According to recent data from the Social Media and Sales Quota report from Social Centered Selling, 78.6% of sellers using social selling outperformed those who didn’t. And social sellers were 23% more successful in terms of meeting and exceeding quota.
The question isn’t if social selling works. It’s how.
Many so-called “gurus” continue to talk about social selling as if it were limited to asking/answering questions in LinkedIn groups and monitoring customers' Twitter accounts while scanning for buying signals (“our server is down again”).
Good luck with that kind of strategy.
Social selling isn’t about gimmicks or using the same old tricks to get the meeting. It’s about a quiet revolution that is rapidly widening the gap between those who will succeed in sales tomorrow and those who will get left behind.
It’s about leveraging the power of technology so you can focus on what you do best—selling—instead of spending your time chasing after prospects who aren’t worthy of your time and devotion.
When I first started leveraging the power of technology to support my sales process, it was like seeing the world with entirely new eyes. Using social selling tools, I was able to get more done in less time, and with far greater results.
But getting there wasn’t easy. I had to sort through a whole load of fluff, so-called advice, and do a lot of trial and error in order to find the tools I use today, and the workflow they support.
In this post, I outline 5 tools I use that are fundamental cornerstones in my sales process—and without which I wouldn’t be nearly as successful following up with leads, filling my pipeline, and closing deals.
5 Social Selling Tools
Toutapp is like email on steroids. It’s the perfect tool for drafting, sending, tracking, and responding to emails. It’s more persona(b)le than marketing automation tools, yet far more productive than drafting individual emails. And it helps me know when a prospect has read my email, clicked links, and accessed the information I sent them, which allows me to follow up in a highly-customized way. You can set automated follow-ups, reminders on individual emails, and it integrates nicely with Salesforce.com (from what I’ve heard—I use a different CRM).
Almost the perfect complement to Toutapp, Postwire allows me to pull together custom resource pages for prospects, clients, partners, and whoever else I want or need to share information with. Using Postwire means I never have to send huge attachments, copy/paste documents, or ask myself, “I wonder if they got that bit of information I sent them?” Within 60 seconds, I can set up clean-looking resource pages that are completely customized, including links, audio, video, and documents in PDF format. And I can track who accessed them, when they did, and how often, which allows me to follow up at just the right time.
In spite of having a CRM system already in place (at a cost of several hundred dollars per month), Nimble is fast becoming my default CRM. Why? Simple. When it comes to having all my contacts in one place, there’s nothing that comes close. Nimble allows me to import and update profiles for prospects, clients, and everyone who’s important to my business. I can see their social media updates, link deals, manage my pipeline, set custom reminders for follow-ups, schedule tasks, monitor social streams, and send messages all in one place. Nimble has become the first thing I look at in the morning, and the last thing before I turn off the lights at night.
- SalesLoft Prospector
When it comes to pulling together targeted lists of prospects for specific outreach campaigns, Prospector is my go-to tool. Using Prospector, I can use a simple Google or LinkedIn search (e.g. Partner, Management Consulting, Greater London Area) to find and add potential leads I’m interested in reaching out to. Once uploaded, Prospector automatically starts enriching their profiles with e-mail addresses and phone numbers. It’s not perfect (seems to work better in the US than Europe), but on average it delivers good results—and it sure beats having to call the reception desk.
Just because we’re in the age of tech doesn’t mean personal relationships no longer matter. In fact, quite the opposite: in an ocean of information, mass spam, and marketing automation, the one message that stands out is a carefully crafted one that is delivered in a unique, personal way. (Update: VSnap was discontinued in March 2015.)
You could go old school and write a handwritten note.
Or you could send a short, personalized video. VSnap is a simple tool that allows me to send, record, and track brief video messages (up to 60 seconds) from my smartphone or desktop. If you get the paid version, you can include custom logos, e-mail templates, a custom “from” e-mail address, and (for organizations) access to advanced reporting features.
Recording and sending a personal video takes all of two minutes—and it gets delivered seconds later.
Are these tools perfect? No. Is a better approach possible? Sure. But the great thing about using these tools is that they’re easy, fast, cheap, and the combined results are (vastly) greater than the parts.
PS. All tools included in this overview either offer a free version, or a limited period trial. I use them every day (or so). And I don’t get paid, own shares, or otherwise benefit from recommending them.