Hack The Social Selling Game: A Sales Leader's Guide To Engage The Modern Buyer

We've collated a complete guide to social selling Sales leaders can put to good use and engage with potential customers maximizing sales and their bottom line.

Discover social selling secrets such as:

  • How to convince executives
  • Importance of building brand awareness
  • The PVC Sales Methodology
Hack The Social Selling Game: A Sales Leader's Guide To Engage The Modern Buyer

If you aren’t using social selling within your sales strategies, then you are missing out. Social selling can span various channels depending on where your audience is. From using social media post scheduling to knowing all about LinkedIn messaging limits, there is a lot you need to know to effectively use social selling. 

To make this type of marketing easier, we’ve collated a complete guide to social selling. Sales leaders can put this to good use, maximizing sales and their bottom line.

What Is Social Selling?


Before you can get into specific aspects of social selling like LinkedIn event tracking or social media post templates, you need to understand what social selling is. Social selling relies heavily on social media platforms. With it, you aim to expand existing relationships and start more conversations about sales. 

With social selling, you leverage social media to connect and engage with potential customers. You then turn that engagement and those connections into sales via your sales funnel. Social selling will start on a social media platform, but it should be part of multichannel marketing. As such, you can start the conversation on social media and then continue it somewhere else, like via email. 

Importantly, you aim to build at least a small connection before interacting with the prospect somewhere else. For example, you’ll begin the relationship when you automate LinkedIn connections with personalization. Then, you build a relationship with them. Only then do you reach out with the sales technique or schedule a phone call, video call, or in-person meeting. 

While you can incorporate LinkedIn automation tools into social selling, you never do so without personalization. Social selling requires personalization to build relationships. You don’t want a cookie-cutter mass message. 

Alfred allows for a high level of customization and personalization when you automate LinkedIn messages. You can easily personalize a warm or cold emailing template with a person’s name, industry, job title, and company name. Alfred even lets you import a .csv file of your leads to add even more personalization. Alfred will capture any additional columns in the file, enhancing your personalized LinkedIn messages and helping you build a personal connection. 

What is Social Selling?

The Importance of Social Selling


As you create LinkedIn campaigns incorporating social selling, you should understand the importance of this type of selling. The knowledge of its benefits will provide you with the motivation and guidance to stay on track across multiple marketing channels, with an obvious focus on LinkedIn and other social media channels. 

Simply put, social selling is essential to getting your company on the prospect’s radar. This is crucial given how much time prospects spend researching the options before deciding. With a solid strategy and marketing campaign management, you become one of the trusted resources prospects use during that research.

Social Selling Makes Personalization Easy

We’ve already mentioned personalization, but this is important enough to be a separate point. Since you want to build relationships with social selling, it is a great opportunity for personalization. Sending a personalized LinkedIn connection request improves the response rate, as well as your ability to go hand-in-hand. 

And it is easy to personalize with social selling. After all, you are focusing on an individual, not a massive group of people. You can take the lessons you learn about personalization in your LinkedIn campaigns and apply it to other types of marketing to improve your results. For example, use it as a lesson in the importance of segmenting your email list or using cookies to make product suggestions. 

Part of social selling is building a connection or relationship with the prospect before pushing the sale. Alfred’s Greetings feature is an excellent way to do this. It lets you automate customized messages to send on connections’ birthdays or when they change jobs, have a job anniversary, or endorse you. This way, you never forget to send congratulations, a crucial part of maintaining a relationship.

Social Selling Includes Social Listening

In addition to giving you practice with marketing personalization, social selling also lets you hone your social listening skills. This is an important part of any marketing process as it helps ensure that you fully understand your prospects and target audience. Your marketing team hopefully uses social listening to craft client personas and create strategies to target them. 

Social listening is also crucial for sales leaders. After all, you need to know how to frame your products or services to make them as appealing as possible to prospects. The practice you get from following and interacting with your prospects on social media via social selling will help guide this listening in other areas as well. 

Social listening and personalization go hand-in-hand, as you use social listening to determine what type of personalization to use. For example, you see a prospect make a LinkedIn post about their pain point. Then, you could send them a LinkedIn connection message offering a whitepaper or a link to an article that helps them overcome the pain point.


How to Start Using Social Selling


One of the keys to using social selling successfully is ensuring that you have the support in place to do it. You will need a place in the budget and room in your daily schedule to integrate it. This can be easy or hard depending on your company.

How to Convince Executives

If you have to convince higher-ups in your organization to allocate the time and budget for social selling, you can use the points mentioned within this guide. But the two main points to highlight are that: 

  • The goal of social selling is engagement, not selling. You use it to engage modern buyers so that you can begin sales conversations. 
  • The sales team needs to change behaviors for success. 

