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4 Storytelling Techniques That Will Rock Your Sales

Sales professionals have always used storytelling to persuade and inspire. Abraham Lincoln used advertising stories to speak out against slavery with the help of the newspaper. Mary Kay Ash took part in personal development classes through storytelling. 

Today, salespeople and other professionals rely on marketing stories for different purposes such as sharing tips, inspiring, or even persuading customers. Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that Facebook was initially built because he wanted people to share their stories. 

Have you ever had a salesperson tell you how good a product or service was, and it just left you cold? You’ve heard the story before from another seller — the same features, the same benefits, the same story — and decided to buy from someone else. 

I’m not interested in telling you that my product will save your business $10,000 per month. I’d rather show you. This is the mindset you should always have when making your pitch.

How To Craft Stories That Sell

#1: Create a connection powered by relevance

Create a connection powered by relevance

Stories have the ability to create a connection between your audience and what you are trying to sell. It should be based on real-life experiences and not be theoretical or too much in the future.

For example, if you’re selling advertising space for a website, don’t talk about how great it would be to have an unlimited supply of targeted traffic. Tell them what happened when your client ran out of targeted traffic and couldn’t afford to pay their bills.

If you sell medical insurance, tell them about a client who lost her job due to an illness and had no way to pay her medical bills.

If you sell financial services, tell them how you were able to help someone get out of debt or plan for retirement by using those products.

#2: Compel through concrete storytelling

Compel through concrete storytelling

When we tell stories, we’re not just recounting events — we’re building connections. A story is a way of showing the kind of person you are and the values you hold.

When you tell a story, you’re doing more than just sharing an experience — you’re creating an emotional connection with the other person. And when they connect with you, they see themselves in your story and realize that they can relate to it as well.

To make your stories memorable, use concrete details.

In order to make your stories more powerful and compelling, you need to be able to tell them from different angles. That’s why most people have a hard time telling good stories. They can only think about one angle at a time.

But when you understand how stories work on multiple levels, you can change your perspective on any given story and see it from many different angles. This will help you make your stories better and more engaging for your audience.

#3: Honesty is still the best policy

Honesty is still the best policy

Storytelling is an art form that can be used to connect with your audience, create a sense of community, and prompt them to take action.

The best sales stories are simple, authentic, and memorable. They’re told in a way that feels natural and relatable to the listener.

Stories help you connect with your customers on a deeper level by getting inside their heads and making them feel something genuine — empathy, excitement, or even fear.

But too many salespeople fall into the trap of using canned or trite phrases when they try to tell a story. This makes it harder for listeners to relate to what you’re saying because it doesn’t sound like something they would actually say.

A great way to illustrate concepts or processes is by using examples from your own life or from other people’s lives. For example, if you’re selling software that helps businesses track their inventory, talk about how this software has helped other businesses reduce costs because they didn’t have to ship out extra inventory when they sold out of a particular item. Or if you’re selling an online course on personal finance management, share stories about how people have been able to pay down debt by setting up savings accounts for emergencies and sticking to their budgets.

#4: Tell your story with flair

Tell your story with flair

Storytelling is about more than just telling a tale; it’s about sharing an experience that connects with the audience. And this is how you get customers to buy from you: by making them feel something.

So if you want to be an effective salesman, be an effective storyteller first!

Here are some storytelling techniques that will help you sell like a pro:

  • Use vivid details
  • Tell stories that reflect your audience’s concerns (and not yours)
  • Create characters with whom people can empathize
  • Focus on what matters most to your audience

Storytelling is an art form that engages people at an emotional level — it’s not just about facts and figures. It’s about connecting with people as human beings who have problems they want to be solved or desires they want to be fulfilled. When you tell stories in your presentations, you make yourself approachable as a person instead of just another vendor trying to sell something.

Alternatively, use analogies and metaphors to explain complex concepts more clearly.

Conclusion

Storytelling is an ancient art form.

It’s been around for thousands of years and has been used to tell all kinds of stories. The Bible, for example, is full of stories about people’s lives, struggles, and triumphs. Ancient Greek mythology is full of tales about gods and goddesses. And today, we are still telling stories through books, movies, television shows, and more.

