Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You probably spend a lot of time on these platforms uploading vacation photos, catching up with old friends or looking into the lives of your favorite celebrities.

 

Given that most people are connected to social media sites in some way, businesses have learned how to use this web traffic to their advantage. Social selling has allowed businesses to stray away from cold calling and spamming potential customers. Instead, sellers are able to form connections with contacts that could lead to making their lives easier. About 78% of salespeople engaging in social selling are outselling their peers. Here’s where we come in.

 

Based out of San Jose, Calif., the team at SocialSellinator is dedicated to managing social media accounts in order to maximize social selling potential. We’ve been able to do some pretty great work. In fact, our success has caught the attention the of D.C.-based ratings and review platform, Clutch. We have been awarded a spot in its 2019 report among the top social media marketing companies.

 

Since 2013, Clutch has used its unique methodology to rank and rate top companies across a wide variety of industries. After conducting in-depth client interviews and analyzing industry data, the Clutch team is able to award every firm with a rating. We are excited to announce we have been given a 5.0!

 

One of our happy customers is Rainemakers, a communications consultancy firm. We were proud to be able to provide them with social media sales enablement services. As a result of our work, they saw a major increase in sales!

We love to see our clients increase their client network and selling capacity!

 

“It’s very rare that you have a company, in this social space, that truly understands social engagement, business components, and can deliver results. You very rarely get all three and these guys have all three,” said the CEO of Rainemaker.

 

Another project we loved working on was maintaining the social media presence for Virtual Support Systems, a marketing and advertising firm.

 

We were able to help this firm evaluate, strategize and execute a social media plan for one of its largest clients.

 

“Communication and commitment by SocialSellinator is exactly what I demand as a general manager and service provider. I foresee a long term relationship precisely because of this achievement” said the COO of Virtual Support Systems.

 

We are very thankful to have clients who are willing to take their valuable time to participate in our review process. Client feedback is very valuable to our company as we try to improve and expand our client network.

 

In addition to our feature on the main Clutch platform, we have earned a spot on The Manifest and Visual Objects, sister sites of Clutch. Each site is capable of offering buyers a unique market research experience.

 

The Manifest, a business news outlet, has named us a leader among San Jose social media marketing agencies. Likewise, Visual Objects is designed to feature the creative work of firmsby listing a portfolio of past work along with a rating. Here, buyers can find us among top social media firms.

 

If you’re aiming to increase your selling power, consider starting a social selling campaign. Contact us today, and let’s discuss what SocialSellinator can offer your company. 

 

 

Social Listening: The First Step to Social Selling

Social buying is not only a hot topic. It’s also the future of commerce.

More than 74% of shoppers rely on social media when making purchasing decisions.

This is in big part due to the democratic nature of social networks and unbiased reviews from users and social influencers. Equally important is the all-in-one concept behind popular sites like Facebook and Instagram, which eliminates all customer effort from an average buyer’s journey.

There’s one keyword that perfectly describes a modern-day consumer:

Convenience.

Being enabled to buy whatever they want and whenever they want it with only a few clicks, without having to switch tabs and leave their favorite social network, is convenient. Receiving pre-purchase and post-purchase guidance from social media reps and chatbots - also convenient.

Having a platform for sharing their opinions on brands? You guessed it. Convenient.
So much so, in fact, that 96% of social media users won’t trouble themselves with hitting the “follow” button before discussing a brand online. Twitter users like to act all nonchalant too, with roughly 30% of all tweets that mention a brand being shared without the brand’s handle (@).

But how can you know what’s being said about you then?

The answer is social listening.

Here’s how it differs from social monitoring, why it should be an integral part of your social media analysis, which tools you need to use, what constitutes a social listening strategy, as well as how to make it work in terms of marketing, social selling, and general business growth.

Listen carefully.

What Is Social Listening?

What Is Social Listening?

Social listening is not social monitoring.

The two overlapping concepts are easier explained in comparison to one another, concerning the fact that social listening includes social monitoring. However, they are not the same.

Social monitoring is about collecting data on social media.

Social listening is about using that data in a strategic way.

While monitoring allows you to keep an eye on the online mood, or social media sentiment, listening allows you to take part in the dialogue and control the narrative. Or to use the information you have in any other way that helps you improve your brand image and drive more sales.

While monitoring provides you with raw insight, listening takes a step forward into actionable data analysis. By helping you understand how people feel about your brand, niche, and industry (or how people feel in general), listening allows you to keep your selling efforts on track.

There’s plenty you can do with social listening.

Using this insight, finding patterns and trends in consumer behavior is easier than ever before. The same goes for revealing new sales opportunities, whether it comes to improving brand visibility, super-laser targeting, smart lead acquisition, building trust, or quick conversions.  

