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Use Social Selling for Competitive Intelligence

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks
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Social Selling

Social Selling is the most powerful sales methodology since the advent of email. Sales reps across North America are learning to blog, make videos and start conversations on LinkedIn. Many progressive marketing departments are now using social monitoring tools like Radian6 to listen for opportunities or threats. The question is, how are they listening and what are they listening to?

Our client Cision is the largest PR & Communications software company in the world. They own CisionPoint, a full-service PR & Communications tool designed to aid the PR process. Part of this process includes media monitoring, in which Radian6 is a tool within CisionPoint. Social Media monitoring is fantastic, but most companies are monitoring themselves, not their competition. We’ve all heard that you “shouldn’t care about your competition”, but social media has made your competitors easy targets.

Every day, your team is missing the opportunities and threats that your competition has placed into cyber space for you to grab. What if you knew a prospect was finally interested in reviewing vendors, or your client has been shopping competitive bids? It’s all opportunities for you – if you knew how to grab it.

We believe that if you can’t be first, be smarter. That means that beyond monitoring your company name or industry buzzwords, monitor anything that cost you dollars. Who costs you dollars??? Yes it’s your competitive corporation, but most importantly it’s the sales reps AT your competitive corporation. These sales reps are giving ammunition to your prospects and clients to use against your sales reps. Why are you not taking action?

What should we be monitoring?

  • Keywords –
    This is basic and you’re most likely doing this. This has Google Alerts value by finding interesting articles, and maybe catching a market change or two.
  • Keywords with “wondering”, “looking for”, “?” –
    Think like someone would Tweet; add statements and questions to uncover the most pertinent opportunities. These questions need to be answered by someone, hopefully that’s you.
  • Competitors Names –
    Any changes with those companies, you’ll know about it.
  • Clients Names –
    Very important, we recently found out on multiple occasions that our recruiting deals would be on hold because of M&A activity. All from monitoring.
  • Prospects Names –
    This is exactly what talks about when discussing Trigger Events from Sales Intelligence. See opportunities that allows you to start conversations with prospects.
  • Competitive Sales Reps Names –
    Break their sales departments into teams, pre and post sales. By monitoring competitive sales reps, you can determine what social activity may constitute prospective buyers versus clients. Now you can attack these opportunities based on their probable experience with your competitor.

The Bottom Line

If you Google “Competitive Intelligence”, you’ll notice the last 12 months has been abuzz talking about LinkedIn and Twitter as a “CI tool”. Using social media for CI is still very, very early days. The question now remains; does your team want to be the hunter or the prey?

If you don’t want to be left behind the 8 ball – you need to start to take action. The following dozen blog posts on utilizing social selling strategies and LinkedIn can help you start but if you are looking for some hidden gems on how you can attract a very specific prospect, I recommend you check out 10 Steps to Building a Social Selling Machine.

 

Jamie Shanks

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