But storytelling isn’t just for entertainment purposes — it can be a powerful tool in business as well. If you haven’t already realized this, then you need to start incorporating storytelling into your sales process immediately!

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Sales Play Social Selling

How Social Selling Fits into Your Sales Plays

Social selling is more valuable than ever before, with over half of the world’s population using social media. Sales leaders who like to stay ahead of trends rather than pursuing them should start integrating the process in their businesses.

For companies, social selling is leveraging social media to create leads and fuel your sales funnel.

This does not imply copying and pasting cold templates into LinkedIn and sending them to your connections. This is similar to spammy selling, where your odds of closing are nil.

It varies from standard sales strategies in that it places less emphasis on a quick response. Individual sales reps, on the other hand, focus on the “long game” and cultivating relationships over time.

To increase “organic” sales, sellers use social media to develop long-term connections, communicate authority and trustworthiness, and surface on decision-makers’ radars.

Data reveals that those that stay in the game for the long haul get rewarded. Top-performing sales agents, for example, consider social networking sites “extremely vital” to their performance, closing transactions 51% faster than their counterparts. Leaders in social selling also generate 45% more possibilities.

What does this look like in a business setting? Some companies have reduced their average selling process time by 20 days and increased the percentage of leads converting to prospects by 25% after implementing social selling tactics with LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator.

Social selling also makes it simpler for sales professionals to receive referrals from their LinkedIn networks, which is important because referrals account for 65 percent of new business for most businesses.

social selling is a must.

In the digital age, social selling is a must.

The development of digital technology has skewed the scales in favor of purchasers in business transactions. They’ve regained control of goods sources. Social selling is a prospecting method that returns power to the seller while maintaining a personal touch. Thanks to an active and non-intrusive presence, the seller has been able to return to the beginning of the purchasing cycle.

Social selling, like telephone or email marketing, is not a closing tactic. It’s the blend of the points of contact that allows you to reach out to new prospects in the places where they’re most comfortable. Social selling is a logical progression of sales professionals’ prospecting strategies.

Even if the two techniques are complementary, social media marketing must be separated from social selling:

  • The goal of social media marketing is to cultivate and maintain a relationship between a business and its audience through content to raise brand recognition.
  • To boost quality leads, social selling enables sellers to engage with their prospects and be acknowledged as experts in their professions.

Because there are fewer “personal” networks on Twitter and Linkedin, this strategy is easier to implement, and consumers are more comfortable and receptive to the concept of engaging in a dialogue with a vendor.

How can social selling help your company

How can social selling help your company?

You already know how to perform social selling if you’ve spent time on social media conversing with friends, sharing images, publishing status updates, and so on. You may be already aware of it.

So here are a few pointers to help you improve your social selling skills and start connecting with prospects:

Make a listening station.

You may “listen” for hashtags because individuals love to use them in their social media posts. Create a column in Twitter’s Tweetdeck program, for example. Create columns for phrases pertinent to your industry. Help out whenever someone shares anything you can help with, whether it’s a query or an article they created. Respond to their queries and promote their articles with your social media accounts. This establishes a rapport with that individual, and you become a valuable resource.

You may also look for hashtags on LinkedIn and follow them on Instagram. Pay attention to them as well, and engage in similar dialogues with others.

Make your material.

You already have industry knowledge and skills, so share it! Don’t merely wait for opportunities to sell. Write blog posts that assist individuals in resolving a specific issue. Take pictures of your solution in action and share them with us. Hold webinars to educate people about a specific topic. Bring potential clients on as guests to your podcast and invite them to share their knowledge.

If you provide enough material, you’ll ultimately get the credibility and a reputation, which will aid you in your sales calls.

Social selling allows you to develop your knowledge so that you don’t have to prove it every time you meet with a new prospect. The evidence element of the sales process is complete if they contacted you because of your social media post. They are aware of your abilities and have self-qualified to join your sales funnel.