To get those results, you will need a small initial investment. But you can always start social selling on a smaller scale and scale up as you get the hang of it and start to see the benefits. Maybe you will start with manual social selling, then eventually use a LinkedIn message automation tool with personalization features once you are ready to scale up. 

Get a head start with your social selling and other automated LinkedIn campaigns with Alfred’s vast template library. You will find hundreds of templates, all of which are 100% editable and can be personalized in multiple ways. 

How to start social selling

Successful Social Sellers Think Like Marketers


In most companies, the sales and marketing teams interact but are separate. Social selling involves more overlap than normal, as successful social sellers will think like marketers. They will make themselves (and your company) seem appealing to the prospect on social media. 

The key difference between how marketers think and how social sellers think is the scope of the relationship. Marketers need to craft a message that appeals to a large audience, then implement it via multi channel marketing automation. By contrast, social sellers just want to appeal to a single person at a time.

Get Started With Your LinkedIn Profile

Your social selling strategy begins with your LinkedIn profile. As you create your headline and bio, craft it to highlight the ways you can help resolve customers’ pain points. The goal of your profile is to show that you are there to help customers. 

Do this by including useful content. You can do so in LinkedIn blog posts, as well as regular posts and other types of LinkedIn articles. Include other assets on your profile, from videos to infographics to case studies. Each should showcase your expertise in resolving the pain points of your clients.


Build Brand Awareness With Social Selling 

We’ve mentioned that social selling helps you create connections and bring your brand to the attention of prospects. But it also helps with overall brand awareness. For example, consider LinkedIn’s algorithms for which LinkedIn videos and posts are most likely to appear when someone browses LinkedIn. 

If you get more views on your profile, your LinkedIn posts and profile will be more likely to appear. You will get those profile views by creating a customer-centric profile that showcases your brand and selling points. This not only delivers consistency but encourages even more profile views. 

Remember that you don’t just want to target people who could currently benefit from your products or services. If they are in your target industry, they may eventually need your services. By using your LinkedIn account to introduce your brand, you increase the chances that they will remember you when they need your services. 

With increased brand awareness, you don’t even have to directly reach your prospect. You can reach someone who interacts with the prospect and mentions you. For example, maybe a pain point you resolve will come up during a business lunch and the person you sent a LinkedIn connection request will mention you to their lunchmate.

Build awareness with social selling

Social Sellers Have to Switch Their Mindset From Traditional Sales


We mentioned that one of the two main things to highlight to decision-makers when preparing for social selling is that it requires a shift in the mindset of the sales team. But how is this the case? 

Traditional sales tactics push the sale and will focus on pitching the products or services. But simply pitching is not social selling. Social selling is more about building a relationship with the clients and pitching when the time is right—only after a relationship has been built. 

This may take some training or time for some members of your sales team to understand. Throughout the process of becoming a successful social seller, your modern selling team will need to change a few specific aspects of their strategy or thought process.

Embracing a New Mindset

As mentioned, the mindset behind social selling is very different from that behind other types of sales. The main goal of social selling should be to meet the buyer’s needs and behaviors.

Updating LinkedIn Profile Branding

Branding goes back to our advice for setting up your account and handling LinkedIn profile management. Your LinkedIn profile needs to show how you help as well as offer helpful content. It can’t just be a boring sales profile; it must encourage engagement.

Finding and Engaging with Prospects on LinkedIn

Sales reps using social selling have to always search for the right people, then engage with them. The search for prospects is constant, and the method of engagement is different from traditional sales. While you can still use automated LinkedIn messaging, the goal has to be providing value and engaging. For example, the engagement should come in the form of sharing a resource like a whitepaper. It should not be sales-focused, at least not at first.

Connecting with People

After the initial engagement from a connection request, salespeople need to connect with prospects on a deeper level. You aim to take the connection and turn it into a conversation. This makes prospects feel listened to and understood.

Feeding Content 

Social sellers need to consistently nurture their network by creating content. Create and post regular content that builds a reputation for helping prospects and buyers. With this information, you essentially earn the right to ask for a connection or conversation. As a bonus, your prospects will see you as an authority resource. 

Alfred saves you time and effort while continuously posting relevant content, thanks to our social media post scheduling feature. It works on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, letting you post across various platforms and reach your audience wherever they are. 


Follow a Cadence

Finally, successful social sellers will follow a cadence. This will be a weekly, monthly, or daily round of activities that prospects and leads have come to expect. Finding the right pattern will boost your network as well as your sales.

