Social selling skills are not skills that come naturally to everyone. It's easy to see why: the skillset is new and changing, and it can feel like a balancing act of old-school sales skills and more contemporary social media strategies.
Some people work well with both, while others find themselves more comfortable in one area or the other.
Whether you're wearing many hats and trying to become a better social seller yourself or want to grow your team (and you're ready for direct sales team building) understanding social selling comes first.
So, let's define it!
Social selling is a modern-day approach to lead generation and is an essential part of building relationships and trust with your target audience.
The old sales model was cold calls, qualifying leads, and sales demos. Today, it's also about informing your audience, building your social networks, and engaging potential customers to boost sales.
In other words, it's a blend of content and social media marketing all rolled up together.
For those who want to try social selling as an approach for prospecting, increasing conversions, and closing sales, we recommend taking time, in the beginning, to work on expanding core competencies.
With that in mind, we've put together the following article with fifteen tactics to help you explore the essential skills your social selling team needs to succeed.
Do You Have A Social Selling Strategy?
Before getting into tactics, you need to develop an overall strategy. First, it ensures all the social sellers on your team are on the same page regarding how you plan to use social media and content to sell.
Second, it allows you to focus and prioritize your efforts by outlining what you want to achieve. This could be anything from growing a new market or customer base, penetrating an existing market more deeply, increasing product awareness, or generating leads.
Remember! Social selling skills are excellent, but using them without a plan is a bit like trying to navigate a forest trail in the dark without a flashlight. You have the skills necessary to walk and move forward, but it's easy to get lost when you can't see where you're going.
Moreover, your key performance indicators (KPIs) will likely be off without a good roadmap. And, if you don't have sales, you won't have cash flow, which means you can't grow. That's why taking the time to outline your strategy is a best practice.
In order to build a successful social selling team, you'll need more than just warm leads. A well-rounded social salesperson will have the skills necessary to convert prospects into customers and drive revenue opportunities for your business.
The following fifteen soft and hard skills are a great place to start when conducting direct sales recruiting trying out different members of your current staff in a social selling capacity.
1) The Ability To Conduct Research
Developing great research skills is essential for being an adept social seller. In fact, gathering the right kind of information before speaking with team members or customers is a great way to ensure you're seen as a legitimate authority when you engage with them.
It can help build rapport with potential buyers, increasing credibility and trust in what is often an industry where both are hard to come by.
2) Content Marketing
As content marketing grows in importance, you and your team need to be a part of the conversation. You need a strategy that matches your needs and objectives.
You need to recognize what times certain content will be most valuable in generating interest, nurturing leads, and helping sales team members close more deals—all by delivering relevant information about your company or product on demand.
3) Inbound Marketing
In a world where inbound marketing is commonplace, it can be challenging to stand out from the pack. To make an impact and build your customer base, you'll need to master critical tasks, such as:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Ensuring your web pages are mobile-friendly
- Guest blogging
- Testing headlines; and
- Testing different calls to action
The exact strategies used will vary widely depending on what's most effective for your business. Still, all of them will help with drive organic website traffic and new followers on social media channels.
Once you've mastered these skills, you can try other things like setting up affiliate programs or partnering with influencers or brands with similar values as yours.
No matter how many tactics you employ, though, consistency and readiness to adapt will always be necessary if you want your company to grow by leaps and bounds!
4) Mobile Marketing
We've seen that people spend most of their time on their phones. That means you need to optimize all your ads, landing pages, videos, and the like for mobile devices. You should also deliver your content directly to people's phones.
Of course, that includes SMS text message marketing. If your business isn't implementing this form of marketing yet, now would be a great time to start!
You can use Shout as an easy way to schedule and send out mass texts with just one click. Regardless of the type of company you have or how many employees work there —you should seriously consider adding mobile marketing into the mix in 2022 (and beyond).
5) Understanding Customer Pain Points
To be a winner in today's dog-eat-dog marketplace and come out on top, it is essential that you know what your prospects and customers need help with.
Their main pains and frustrations should guide the research and training for product marketing. That's essential because everyone on your team needs to understand the customer's mindset to identify how to best position your products or services as the best solution for whatever the customer's problem happens to be.
6) Understanding What Your Customer Wants
Some might lump this in with understanding customer pain points, but there is a difference.
The power of customer knowledge and neuroscience in marketing and sales is to create better, more effective campaigns than ever before.
So how exactly is customer knowledge a skill? It starts by talking to your customers regularly and understanding what they value most about your solutions and why they keep choosing you over others. From there, you can strategically put that knowledge into practice.
You'll be able to target new customers while retaining old ones when you understand how they think.
7) Nurturing Leads
If you want to see the best results in your lead nurturing strategy, it's important that marketing and sales work together closely. Take a look at how your business is currently handling this process and come up with some improvements.
Do you have access to an account-based CRM? Does your team understand what constitutes a qualified or nonqualified lead? What about the handoff between inbound and outbound marketing strategies - does that need improvement?
Remember that you can help make your next lead nurturing campaign a hit by focusing on doing the following:
- Get in front of customers with relevant information
- Support their needs by offering solutions
- Offer continual delight through each stage (keep communications interesting!)
- Always be present and listen to what your customers/clients have to say
- Actively seek feedback so you can make necessary improvements
8) Using Social Selling Tools
Today's tools that are available to entrepreneurs and their teams can be overwhelming, but they shouldn't discourage you. Have you tried any of the following social selling tools? (Note that these tools can fall under different categories under the social selling umbrella.)