Conclusion

Because it is based on true sales concepts such as creating connections and trust, social selling works in sales. However, it’s a time-consuming and intricate procedure. Rather than a race to the finish line, social selling is a relationship-driven marathon.

You may open the floodgates to bigger transactions, quicker sales cycles, and recurring referrals and sales once you’ve created crucial contacts and earned confidence.

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Social Selling

Social Selling: Why It’s a MUST

It’s no secret that sellers have difficulty generating fresh leads these days. Gone are the days when a few cold calls eventually lead to a sale. If you attempt cold calling today, you’ll find that it takes at least eight calls to reach a prospect.

And do you know what happens when you get to them?  They don’t want to communicate with you! In reality, almost all executives never reply to cold calls or buy from them. It’s reasonable to say that we have our job cut out for us as sellers.

How can we stick out in the face of these obstacles? We can do this through social selling.

What is social selling?

Social selling uses social media to communicate with potential clients, build a connection, and connect with prospects. This method may be used by businesses to assist them in fulfilling their sales targets.

Consider this to be a new way to establish B2B relationships. Engaging with potential clients on social media may assist you to be the first business that immediately springs to mind when a lead is ready to purchase.

Note that this is not about spamming people with unwanted Tweets and DMs. That is not a good idea. When it comes to social selling, it’s not just about adding new people to your network. It’s all about making those engagements matter and promoting your company as a solution provider. You’ll be more likely to receive brand loyalty and trust if you do so.

Why should you consider social selling?

social selling

If you’re still not convinced, here are some reasons why you should consider social selling.

Social selling is effective.

Leaders in social selling generate more sales opportunities than companies that don’t have a social media presence. Furthermore, companies that prioritize social selling have a better likelihood of fulfilling sales goals.

Social selling aids in the development of genuine relationships.

As a result of the pandemic, building relationships with clients and prospects and networking have gone online. This makes ‘now’ the ideal moment to focus on social selling. Social selling allows you to engage with prospects on social media, who are already active and joining in discussions.

Your top rivals are already selling on social media.

Using social selling to stay competitive is a must. Other businesses are active on social media, communicating with potential clients on well-known sites. An estimated 25% of e-commerce brands globally planned to sell their items on social media in 2020. This is according to Statista.

What are the best ways to make the most of social selling?

social selling

Make sure you follow social selling best practices no matter which platform you choose to reach your target audience. Here are a few to remember.

Develop your brand by giving value to your clients.

It’s crucial not to be overly salesy while communicating with prospects and consumers on social media. Also, if your company is new to a social media site, don’t go immediately into social selling. Establish your status as an industry authority before jumping into sales presentations.

Sharing fascinating, valuable, and engaging material is one approach to establishing your brand online for social selling. This might involve sharing material created by others that resonates with your brand for B2B companies and business influencers. 

It might also mean creating and distributing unique material that others will find valuable to position your company as a thought leader in your sector. 

This assures your prospects that you are not just looking for a quick buck. You are also there to contribute.

Develop strategic listening skills and cultivate relationships with the appropriate individuals.

Paying attention is an essential part of effective social selling. To put it another way, make sure you are socially aware.

Observe what others are saying about you, your brand, industry, and rivals using social lists. Keep an eye out for requests and pain spots since both present a natural opportunity for you to supply solutions.

When feasible, you should also make use of your current network. Inspect their following and follower lists before reaching out to any prospects you’ve identified to see if you have any shared connections. If you do, request an introduction from your mutual acquaintance.

Stay true to yourself.

Take the effort to customize your social selling messages rather than producing a generic message and delivering it to many potential consumers.

To put it another way, be yourself. Start a real, honest chat to establish a relationship!

You may opt to utilize automatic like and commenting technologies, but they won’t help you create relationships. They have the potential to harm your personal and professional brand seriously. Nothing beats dealing with a natural person when it comes to selling.

Maintain a level of consistency.

Finally, don’t expect to see results right away. Don’t give up if your relationship-building efforts don’t deliver immediate benefits. Keep in touch with any contacts who aren’t ready to buy what you’re selling just yet.