The Importance of social selling

Use Social Surrounding With Social Selling

We’ve mentioned social listening as part of social selling, but it also involves social surrounding. This refers to when you surround your prospect socially. In other words, you connect with people in their sphere of interest. Engage in a LinkedIn event they are participating in. Join and be active in a LinkedIn group they are in. Use a LinkedIn post scheduler to create content that is likely to show up in their feed because of its relevance to their industry or shareability. 

Part of social surrounding includes engaging with people who influence the prospect. This could take the form of influencer marketing if you want it to. Or it could just mean that you make sure executives in the target company see your posts and interact with you.

Social Selling Should Take a Multichannel or Omnichannel Approach

One important aspect of social selling is that it doesn’t replace your current strategies, whether that is a LinkedIn campaign, a Google Display Ad campaign, or something else. It supplements those existing strategies. 

You need to think of social selling as another way to get prospects into your sales pipeline. This is crucial as it increases the channels and methods you use to reach prospects. Remember that the more touchpoints you have with a prospect, the more likely they are to convert. 

The best social selling campaign on LinkedIn will harness the power of multi channel marketing and involve multiple channels. You can reach out to the same prospect via phone, email, and various social media platforms. 

Alfred makes multichannel marketing a breeze with multi-channel outreach automation. You can set up an automated sequence that begins on LinkedIn and then moves to Twitter or email. It can go back and forth between these channels as many times as you want and in any order you want. 

Reaching out to your prospect on multiple channels is important for a few reasons. To start, you increase the number of touchpoints or interactions. More importantly, you interact with the prospect on their preferred channel. This improves their experience and their response rate. On top of that, using a multichannel approach means that if the prospect misses your LinkedIn lead automation because they are taking a break from the platform, they will still see your other messages.


Social Selling Should Be a Consistent Effort

Think back to our explanation of how social selling works. You want to be there as a resource for the prospect when they need you to provide information. But you won’t know exactly when a prospect needs your assistance, and various prospects will reach that point at different times. 

As such, successful social selling will be a consistent effort. You need to ensure you are discoverable at whatever point your prospects are looking for information. This requires not just consistent effort but also an understanding of what prospects are looking for at various stages in the buying journey.

How to Find Prospects for Social Selling


One of the things mentioned as you transition to social selling is to find prospects and engage with them. But how do you find them? Automated LinkedIn lead generation can make this easier than you may realize. 

Even without a LinkedIn automation tool, you can use your LinkedIn Sales Navigator account, LinkedIn Premium account, or even LinkedIn free account to use search filters and find prospects. 

You will want to take full advantage of filters such as role, industry, geography, company size, and more. 

Alfred makes it easy to find prospects via LinkedIn events and groups. Use the LinkedIn automation software to filter through members of groups or attendees of events, finding the ones that best fit your target audience. From there, continue in Alfred and automate LinkedIn messages to your prospects, complete with personalization.

A Closer Look at Some Social Selling Strategies

With your new knowledge, look at some strategies you can take with social selling. Remember that you can easily adapt these to fit your needs and those of your prospects.

PVC Sales Methodology

The PVC sales methodology is an acronym. 

  • P stands for personalization
  • V stands for value
  • C stands for call-to-action

You need to personalize your interactions with buyers. If you don’t personalize, they will ignore you and you won’t make the sale. 

When engaging with a prospect, you need to provide value. This is typically done via content that shows your prospect that you understand their pain points and needs. 

All engagements should feature a call-to-action of some sort. It doesn’t have to be a CTA to buy (and shouldn’t be early on in the conversation). It can be a next step, such as watching a video, attending a webinar, or just asking a question that you hope they answer.

Digital Referrals

Peer referrals have been crucial for sales and marketing forever, and in the modern age, they have become digital. There are several strategies for getting referrals, so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for you. 

For example, some companies will just ask for a referral and provide a link. Others will ask for a testimonial and ask the satisfied customer if they would like a pre-written one based on past feedback. In this case, you could look at the feedback the client has given you and create a template or sample for them. This way, the client would just have to adjust the template slightly, minimizing the amount of effort involved.

Conclusion

Social selling lets you create a strong connection or relationship with your prospects before you push the sale. It involves a level of personalization higher than that of traditional sales, as you want to connect with your prospects. While it has a learning curve, especially for those used to traditional pushy sales tactics, it is highly effective. It also teaches you skills for other types of sales and marketing, such as social listening and social surrounding. 

Alfred can be a great tool to help you automate LinkedIn social selling. Use Alfred to find prospects and interact with them on LinkedIn and across other channels. 

Meet Alfred with a demo, then take advantage of our 14-day free trial, no credit card required, to confirm that Alfred is the right tool for your LinkedIn campaigns. 

Speak to one of our Automation Experts

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