The world has changed. Nothing gets drilled in your head more than that at Dreamforce.
Sales and marketing is no stranger to this trend. First, the Internet and instantaneous access to information upended the sales cycle. Now, we’re undergoing a social revolution, where buyers can easily access your product, get comparisons, find reviews, but also find answers from peers and people they respect.
This has birthed a new concept: social selling. That’s what Eloqua’s CEO, Joe Payne, and LinkedIn’s Vice President of Marketing, Nick Besbeas, discussed during a join session at Dreamforce ’12 yesterday. These disruptions mean getting a name and email won’t cut it. Businesses need to know who buyers are, what they do, and whom they trust.
But what does that look like in action? Luckily, social selling savant, Jill Rowley, was around to give a demo. She gave a glimpse into what a day of social selling looks like.
1. Using tools like Google Alerts, Jill tracks changes happening inside key targets. Recently, one of these targets, which had passed the first time around, brought in a new CEO. “When leadership changes, it’s time to re-engage,” Jill noted.
2. Next, Jill does her research. She plunges into her CRM, reviewing the contact to see what previous conversations have taken place. This ensures that when she engages, she’ll know their needs, wants and what they may have found lacking the last time around.
3. Jill then hits LinkedIn, and hits it hard. She doesn’t simply search for the targeted logo, but examines her own network to find potential connections. Turns out, a director (let’s call him Bob) at the company is part of her college alumni network. Time to fire up the school spirit.
4. Being sure to mention their shared college experience, Jill sends a message to Bob, explaining what value she can bring the company and asking for a call. He accepts and takes a short call. He’s not the person who would make a buying decision for Jill’s product, but he sends an instant message to a fellow director (let’s call him Adam) who could. Bob emails his colleague, setting up an intro between Adam and Jill.
5. Jill emails Adam. But she doesn’t brag. Instead, she passes on relevant content that will help meet short-term needs now. Adam has been struggling with lead management, so she sends him a branded guide on the subject along with a link to a blog post written by a current customer.
6. Adam replies, so Jill goes into Eloqua Engage. There she accesses an email template for an event Eloqua is throwing in Adam’s region. She customizes the email, making sure it appeals to Adam directly, and the interaction is immediately recorded in CRM.
7. An affirmative reply comes back from Adam. He’s now automatically marked as a hot lead. Jill jumps into Eloqua Discover, Jill keeps track of how he’s engaging the brand – what pages on the site he’s visiting, what guides and eBooks he’s downloading, which forms he’s filled out. She sets up alerts so any time anyone from Adam’s company visits an Eloqua website, she’ll know it instantly.
8. Finally, Jill heads back to LinkedIn to find people who else connected to Adam. Maybe an influencer she knows, or a current customer. She discovers that a former colleague of Adam’s is heading to that same event. Jill sends out another email letting Adam know this, giving him extra incentive to make the drive.
The results? Adam made his way to the event and is now deep in the sales cycle. Using a mix of sales intelligence tools and social networking, Jill was able to pair relevant content with personal connections to build a real relationship with a prospect. It involves many steps, but each is worth taking.
How about you? Do you use social to sell? Offer tips in the comments below!
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