Make contact with fresh leads. Make contact with people you’ve previously interacted with but haven’t heard from in a long time. Maintain genuine ties by congratulating them on new jobs or companies or participating with the information they post on social media. Even if it doesn’t directly advertise your product, be ready to give advice or assistance.

Conclusion

Building relationships, creating trust, and giving the correct answers to the right prospects at the right time have always been central to sales. That’s how social selling works as well. It simply uses social media to aid in the development of connections, the expansion of your network, the streamlining of lead creation, and the achievement of your sales objectives!

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Social Selling

How To Make Your LinkedIn Profile More Attractive To Buyers

If you want to succeed in today’s modern selling environment, you have to accept that the power lies in the customer’s hands.

Our access to information has drastically increased in the last couple of decades, and customers are taking full advantage of the availability of objective data to form their own opinions and beliefs about the options at their fingertips. Buyers have never been more in control of their purchasing decisions, with the product being the only variable that sellers can adjust.

The impact of this change is especially felt by B2B sellers. In the past, buyers would, upon discovering a need for a particular product or solution, reach out to different companies to get information about their offerings, their features, and their prices. Conversely, sellers can easily cold call decision-makers and help them uncover a need they did not know existed.

But this isn’t the case anymore. In fact, most of the B2B buying process is performed out of the seller’s sight, with buyers doing their own research digitally via online content and social media, specifically on LinkedIn.

Social selling on LinkedIn: the key to B2B sales success

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social networking site, with over 800M members across 200 countries. This makes it the perfect platform for social selling, with nearly endless opportunities to generate leads and referrals, prospect efficiently, and build relationships with your customers.

Social selling success on LinkedIn hinges on the sellers’ application of both outbound and inbound strategies. This is the only way to achieve undisputable results that could be felt across the entire organization.

Outbound social selling strategies

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “sales”?

Chances are you’re probably imagining a sales rep reaching out to a customer to promote their product or service, maybe through a phone call or via a meeting. This is exactly what outbound sales is: The process in which the seller initiates communication with a prospective buyer via sales activities such as emailing, cold calling, or social selling.

While outbound selling methods are clearly effective—that’s how sales reps have been meeting their quota for years—it’s not enough if you want to surpass your sales goals. You can make the most of your outbound sales efforts by strategically targeting only the accounts with the highest likelihood of conversion.

Still, this isn’t enough to be successful in sales. The best sellers complement their outbound sales techniques with inbound sales methods. This turns them into lead magnets, attracting customers in their sleep.

Inbound social selling strategies

Turning your LinkedIn profile into a lead magnet requires a strong, carefully crafted personal brand. Your personal brand should show that you are an active participant in your industry, thus establishing your authority and knowledge. Do it right, and expect to reap its benefits—the most notable of which is an increase in the inquiries you’ll get from prospects.

To achieve this, the first thing you need to do is to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

How to optimize your LinkedIn profile

An updated, optimized LinkedIn profile can boost the reputation of any professional, but it’s especially helpful for people in sales and marketing. It adds credibility to both you and your company and helps you reach a broader audience.

Ready to revamp your LinkedIn presence? Start with the following areas of your profile

1. Your Profile Photo and Background Photo

Your photo is the first thing that people notice when they visit your profile. Upload a high-resolution, well-lit headshot, preferably one where you’re smiling to give a friendly, approachable impression. While you’re at it, update your background photo to indicate your professional brand. Remember, first impressions last—so you better make sure your photo creates a positive impact.

2. Your Headline

Your headline is where you can highlight what you do and how you can help your customers. Use action-based keywords to project confidence and authority, and use terms that clearly define your role and contributions.

3. Your About/Summary Section

Your summary should complement your headline, adding more details about how you can help your customers win. Use this section to position yourself as a thought leader in your field. Try not to exceed 150 words—any longer, and it’ll be tedious to read.

4. Your Recommendations

Recommendations serve as social proof of what you have written in your Headline and About sections. For customer-facing roles, a minimum of five recommendations would be ideal.

5. Your Activity

This is where your profile’s visitors can see your perspectives about your industry. Share relevant content, comment on your connections’ news, and engage with posts that resonate with you—these simple actions go a long way in showing that you’re an active, contributing member of your online community.

