Article written by Ollie Whitfield.
The chances are you were desperate to jump in and get started, and you did that with your social media. You want leads and conversations, meetings and sales. The key thing though is your setup.
As I say very often, spend the time at the start and the rest will be easier. That applies 100% when you begin social selling. There is little to be gained by starting off curating and talking to people without goals.
You have a targeted persona to hit and also have the right assets in place to help you. Let's look at what else you can do prior to social selling that will help you.
It goes without saying, you need a good strategy. Work out who the buyers are, where they are on social and how to tap into them and their networks. Next, know the tools you need to do this.
For example, there are a lot out there but a very common one is Sales Navigator for LinkedIn. Maybe you want a Sales CRM, or already have one like SalesForce.
If you do, plugin Charlie App to SalesForce to ease prospecting and help you to get in the conversation or create it at the right time.
It’s hard to talk too much about strategy without knowing what your goal is, but that essentially is the definition of strategy. Know the goal, realise the route to getting there and put the stops and tools in place to get on the route as smoothly, efficiently and effectively as possible.
You can optimise the process later.
This is where I can tell you more precisely what you will likely be needing. I have experience of doing social selling with no paid tools, and it is not easy. Prospecting on LinkedIn’s free account is tough where you cannot find enough people before you hit the limit of profiles you can view per month.
Don’t do that, this is where you need to think ahead and get the tools you need ready.
Recommended: How to Create Epic Content for Social Selling
I would be thinking about LinkedIn Sales Navigator, a CRM that you may need to buy or are already using, social media posting tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, and optimising your social profiles before you start.
After you start to get these tools in place, you need a process. This will define how you work, the templated set of actions and criteria you need to work through in order to take a cold prospect up to being a hot lead.
Of course, the process will change and be optimised, and you do not have to rigidly stick to it. It is a guide and something to use to help you know what to do next, or what to do first even.
Ask me about creating your social selling process on social media…
In my experience, there is no substitute for spending time just doing it. Get rid of distractions and set out hours in your day to do specific tasks.
For me, Friday is prospecting day so I can start the week with momentum and my prospects are already being listened to over the weekend. Thursday is reporting day, where I look back at the results of the week, but apart from that, I am allowed to get on with it, so to speak.
That’s key, have the least amount of things to do that take you away from this work as you can. It’s my job all day, but when you are doing normal sales for your job and incorporating social selling you really need focus and the people around you to respect you are taking X amount of time out of the day and can’t be taken away during that time.
Get in the weeds, see what is working and what is not. Report back when there is something to share, and nail your process. It will work differently for every person because we are all different. Work out what works for you, and what you find is easiest but works best.
Once it is time, look back at what you have done, tried and achieved.
How many leads, sales, prospects, accounts, and many other metrics can you count? This is where the experience of doing what I call version 1 of your social selling process will help you have the experience to optimise and change it.
From the experience of the first few weeks, you will change it and add or remove tools or processes so that it works smoother.
Remember that if you are in the weeds you will go through all of this, and your thoughts matter. It is you who will see what works and what does not, what needs to change and what is important.
Your feedback will shape the success of your work and potentially your colleagues' efforts too.
I'd love to know which areas you are finding hardest to plan for, or where you are doing really well. Feel free to leave a comment below!
About the author: Ollie Whitfield
Ollie uses social selling every day to learn and develop new ways to create conversations and reach prospects. Outside of the office he's an avid Liverpool FC fan and regularly watches his local football team play or plays pool every week. You can connect with Ollie on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
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