The role of social media in selling

FarahnooshFarahnoosh Berahman is a Sales Manager at Infobip, a global telecommunications specialist providing a mobile services cloud for enterprises and mobile operators. She earned an MSc in Human Resource Management at the University of Southampton and became interested in social media while doing research for her master’s dissertation on Social Media Recruitment. She keeps her knowledge of social media up-to-date and utilises it in her daily activities.

Farahnoosh says:

“Social selling is no longer optional for Sales Professionals. Social media has provided the sales reps with the opportunity to research their prospects, engage more intelligently, and build long lasting relationships. It has also enabled them to meet their prospects on the networks they actually use.

Social networks are the best way to learn about every company’s history, culture, number of employees, location and who their decision makers are. Most companies also post their latest news and achievements on social media becoming a better resource of information compared to mainstream media.

Social selling provides sales professionals with a great opportunity to build business cases according to relevant needs or opportunities found on social media as soon as the information is published transforming a sales pitch into a meaningful conversation.

This is how I use social selling:

  1. To research a company. It’s always useful to listen to mentions around a company on Twitter to find out if their clients are unsatisfied with their service or technology. This provides me with the best excuse to reach out to help them increase their customer satisfaction by presenting a solution to their current problems and position myself as a trusted advisor.
  1. To research decision makers. I read their tweets and search for keywords within their tweets mentioning key technological challenges that they might be facing. If they mention our competitors, which would provide me with valuable information to understand if they are currently looking for an alternate solution or of they are happy with their service.
  1. After doing my research, it’s time to reach out. LinkedIn has made this very easy, I simply send an InMail which has proven to be more effective than an email because sometimes people tend to be more open on social media (that’s why they are there). Also, LinkedIn is not considered a spam source (yet).
  1. If the person is active on Twitter, I mention them publicly. What I like about the Twitter environment is that when I send a tweet to a prospect it is like if I meet that person at a coffee shop while a LinkedIn InMail feels more corporate and formal. Most of the time, the relationship you build in a coffee shop is deeper and more personal.
  1. I am active on social media to keep my prospects informed. Whenever I post something about our products and services on LinkedIn, my prospects can see how great we are and it’s a reminder of how useful we could be for them.
  1. Finally, I use LinkedIn Sales Navigator which allows me to mark people as leads and receive news about any updates on their company, job position and articles they share which again provides me with extremely valuable information to reach out to them.

Overall, social media has changed the sales process in many organisations worldwide. These days no one likes to be approached by a salesperson on the phone and since people spend most of their time on social media, sales professionals have to simply find ways to take advantage of this reality.”

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