Are you there Social? It’s me, Sales
Whether you’re a soloprenuer or managing social for a company with a sales team, for most people, the goal of social is to bring customers in to your sphere, and get them ready for a sale.
If that involves anything more than self-serve, then Social can really help make the sales process easier for everyone — the rest of marketing, sales and even the customers themselves.
That’s because as a social marketer, you have a unique view of your market.
You know better than anyone what categories of potential customers are consuming what types of content, and because you’re the one curating and amplifying it, you have the best view of anyone in your organization of what content is being created.
As a marketer turned sales startup founder, I can testify that Sales would appreciate any help you can give them.
After all, we’re all on the same team. Right?
What Sales Wants
It’s not easy finding out what Sales wants, because (a) they don’t know what’s available and (b) they really don’t know what works.
The key is, as a social marketer, you have a huge advantage over the content marketing folks, because your content comes externally validated. This is so much more valuable than what the content team can generate in-house, because that stuff is inherently biased, and thus discounted by customers.
So try these simple tips to get on the same page with Sales and think beyond your own content library and more to where your content has been amplified by others, and/or where Sales can find industry influencers (or even just other industry people) whose social messages reenforce the points they’re trying to get across to their customers.
Talk it through
The first step is to ask for a meeting with the head of sales and one or two of your best sales reps. Say you want the meeting to listen to them and learn what types of validation they need out in the field to help close sales faster.
There’s a good chance that you know about some killer content that would totally seal the deal, but they just didn’t know about it, and you didn’t know they wanted it.
After you’ve found the easy stuff, it’s time to go deep
- Ask if they have a sales playbook.
This is a guide that walks new reps through a typical sales cycle. Most playbooks will have a section on objection handling. This is value-add gold for you. Take a look at the objections, and offer up some social validation to support the objection response.
- Ask about their industry influencers
Put those leaders on a whiteboard or a shared spot where you and the team can see it. Then make it your business to get those leaders to engage with your brand. Make sure you tag the reps when you get a bite so they know it happened. You know the drill.
- Share your editorial calendar
Ask the sales team to prioritize your ideas, ask which ideas would do best for which kinds of customer / situation they’re facing. Double check nothing is missing.
- Be proactive about updating the sales team
Tell them when you post relevant content or when one of your target influencers finally retweets you. Sales is heads down in the trench, and they may well miss it.
- Tag your Edgar library
Make it easy to help Reps find the perfect content. For example, identify common objections and tag posts that are helpful in overcoming that objection. Tagging by industry and ICP is also super helpful when Reps are looking for examples to impress prospects.
- Sit in on a sales call
Ideally you can sit in on a call to make sure that customers really are saying what sales says they’re saying. Just promise you won’t say a word.
Case studies are gold
Great social proof makes all the difference when reps are validating claims post-demo. And don’t forget that it’s those exact same reasons that case studies are also the most valuable social content for inbound.
As a social marketer, you may not have case studies under your job description, but they’re so unbelievably valuable, that if you really want to be the most help possible to sales, you should make it happen anyway.
- Make a commitment in your blog editorial calendar to interview a customer: monthly, quarterly, as long as its regular
- Get customers to participate with your leadership in podcasts, especially those hosted by industry influencers. Everyone loves customers, and everyone benefits from the exposure.
- Dial up case studies in your Edgar rotation.
- Keep em to two pages, use nice big quotes, and share any numbers you can that lead back to increasing revenue.
Amplify your Sales Team For Them
One technique we’ve seen is to leverage the social channels of your own sales team.
With Edgar, this is so much easier, as you can just add each rep’s social profiles as one of your Edgar channels, ready to be programmed with perfect content.
Once you’ve got access to their profile, just curate a personalized feed that matches each rep’s target customers as closely as possible.
You not only have a new channel amplify the main brand, you’re also making a real difference to the social value of your reps by making them more relevant, erudite, and plain cooler.
Finally — and this is no small thing — with their social in the hands of the professionals, there’s less risk of a sales guy posting something inappropriate that reflects badly on the company.
Everything in one place creates context and a better buying experience
When you’re working with the sales team, make sure you plan past the first demo. Ideally your sales team is using some kind of collaboration tool to share docs over the entire sales cycle. For example, DealPoint lets you share videos, PDFS, and links in a unique spot
—> This wouldn’t be a guest blog if there wasn’t something in it for me. DealPoint… DealPoint!
A final comment: DON’T JUST DO WHATEVER SALES ASKS
Any sales leader will tell you sales rep have shiny object syndrome, where they’ll chase whatever is the most recent, most immediate thing in front of them. This means they’re not the most strategic thinkers. So take their input, but remember it’s only one input.
You have a better view of macro trends and what’s coming up on the horizon, so share your professional expertise and don’t be afraid to push back.