Customer Relationship Management Tools
Customer relationship management tools (CRMs), such as HubSpot, Slack, and Shout are essential to growing your sales. CRMs allow sales leaders to track the digital selling activities of sellers and provide opportunities for coaching them to improve results.
A powerful CRM allows sellers to capture, organize, and analyze leads while also providing integration with other marketing tools like marketing automation, social media, or even customer success processes.
One key feature on CRMs like Shout allows users to integrate various sales tools such as SMS group messaging in their marketing and sales efforts.
Relationship Intelligence Tools
These sorts of social selling tools are pretty new but they may be helpful for you or your sales leader to gain visibility into the depth of your customer relationships. For instance, they can help you know which stakeholders you should engage to maintain your current business, get new business, or expand your footprint.
Conversational Intelligence Tools
These tools are an excellent way for sales leaders to get insight into how their team members can improve. For instance, a few of these options leverage AI technology, which breaks down what percentage of a conversation a seller spoke, their most extended monolog, and how many questions they asked.
Some examples of these tools are Chorus.ai and Gong.io, which provide insights from recorded phone conversations with clients so that sales leaders can analyze them and provide relevant tips on how sellers can improve in the future.
Content Distribution Tools
You can easily curate and distribute content to your prospects and customers with the right tools.
For example, a content distribution tool will allow you to curate relevant content from various sources in a streamlined way that's easy for sharing with your network on social media platforms or directly with clients via email or SMS group messaging.
There are a lot of tools to choose from when it comes to managing your content distribution. Just a few are:
- EveryoneSocial; and
9) Pay-Per-Click Advertising
You may be wondering how mastering pay-per-click (PPC) ads is a social selling skill. The answer is that most, if not all, PPC ads run on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and more.
Outside of that, organic inbound traffic is significant, but it can take a long time to build it up. On the other hand, PPC ads can bring a ton of traffic in just about the blink of an eye when done correctly.
Don't make any assumptions about whether organic methods or paid traffic will work best for your business; instead, put thought into each process, test everything, and make any decisions based on data alone.
10) Understand SEO
Improving your website's traffic typically comes down to search engine optimization. Ideally, every social selling team would have someone who is an SEO expert. This person would help you create and implement an SEO strategy that increases the number of visitors coming from organic searches in search engines like Google.
With that said, even if you don’t happen to know an SEO expert, you can still develop a basic understanding of on-page SEO best practices. This understanding will help content you put out have a better chance of ranking higher in the search engines for lucrative keywords.
11) Conversion Rate Optimization
It's all well and good to have visitors come through your website, but conversion rate optimization is key if you want them to convert into customers or leads.
The conversion rate optimization process can be challenging because it requires a lot of experimentation—trying new things and pushing the envelope to get what works best for your audience.
Conversions can look like different things for different companies. For example, all of the following might be a conversion:
- Downloading content
- Filling out a form
- Responding to a text message
- Scheduling a consultation or demonstration; and
- Attending a webinar
12) Understanding Analytics
If you want to maximize your social selling team's time and effort, it's essential to use analytics. The ability to cut through online noise in pursuit of actionable consumer, market, and competitive intelligence is the mark of effective social analytics.
Interpreting analytical data can be a specialized skill. So, it may be beneficial to have one person on your team who is specifically in charge of tracking KPIs and analytics and understands what data points are valuable (and how to track them). That person can then report with any insights they find.
13) The Ability To Problem Solve
Entrepreneurs understand this skill better than most. It's like an inborn talent.
With that said, thinking critically and a bit outside the box is valuable. The awesome thing here is that it's a skill, which can be learned. By ensuring that your team has great problem-solving abilities, you embrace the potential for growth.
Speaking of problem-solving, make it a priority to evaluate all areas of your marketing efforts regularly, and stay focused on what customers want from you.
When ads stop working or people skip over your content, dig into why that's happening - once you identify any possible hangups, eliminate them! You'll provide better customer experiences, and your overall outcomes will improve.
14) Learn How To Tell Stories
How do you find stories that will resonate with your customers? That's the million-dollar question. There is no one answer for this, but there are some things to consider when looking at what makes a story worth telling in marketing communications.
First of all, it should be authentic and compelling—so if you have people on your team who can help craft these narratives or collaborate with other professionals like journalists or creatives, then go for it!
Another way to begin might be by using content curators. Suppose you know the right places where you can grab inspiration for relevant storytelling material. In that case, you can use it to craft interesting narratives that illustrate whatever point you'd like to make.
A few great places to find inspiration storytelling inspiration are:
- Reddit subreddits (you can find a subreddit on just about any topic)
- Facebook groups (or an alternative)
15) Collaboration And Teamwork
You might not feel like how you interact with others on your team can be a skill, but it is.
The more you understand your team's strengths, and how they work together, the happier and more creative everyone gets to be. The more everyone works well together, the more content, campaigns, and conversions you'll create that actually move the needle.
At the end of the day, the main idea is that if you want to build a strong selling team, the best way is through understanding and collaboration. Have your entire team understand each other's roles, know what boundaries exist between them, and ensure everyone shares the same goals for success.
Social selling is a relatively new concept, which consists of salespeople leveraging social platforms to engage with prospective clients and share thoughtful content.
It's all about increasing sales. Although it may seem challenging at first, this approach has been shown to work time and time again. As social platforms continue to rise in popularity, so does social selling as a process for making connections with potential customers and converting them into buyers.
A major takeaway here is that social selling doesn’t have to be hard. It does take effort, but what marketing or sales effort doesn’t? By incorporating the fifteen skills we discussed in this article, you can up your game and ultimately make yourself and your team better social sellers.
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