Conclusion

A strong LinkedIn presence is necessary to survive and thrive in today’s modern, cutthroat B2B sales environment. The sooner you accept this, the faster your revenue team can meet quotas, grow pipeline, and maximize profitability. 

The easiest way to strengthen your LinkedIn presence is by optimizing your profile. 

Upload clear profile photos that reflect your personality, write a headline that shows your professional capabilities and include a personal summary that sheds more light on your accomplishments. Don’t forget to post and share content regularly, and ask for recommendations from people whom you have worked with.

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Social Selling

5 Things You Can Do To Fill Your Social Media Calendar

Social media is one of the most powerful tools in a sales professional’s arsenal. You can use social media platforms to build pipeline, gather information, communicate with prospects, and conduct research. But one of the most powerful ways to use social media is for establishing your and your company’s brand and authority—and the easiest way to do this is via content.

Posting content on a regular basis builds credibility and expands your reach, making it a reliable way to strengthen your brand. It makes your presence and authority known, allowing you to more effectively influence your network.

The best part is that your connections won’t even know that they are being influenced, because you’re doing so in a way that won’t register in their consciousness. Instead of blatantly appealing to their emotions to buy your product, you’re presenting yourself in the best possible light and establishing connections with those who are most likely to become your clients, leading their minds to realize that you’re a trustworthy seller.

3 Reasons To Post On Social Media Daily

Posting content regularly isn’t just nice to do—it’s a must-do. And it should be done on a daily basis, if possible.

You see, when you regularly post or share content, you’re telling your market that you have something substantial that they should consider. And the more people that you can educate, the greater the chances that they’ll do business with you. 

  1. You can anchor your brand to the messages you want to convey.

    First impressions may not always be correct, but they certainly last. This is explained by the concept of anchoring: Why our brains easily recall the first piece of information that we obtain when we have to make a decision or when presented with an unfamiliar scenario.

    By posting regularly, you can anchor your personal brand to a particular message, such as competence or creativity, that you want your audience to associate with you.

  2. You can make your brand easier to remember.

    Humans are naturally biased towards things that they can recall easily. That’s why the goal in advertising is to occupy the customer’s “top of mind”. You want your brand to be the first thing that pops up in their mind when they think about their industry.

    Every time you post on social media, the people who see your content are reminded of who you are and what you do, thus increasing the space you occupy in their minds. Even if they don’t engage with your post, you’ll still make an impact on them—and this increases the chances that you’ll be the first one they’ll think about when it comes to your product or service.

  3. You can benefit from the Halo Effect.

    The Halo Effect is the tendency for a positive impression that you may have about a person or a product to extend to other, unrelated attributes. For example, if you perceive someone to be successful professionally, you might think that they’re similarly happy in other aspects of their lives. Or if a friend frequently posts gorgeous photos on Instagram, it’s easy to conclude that their day-to-day activities are always picture-perfect (even if that’s not really the case).

    So by establishing yourself as an authority in your industry through your social media posts, your network would unconsciously extend your expertise beyond the topics of your content. You’ll be perceived as a competent, trustworthy person that can help them succeed.

However, posting content on a daily basis is much easier said than done. Can you really keep posting about the same topic every single day?

Our answer is a resounding yes.

The good news is that you don’t have to write thought-provoking essays or create engaging images every time. Here’s how you can keep a full social media calendar without thinking too much about it.

4 Things You Can Do To Fill Your Content Calendar

  1. Share stories and news that you find interesting. As we’ve mentioned earlier, you don’t have to write profound analyses of your industry every day. Simply sharing news and stories from reputable sources is also an effective way of demonstrating your expertise—it shows you’re up-to-date on the latest news and trends, and thus, can be relied on for legitimate industry knowledge.

  2. Share stories of client wins. The most effective forms of promotion are those made by other people. Showing how you played a part in creating positive experiences for your clients can sharply boost your personal brand and reinforce your expertise.

  3. Post about the people in your network. As the saying goes, your network is your net worth. Don’t hesitate to incorporate your connections when planning your social media calendar. Repost their content and add your own insights to establish your knowledge on the topic.

