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Arment Dietrich

Three Tips to Align Your Sales Efforts with Social Media

By: Arment Dietrich | September 29, 2010 | 
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Guest post by Douglas Davidoff, founder and CEO of Imagine Business Development.

Are your sales efforts aligned with your social media strategy?

Your company’s Facebook page is alive, active and people are “liking” it. You have multiple people tweeting, and comments are regularly being posted to your blog. Your social media strategy is alive and engaging.

Now take a look at the rest of your sales and marketing activities.

  • Are your ads different than your competitor’s ads? Do they fit with and support the engagement you are trying to create with your social media?
  • Are your salespeople asking the same boring questions that other salespeople ask? Or are they focused on selling your stuff or deepening their understanding of customers and prospects?
  • Are your account managers and customer service people merely responding to issues or are they deepening their knowledge to create new opportunities for both you and your customers?

I’m a huge fan of social media. I love the opportunity it creates to engage your customers, your prospects, and your customers’/prospects’ customers and prospects. For more than 15 years I’ve been advocating that we kill the advertising mindset and focus instead on influencing.

However, the vast majority of social media efforts are wasted because the company has not aligned its sales efforts with the image it is creating through its social media efforts. This misalignment confuses your customers and causes prospects to throw you into the commodity basket of competition.

Implementing an effective social media strategy requires a significant investment of time and effort. To ensure that you maximize the return on that investment, be deliberate in aligning your sales effort with your social media strategy.

Here are three ideas to help you align:

  1. Your salespeople should stop focusing on selling and should, instead, focus on helping your customers/prospects achieve their desired results. If you’re doing a great job being a resource to your followers and then, out of the blue, they receive a typical cold call, you’ve just destroyed the effort.Instead, ensure that every interaction your salespeople have with customers creates value in a meaningful way – whether or not they buy.
  2. Stop focusing your message on your solution and instead focus on helping your customers/prospects understand their problems. Just yesterday I had a client of mine explain that the problem he was having was that too many prospects were sitting around “fat, dumb, and happy” thinking they didn’t have a problem, when, in fact, they do.Instead of having your salespeople out there peddling your products and services, teach them to help the customers effectively diagnose their problems.
  3. The key to differentiating is being different. In sales, unfortunately, the best way to be different is to transform your salespeople into business people who sell. Your customers/prospects don’t have the time to hear your sales pitches.Invest in the business acumen of your salespeople. Then they can stop babbling and start having meaningful conversations.

What else can you do to align your sales efforts with your social media strategy?

Douglas Davidoff is the founder and CEO of Imagine Business Development in Severna Park, Md. He works with companies desiring fast growth who want to hear the truth about achieving it.

6 comments
Christina Pappas
Christina Pappas

This blog is spot on. The only way to really use social media effectively regardless of channel, is to help. Whether that is by participating in a discussion, passing on useful articles and tips or answering questions, the key is to help. I think social media and lead nurturing are very similar in that they build up credentials for your business as a thought-leader and someone who wants to provide useful information to help people do a better job.

I like the idea of letting prospects know they have a problem. Often times people (and I do it myself) have a way of doing things that isn't necessarily 'broken' but we don't know that it could be better. This is where your customers are going to stand out.

One thing that sales or account management could help with is pointing prospects to the company's social media sites. Prospect not ready? Check out our blog, you might find the information useful to your job. Then get customer's to interact with you and talk about you. Vendors should not self-promote, but there is no harm in a happy customer saying 'check out xyz'.

Doug Davidoff
Doug Davidoff

Great points Christina. Thanks for the comments.

Doug Davidoff
Doug Davidoff

Great comments - thanks.

Listening is absolutely critical - in both social media and selling. A key point, especially in sales situations, is to make sure you are listening for what isn't being said, as that is often where the real opportunity lies.

Remember that the really valuable knowledge comes after asking the 3rd, 4th, or even 5th follow up question on a point.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

I'd add one thing: Listen! It's amazing what you learn when you ask a lot of questions and really listen. People love to talk and you never know when that gem comes out that is going to help you figure out where their pain is and how you can help.

Les
Les

Gini you're exactly right. The shortest course on selling is Ask Questions and listen. Listen with the intent to understand!

Brad Farris
Brad Farris

If you demonstrate that you understand someone's problem the assume that you can fix it. It's much easier to empathize and connect with a customer, and let them ask you, "What can we do to solve that problem?" than it is to "sell them your solution".

Great post Doug, social media gives us lots of chances to demonstrate that before we even meet the prospect!

Brad