Social Selling 101 With SMARTASSISTANT’s Karly Neveu
Collin Stewart, CEO
26 April 2018
If you’ve been in the trenches of sales development over the last few years, you’ve surely evaluated, and potentially implemented, social selling tactics into your prospecting.
We are, after all, creatures of various (maybe all?) social media platforms. So too are businesses. Companies large and small, regardless of vertical, are active on social to better share their ever-evolving story and engage with their audiences.
But although social selling has been a top-of-mind practice for a while, it remains somewhat of a mystery for many slogging through a cadence on a day-to-day basis. Is it regularly posting on LinkedIn? Scheduling informative Tweets? Leveraging InMail’s? Following the companies you sell to?
All of the above?
Well, yes. Social selling involves all of those things. But, before delving into the specific ways you can execute social selling, it’s important to first look at the philosophy that governs the practice. Sure, you have to be active on social media, but effective social selling requires you to become part of the online community you sell to.
You have to listen, be relevant, and offer value with everything you do.
“It’s about creating the voice for the company and the industry. With social selling, if you’re only talking about yourself and what you’ve done, is that really of interest to the industry? I’m not sure,” says Karly Neveu, Director of Inside Sales and Sales Operations at SMARTASSISTANT, on recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.
“So, I like to be more industry specific now, and share that with my team. Long term, on LinkedIn, if you have relevant industry examples, that is what I consider valuable social selling today. It has to be succinct, and relevant. But, I also still want to share things that I’m interested in as well, aside from the industry and the business.”
It’s nearly impossible to discuss social selling and not mention Hootsuite. Neveu, prior to joining SMARTASSISTANT, was a longtime employee of the Vancouver-based unicorn. She joined the company as it’s second SDR, and rose through the ranks to such roles as Account Executive, SDR Manager and Global Inside Sales Manager.
As Global Inside Sales Manager, she started and built a mid-market sales team from just two salespeople to 25 when she left.
That’s tremendous growth, and reflective of just how many companies became active on social media during that time.
“What I was most proud of there was taking a couple really successful SDRs and creating that new team.I worked on that for two years. By the time I left there was 20-25 people on the team, with plans to grow indefinitely,” says Neveu.
“We just had so much fun doing it. It was the team that put their brains together and decided what type of companies to go after.”
Getting people’s attention
The proliferation of corporate social profiles has given salespeople more information about their accounts than ever before. For example, a robust Twitter profile for a retailer will routinely share information on new promotions, new locations, or new products.
That intel, of course, is great fodder for an email, a LinkedIn message, or, better yet, a social post from the salesperson themselves. It shows you know your prospect, you’re doing your homework, and you’re working hard to stand out from the crowd.
After all, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?
“It’s such a noisy world. I mean, my inbox is full of people reaching out, and their only sending emails. I know I’m just a name on a list,” says Neveu.
“So, what I liked to do was follow the prospect itself, and follow the contact. So when the time was right, I could add value. For example, if we had a webinar, I could send a Tweet to invite them and include as an “at” mention. Or, if there was an event I would Tweet to them and let them know I hoped to see them there. This is different than just hounding them for a meeting.”
It’s also more fun, adds Neveu. Prospecting, as well know, can be a grind. And, for those prospects getting canned emails and aggressive requests to chat, it can be exhausting. Social selling, on the other hand, can be genuinely engaging and a refreshing addition to a cadence.
“Make it interesting for your leads. When I started at Hootsuite, I saw an email going out that had a Gordon Ramsey GIF in it. I came from wealth management, one of the most rigid industries. I was terrified,” says Neveu.
“But, it works.”
Real world tactics
Okay, so, we know why our team should be interested and engaged in social selling. And, we know a few of the basic requirements (get on social!) to play ball.
But, what does social selling look like on the ground? What are some of tips and tricks frontline salespeople can include in their work?
To start, get comfortable with Twitter lists. These are collections of curated accounts of prospects, grouped by their roles and industries. For example, when Neveu worked at Hootsuite, she often sold to colleges and universities. So, accessing a Twitter list of marketing and communication professionals in higher education is a perfect way to get leads and, most importantly, understand the issues the community is talking about.
Again, that intel is great fodder for prospecting. And armed with that information, you immediately become timely, relevant, and informed.
The good news is, you don’t have to individually follow each of the people on whatever list you choose to use. And, better yet, you don’t even have to put those lists together yourself (although it’s very easy to do so). There are lists compiled for nearly every group you can think of and you can use any of them that apply to you.
“Go and find that list,” Neveu adds.
“Someone has already done all the work.”
You can also use Geocoding to see what people in a certain geographic range are talking about on social. This option is great for following specific high-profile events that you can’t attend in person. For instance, you could see a prospect raving about the keynote address, and you can share information with your VP of sales, who happens to be at the event.
Again, you’ve helped start a relevant conversation. Social has given you a window into a discussion that you would not have seen otherwise. Of course, there’s no guarantee you get a deal done because you included info you gleaned from a Twitter feed.
But, you will stand out. And standing out increases your odds of getting a response. And, getting a response increases your odds of getting a deal.
And, after all, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?