customer Experience. “Using tools like LinkedIn, you can determine who they’re connected to and ask for a strategic and precise referral. This way, you can enter accounts of your choice, not just the choice of the customer.”

You should likewise be wary of the timing of your referral request. Once you ask for a referral, if you get a no, you can’t really ask again. You don’t want to come across as self-serving by fishing for a referral too early, or by asking in the middle of a complicated project. Wait until you’ve crossed a certain lifetime value with a client before doing so.

Remember: Referrals naturally happen if you earn them.

And you earn them by doing a professional job in driving value for the customer, rather than pushing your own self-serving agenda.

4. Know your top customers and focus on them

  • Grow deeper in existing accounts

In time, you’ll observe that your team closes more deals with companies from a certain industry. If you close four times more deals with consumer electronic corporations than automobile manufacturers, then it only makes sense for your team to prioritize the former. 

The same logic applies with roles within a company. If you’re 46% likelier to win the deal when you work with the operations team versus the culture team, you should get an introduction to an operations employee ASAP.

  • Focus on account retention

Account retention entails building relationships with your customers and maximizing revenue from every single one of them. But it’s not a one-way street: You have to provide more value to your existing customer base as well.

Your sellers should ensure that the customers they have acquired will have a great experience with your company and will stay satisfied with your products and services. Some strategies include improving customer support, offering discounted renewal rates, and rolling out multi-channel engagement campaigns for existing clients.

Our final tip?

Keep your sales team updated on the latest sales strategies and best practices.

The pandemic has proved that you can’t afford to stay complacent, even if your team has decades of experience under their belts. Read articles and books, develop new skills, and try different sales techniques. An empowered team of sellers that can strategize by themselves is an asset to any company.

These are just a few ways your team can keep their sales pipelines robust without losing efficiency. To learn more about pipeline creation, check out The Fundamentals of Sales Pipeline Creation.

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The Evolution of Sales for Life

Before Sales for Life became a global sales training powerhouse, we used to be a local B2B sales recruitment and staffing agency. Even back then, we have observed that salespeople were struggling with cold calls and emails—and I struggled with this, too.

Prior to joining Sales for Life, I was running a consulting company that, at one point, was on the verge of failing. I was trying to create sales pipeline for my business, but all my attempts to do so had failed.

How Social Selling Started

Desperate for a solution, I went on LinkedIn. Back then, my activity on the platform was limited to the occasional post every few weeks or so. But that night, I spent hours looking at the updates within my network, checking who’s connecting with whom, who’s joining which company.

This was when I realized that I can connect with my ideal customers by leveraging my LinkedIn network. In my mind, I’ve found a way to solve my pipeline problems. I dove right into it and in a few weeks, I saw my pipeline growing AND converting. After a few months, I had created a process for it.

Jamie Shanks

So when I joined Sales for Life in 2012, I started conducting social selling training to companies in Toronto, Canada. And when social media really took off and companies started paying more attention to their social networks, we developed Social Selling Mastery: A training program that teaches sellers how to use content as a magnet for attracting leads, complemented by the use of social selling methods as a “spear” for targeting specific prospects that have a higher chance of converting into customers.

Social Selling Mastery became our flagship product for several years: A B2B sales training program that generated billions of dollars in pipeline & revenue for our customers, including well-known global Fortune 100 brands. 

But being an enterprise solution has its challenges. While social selling can accelerate growth, a number of our customers have already reached the point where they need to scale in a bigger way. For these customers, inbound demand generation was no longer sufficient to maintain growth. In order to keep scaling, they had to switch to an account-based sales motion. 

Pipeline Creation at Scale

So we adapted our training curriculum, embedding the foundations of social selling into an account-based everything sales model and continuously evolving to cater to our customers’ needs. By 2019, we have recognized that, while solely teaching sales prospecting methodology delivered impressive results, we can still improve the way companies generate pipeline at scale. 

You see, despite the proliferation of digital sales tools, a lot of salespeople—as much as 50+ percent—are still failing to make quota. Of those who fail to hit their targets, 83 percent cite poor time management as the top reason for their failure. Salespeople are spending too much time on leads that lead to nowhere.

Our focus had to shift from only teaching social selling, to also equipping revenue teams with the ability to create pipeline at scale.

By monitoring sales intelligence within your accounts, we could minimize the risk of your sellers spending too much time on accounts that have a slim chance of converting into actual sales opportunities. 

Leveraging Data for Intelligence

That’s why we created the ScalePipeline System: To help you open doors prescriptively through data, intelligence, and evidence, and in an objective, systematic method that leads to predictable success.

The ScalePipeline System brings together intelligence and workflows, driven by sales training and coaching to enable revenue teams to predictably and continuously scale pipeline. 

In other words, we’ll monitor your accounts for sales intelligence and teach you how to convert it. This helps find missed opportunities and reduces risk.

With this process, we can get your whole team to grow pipeline by upwards of 25 percent in about a quarter, without having to spend on additional hires. And since the ScalePipeline System is 100 percent based on data, you can achieve results even during an uncertain time like a global pandemic, when investments into sales teams are low to none.

Continuous Learning, Always Evolving

In the nine years that I’ve been with Sales for Life, the only thing that remained constant is growth. The last decade saw a massive shift from traditional to digital selling, shaking the foundations of most B2B revenue teams. We’ve made it our mission to continuously adapt to the latest technology and methods and pass on what we’ve learned to the community, giving them a soft place to land in the complicated world of modern sales.

Our unwavering commitment towards pipeline growth is not our legacy, but our heritage. It’s our north star, guiding us to the future of sales.

Join us, we’re ready for you.