    You can also post happy photos from in-person events that you’ve attended, such as conferences and networking events. This shows your online connections that you have great offline relationships, and that you’re a person they should get to know. 

  4. Automate your posts. Most social media platforms allow post scheduling, which is a godsend for busy sellers and marketers. You can produce several posts in one go, schedule them on your intended days, and they’ll be automatically published.

  5. Ask questions and create polls. These types of posts demand engagmement from their audience. When they like, comment on, or share your content, the algorithm will be trained to show them more of your posts in the future, increasing the space that your brand occupies in their minds.
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Account Based Sales Development account basedsales Social Selling

Social Surrounding: A Critical Aspect of Account-Based Selling

As a B2B seller, one of the most important things you should remember is that you don’t win companies. You win people.

Winning people involves building relationships with them. Relationship-building requires showing the other person that you genuinely care about them and the things that are important to them.

The good thing is that there are several tools at your disposal that make it easier to build long-lasting business relationships. You can use social selling techniques not only to improve your online presence and reputation, but also to find more information about your customers that can help you position yourself accordingly. And when you know how their world looks like and what their pain points are, you’ll have a better idea of how you can add value to their lives.

Now, the average sales professional has relationships with 3 contacts from an account. That doesn’t seem like a bad number. But buying decisions are made by committees, and in a typical organization, there are around 8 people who influence and contribute to the decision-making process. Even in smaller companies, most salespeople just have 1 relationship, when there are at least 3 people involved in a sales decision. 

This isn’t ideal.

Why You Should Nurture Several Relationships Within An Account

The average employee changes their job every 2.5 years. This may seem like a long time, but in B2B, that’s just a couple of sales cycles—which means that your contact only has a few chances to persuade the buying committee. And if your contact leaves, who will be left to champion your cause?

“The amount of flux that’s happening—the talent going in and out of businesses—means that a company’s priorities are shifting, ebbing and flowing all the time,” says Sales for Life CEO Jamie Shanks.

Think about it: If you have a relationship with a company’s chief information security officer, that person probably has a good understanding of what you’re talking about and what you can bring to the table. However, the other people in the IT department might not know who you are, or might not have any experience with your solution. And you’ll probably be more of a stranger to people from cross-functional departments such as legal, procurement, finance, or human resources.

So how can you build relationships with them?

This is where social surrounding comes in.

Using Social Surrounding for Your Target Accounts

The entire purpose of social surrounding is to get information fast, while automating much of its collection. The easiest and fastest way to go about this is to make this a part of your account planning process.

You can include your social surrounding research when selecting which accounts to prioritize—this process is tied to your customer accounts after all, and it will be easier to have all your account information centralized in one place.

Advanced search strategies for social surrounding

1. Browse a stakeholder’s LinkedIn profile and start collecting insights about them. Any useful information you can find should be captured.

2. In LinkedIn Sales Navigator, press the save button on someone’s profile to:

  • Follow the person. This way, any like, comment, or share will appear neatly in the Leads section of your Sales Navigator homepage.
  • Follow their company. This lets you easily access any content shared by their company page. You can view this in the Account section of your Sales Navigator homepage.

3. Use Boolean Search on the Bing browser to do research. Do these two searches:

  • person and company search
  • company and topic search

After using Advanced Search strategies to find out who the stakeholders are in your target accounts, it’s now time to do your research on them. Believe it or not, 92% of salespeople and CSMs don’t do any research because they think it takes too much time—and this is a mistake you shouldn’t commit.

Remember that the purpose of social surrounding is to speed up research so it takes less than 2 minutes per contact, instead of trawling the internet for the crucial data you need. These advanced search steps will allow you to automatically capture insights on the people that you want to have a relationship with, using both LinkedIn and Bing.

Conclusion

It’s difficult for sales professionals to build relationships within their customer accounts. You can’t exactly do site visits with every department, especially cross-functionally, because these departments might be located in different cities, states, or even countries—more so now, when there’s a global pandemic going on.

But it’s necessary.

