Inbound marketers have jumped on the idea of using social media to spread content, and generate traffic and leads. But is your sales team making the most of all the social media tools and features out there? Maybe. Maybe not.
Believe it or not, social media can be utilized all the way through the bottom of the sales and marketing funnel, helping your sales organization close more deals, more easily. And the best part? Social networks are coming out with little new features all the time that make Sales' life easier. So cozy in and take a little tour with me on some of the social features you may -- or may not -- know about that could help close some more sales before the end of the month. And please, share your cool social tools and tips with us in the comments!
1) LinkedIn "In Common With"
Wouldn't it be nice to pick up the phone to talk to a lead, and already have something in common ground with them so you can start off on the right foot, and build strong rapport? If you're already connected with a lead, using the "In Common With" feature on LinkedIn is perfect for seeing what groups, networks, or skills you have in common. This decreases the cold call feel of talking to a new lead for the first time, since you can have something to talk about right off the bat. Use your common traits or experiences to have an intelligent discussion about things you both know about.
To find this feature on LinkedIn, go to the right hand column on the person's LinkedIn profile. Scroll about halfway down, and you'll see something like this:
When you hover over one of things you have in common, it provides more specific details about your similarity. Focus on similarities that will be most useful in advancing the sales conversation forward.
2) LinkedIn "How You're Connected"
That's all well and good when you're already connected to a lead, but what happens when you're not LinkedIn connections yet? Another lovely feature of LinkedIn is that it details how people are connected to one another. You can easily see what connections you have in common -- via first degree connections -- or how far out of your network someone is via second or third degree connections.
The "How You're Connected" feature turns up any time you're looking at someone's profile who isn't in your network. It diagrams which of your connections links you to the person you're viewing, like so:
Use this tool to get an introduction to your lead if you're not already connected to them. You can use the "Get Introduced" button to have one of your connections make a natural introduction for you. A box will pop up, allowing you to choose you which of your connections (if you have more than one) you'd like to introduce you.
This tool could help you get a foot in the door with someone you don't know yet, show a lead you've been communicating with that their account is top of mind, or even reawaken a lead who has stalled on responding to some of your communications.
However you use is, it's a fantastic way to smoothly begin a conversation with a lead in a natural, unintimidating manner. People are a lot more willing to listen if they know you share trusted connections.
3) Twitter Lists
Twitter is full of little tricks that make quickly connecting with people and following trends a piece of cake. Twitter's "Lists" feature provides a simple way for users to categorize all this stuff, and view it in a separate timeline. Salespeople can use this to monitor their leads -- all in one location -- and track topics they're currently interested in. The more you know and understand a lead before calling, the easier it'll be to focus around what they need and how you can solve their problem. And because Twitter is a real-time social network, you can meet the needs of your leads right at their pain point if you monitor your Lists.
To get to Twitter Lists, go to your Twitter homepage toolbar, and click on the little machine-like icon. It's a drop-down menu that will bring you to your Lists. Here, you can create and manage your Twitter Lists, as well as see what lists you're a member of.
Once you've created your list -- Dinosaur Enthusiasts, obviously -- you can start finding people to add to your list, and get started finding out more about your leads. If, you know, you're selling to dinosaur enthusiasts ;-)
4) Monitor Twitter Hashtags Through HootSuite
Or whatever tool you prefer for monitoring hashtags. Similar to making lists of leads to organize and track what's trending in your field, HootSuite makes it easy to monitor Twitter hashtags or other key phrases you want to be on the lookout for. With this tool, you can keep track of problems your leads may be having as well as what people are thinking about your brand versus competitors. Use this information to give purpose to your sales pitch and make it relevant to your lead.
From your HootSuite streams page, you can either add a new tab or work within one you already have set up. Simply click the "Add Stream" button in the top left corner, and then use the Keyword tab to add up to 3 phrases, keywords, or hashtags you want to track. You can have up to ten streams per tab, making it easy to track as many hashtags as you want.
5) LinkedIn Skills & Expertise
That's right, we got more LinkedIn on the list! Hey, it's a great tool, what can we say.
When making a sales call, it's incredibly useful to know what your lead's areas of expertise are. Luckily, LinkedIn has a place that lets you do this, called Skills & Expertise. The Skills & Expertise box is located below the Experience section in the main part of someone's profile page -- if you can't find it, just keep scrolling. It's all the way at the bottom. The section ranks skills from most to least endorsed to make highest endorsed skills very prominent. To the right of the skill it shows everyone who has endorsed that person for that.
Knowing this information gives you the ability to play to their strengths -- and avoid your weaknesses -- and talk intelligently about a particular subject, even offering tips about a subject matter they're interested in. At the very least, this is a great way to get a lead to open up, particularly for those with a more consultative sales approach. Who doesn't love talking about the stuff they're good at?
6) HubSpot Social Media Interactions
If you're using HubSpot, the social media tool helps you track and analyze everything that's happening with your social media efforts in one setting. Salespeople in particular can use the "Engaged Contacts" to learn more about their leads, who is interacting with each post, and what they have to say. This is excellent for leads who are anywhere in your sales funnel -- remember, social media fans and followers could be prospects, or already in talks with a sales rep.
HubSpot's social media page shows a history of all posts you've made to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and allows you to view your past posts based on time, channel, or campaign. Plus, it lets you see people you don't know yet, as well as contacts in your database!
After determining which post you want to see the engaged contacts for, simply click on the post for more detailed information. You will see the total number of clicks, engaged contacts, and channel interactions in the top box. Directly underneath will be the box of engaged contacts with information on when they saw the post and what type of contact they are. For more information on other interactions a specific lead has had with your website, click on their name to be taken to their timeline history within the contacts setting of the HubSpot software.
The question-and-answer service Quora provides a wealth of information for salespeople to use when researching and preparing to call a lead. If your lead is on the site, their profile is a great way to determine both questions they have, and what they're most knowledgeable in. Use your newfound knowledge about your lead to solve problems they're having before they even mention them. Additionally, you can establish your thought leadership credibility by being an active participant on Quora, answering questions about the subject matters your leads want to know more about. This positions you as an educational resource, instead of someone looking to give the hard sell.
When viewing someone's Quora profile, you'll be able to see a variety of info about them and their Quora activities -- check out the Questions and Answers sections, as well as the Topics, to get an idea what your lead cares about (and knows about).
Using the Questions and Answers tabs, you'll be able to see all questions that person has posted and responded to. Dig through the questions your lead has asked and see how people have answered them, so you're providing new ideas and advice when you suggest a solution during your conversations.
What other social media tools and features do you use to help boost sales?
Image credit: Coty Smith