You see, in all your accounts, there are two things that could happen. One, the buying committee will come together and reach a consensus, requiring you to have more advocates inside the organization. Two, if somebody in the buying committee leaves or is replaced, you’ll need to find out who the person is, what happened to them, and who will replace them.

Using LinkedIn and other social platforms to connect with the stakeholders within your customer accounts will allow you to monitor their activities and engage them, keeping you in a stronger position to influence and ensuring you’re ready to act should something happen.

Categories
digital selling training Sales Enablement sales training Social Selling Social Selling Training

How To Choose The Right Sales Training Program

Now that most sales motions are happening digitally, it’s never been more important to invest in your team’s digital selling skills.

The easiest way to achieve this is by investing in a digital sales training program that will standardize and formalize the way your revenue team’s prospecting, account growth, and account retention efforts.

Your efforts to modernize the sales process should be supported by the entire organization, from the top-down. Everyone needs to be on board, from your revenue leaders down to your frontline sales reps. The sales training program you choose should also be integrated within your existing oversight and coaching framework.

This way, everyone in your sales team can properly receive the sales coaching and guidance that they would need to succeed.

Your organization’s leadership committee also needs to be involved. As this might be new information to them, they might not see the need for digital sales training. By involving them in the process, they can better understand why a digital sales transformation is necessary. 

But how can sales leaders choose the right sales training program for their organization?

What makes a good digital sales training program

There are dozens of sales training programs available for all types and sizes of businesses, focusing on different aspects of the sales process. With so many options available, choosing the right one for your team can be daunting.

Here are four criteria that you should consider when deciding on a digital sales training program for your organization.

A good digital sales training program…

1. Should Sufficiently Address Skills Gaps
To create a tangible impact in your organization, start by identifying the most prevalent sales skills and performance gaps that your revenue team is facing. This is how you can find opportunities to upskill the members of your revenue team. Here are some of the most common issues that should be addressed immediately:

  • Lack of communication skills: Communication is a two-way street. While most sellers are great at talking, not all sellers can listen well. The best salespeople actively listen to their prospects, asking intelligent questions and using both verbal and nonverbal means to get their customers to warm up to them. Low performers usually spend at least 70% of their calls and meetings speaking.
  • Lack of preparation for sales conversations: You’d be surprised at the number of sales representatives who go into sales calls and meetings without a back-up plan or even a specific objective. There are even sellers who take on calls without knowing anything about the prospect or how your product would specifically benefit the customer.
  • Lack of a prescriptive sales process: Your whole revenue team needs to be consistent when it comes to your sales process. You can’t have a seller skipping certain steps or adding unnecessary ones—that’s how they can miss important tasks like following up with leads or sending email sequences. Even the smallest inconsistency or inefficiency could affect your whole bottom line. 
  • Lack of social selling knowledge: While the term social selling is well-known, not all sellers are aware of the techniques and best practices it involves. They might know that LinkedIn can be used for networking and prospecting, but they don’t necessarily know how to do so. And if your organization doesn’t have a prescriptive process for social selling, it’s pretty much like the blind leading the blind. Which leads us to the next point…

2. Should Teach Social Selling Skills
In this age of digital networking, social selling is no longer optional, but a must-have. It’s an incredibly important skill set that drives actual pipeline and sales. And with pipeline creation being one of the most crucial aspects of the sales process, your team needs to utilize all tools and resources at their disposal.

3. Should Be Incorporated Into Your Existing Sales Process
Training wouldn’t produce results if it’s not aligned to your company’s goals, values, and strategy. That’s why the concepts that will be taught in your chosen sales training should be integrated into your existing sales process to make it more efficient and effective. A good digital sales training program should optimize your sellers’ style, adjusting specific actions for better results instead of dictating a non-negotiable list of things to do per situation.

4. Should Be Reinforced for Optimum Learning
Reinforcement of skills is also important, as long-term growth is rarely produced by one-time training. Learnings need to be applied, and tested, a feedback loop should be established, and sales managers should be able to provide coaching and mentorship.

Wrapping It Up

When it comes to your sales team’s performance, there’s always room for improvement. A good sales training program is necessary for developing your sellers’ skills, tapping into their expertise and talent to increase sales and profits, drive growth, and cultivate a high-performing work environment. 

While there’s no harm in investing in marketing, recruitment, or tools, companies shouldn’t forget about their current sales force—your most important asset and revenue-driver. By enabling your sellers’ transformation into high-performing salespeople, you’ll be better equipped to blast ahead of your competition.

Categories
Account Based Sales Development Social Selling Uncategorized

Account Selection: Start Prioritizing Social Proximity

When entering the world of sales, account selection becomes the most important thing – and yet, it is something that is often overlooked. Both newbies and experienced salespeople tend to go after the big fish. They start planning and visualizing their account map as filled with brands and companies that they know because of their name, global impact, and popularity.

And while there is nothing wrong with this—in fact, we at Sales for Life do it too—it can cause some hindrances to your pipeline’s growth, especially if it’s all you’re going to focus on.

Here’s an excerpt from our CEO, Jamie Shanks’ book, SPEAR Selling:

When I was 16, I started a landscaping company in my small town of Manotick, Ontario, Canada. I made pink and yellow flyers that I photocopied at Mac’s Milk convenience store, and handed them out door-to-door.

Just as I was about to start my first spring lawn cutting season, my mother said to me “Jamie, if you do a great job, two people in the neighborhood will hear about you; if you do a terrible job, eight people in the neighborhood with hear about you”.

She paused, looked at me intently, and I could see what she was really saying: “The neighbors will tell me, and I’ll feel embarrassed… so don’t screw up!”

Even as a teenager, I was learning about the power of business development through social proximity and successful storytelling.

Take Advantage of Your Asymmetrical Competitive Advantages

4.2x more likely to get a sales appointment if you have a relationship than if you don’t.

Sales Benchmark Index (SBI)

So what is social proximity, and what does it have to do with account selection?

Simply put – and precisely as it sounds – it’s about utilizing your relationships, personal experiences, and customer successes (collectively known as your Asymmetrical Competitive Advantages) and placing them at the center of your pipeline efforts. You use these when creating targeted account lists, whether vertically or geographically. 

This strategy is built with a solid foundation that focuses on the customers and then grows and works outwards. Instead of focusing on which accounts will get you the biggest commissions, this strategy gives you the goal of finding asymmetric competitive advantages that other people – especially your competitors – cannot possibly compete against. 

Leveraging these advantages that exist around your company’s happy customers and the people working with them can open up a significant number of opportunities for you, which in effect can keep opening up new opportunities for you as you increase the number of happy customers in your care. Using social platforms, such as LinkedIn, can give you insights that paint a clearer picture of these relationships and the interrelationships between them.

Account Selection with Social Proximity in Mind

The next time you’re planning or reevaluating your goals for account selection (and acquisition), think of the people you’ve already got connections and influence with.

These people will include the following:

  • Employees of your current customers
  • Former employees of your existing customers
  • Your customers’ competitors
  • Partners and vendors that are associated with or are suppliers of your customers

And on a more personal level, you can also look to:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Community and social network
  • Previous school alumni

Every one of the relationships you possess with these people can create various levels of asymmetrical competitive advantages for you and your pipeline. The relationships that you’ve built with them aren’t easily copied or stolen by competitors.

While still hunting for the big fish accounts, spend a considerable amount of time and energy mapping out account selection based on your social proximity. To do this and to do it well, it is crucial that you get rid of any predetermined accounts that have been handed off to you by your superiors, your company, or even by yourself. 

We know that majority of companies will assign accounts to their sellers. However, you shall still be entitled to a percentage of target accounts to choose for themselves. This should also be a wake-up call to these companies when addressing their account selection strategies with their salespeople. Including social proximity must be given priority as early as the planning stage.

This strategy is a big, big help for sellers, especially those who are just starting out with their accounts, as well as those who find themselves stuck with their pipeline’s growth. And once you’ve been able to acquire accounts, thanks to your social proximity strategy, there’s no stopping you from reaching higher and going after the big fish.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.