Social Listening Vs Analytics

Without combining social monitoring and social listening and fitting them together into a broader picture, you won’t be able to execute a successful social media campaign. You’ll miss more targets than you’ll hit. And at that rate, you’ll have no way of competing with other brands.

Social selling is extremely effective, but also very hard.

That said, having a data-driven strategy is vital.

There is a number of social analytics you should start measuring:

  1. Volume, which is the size of conversation about your brand, product, or campaign.
  2. Reach, which measures the spread of conversation and potential audience size.
  3. Engagement, or the number of people reacting with reshares, comments, or likes.
  4. Influence, as a way to determine how influential your supporters/critics are.
  5. Share of voice, or competitive analysis that measures you against your rivals.


A good social listening strategy can help you cover all five.

The end goal?

To gain a better view of the current market conditions, define and understand your target audience, segments, and ideal buyer personas (their needs, pain points, preferred solutions, buying patterns, and social media behavior), and collect feedback that can be used for improvement.

What Kind of Businesses Used It in the Past?

Social listening was originally popularized by communications’ departments as a crisis management technique. Marketing departments quickly noticed the immense potential of social media mentions and started sharing their insight with customer service/support representatives.

Today, the practice is used by businesses big and small.

And not only them.

1. B2B
Skype recently reintroduced its “Away” status feature and made the news public on Twitter. Using social listening, the company was able to test how their audience is feeling about the new roll-out before spending a dime on it. A similar example comes from the cloud giant, Slack.

2. B2C
A beloved ice cream company Halo Top is using social listening to engage with customers on Twitter as well. But the creamery is not doing it for testing. It simply chitchats with its fans like in this witty exchange, thus boosting its brand visibility and encouraging shares and sales.

3. Charities, Fundraisers, and Similar Organizations
Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), a non-profit organization committed to elevating the issue of early childhood education and child survival, famously used social listening to learn what people are thinking about Trump becoming the president and inform their campaigns.  

4. Governments
A recent report by GovLoop and Hootsuite analyzed the way government bodies are using social media, and why. The results showcased that 22% of respondents rely on social listening for informing their strategies, improving citizen engagement, and providing real-time support.

Long-Term Vs Short-Term Strategy Development

Long-Term Vs Short-Term Strategy Development

Every modern-day brand can benefit from social listening.

But whether or not you’ll actually invest in social listening tools depends on the social media strategy you have in mind. What is it that you want to achieve, in relation to your social selling efforts? Do you need to collect recent data, analyze trends, and create short-term opportunities?

Or do you need a long-term solution for long-term returns?

If your strategy relies on cumulative data and continual learning about your target audience, then you’ll need to plan for the long-term. Social listening is here a better option. For one-off strategy boosts and short-term solutions, stick to metrics provided by social monitoring.

3 Essential Tools

Helpful social media tools allow you to encompass your entire social media presence from one place. They track mentions using keywords, phrases, and events and send you alerts and data in real time. Your social listening toolkit should equip you for the following analytics:

  • Influencer tracking and analysis
  • Trend analysis and historical data coverage
  • Competitive benchmarking
  • Predictive analysis
  • Virality maps  


Here’s a list of 3 tools we’ve tried and loved:

1. Mention
The foundation of every social listening suite is a tool that provides social monitoring, analytics, and competitor espionage. Mention does that exceptionally well. In addition, it offers demographics and data on the accounts that mention you. Analysis-wise, that’s pretty deep.

Similar tools: Hootsuite and Sprout Social

2. If This Then That
If This Then That (IFTTT) extends your social listening efforts beyond social media. It allows you to track blogs for unapproved mentions of your brand, thus increasing your opportunities for inbound linking and SEO. With IFTTT, the ultimate goal is increased brand visibility.

Similar tools: Boardreader and HowSociable

3. Keyhole
Keyhole is great for tracking niche-specific keywords and hashtags. Say somebody wants to know this year’s hottest summer destination. As a traveling agency, you’ll use Keyhole to monitor all these keywords and provide links to your offers to potential leads and customers.

Similar tools: Hashtracking and HashTagsForLikes

4 Steps to Success

Are you ready to start listening? 

The following 4-step strategy is only a framework. You’ll need to expand on it based on your specific sales goals, but it’s a start nevertheless. Consider it a cheat sheet for success. 

1. Identify Your Goals
We’ve said that there’s a lot you can do with social listening, but that doesn’t mean that you should do it all. As with every other strategy, you need to set SMART goals, which mostly means specific. Do you need to track your brand, spy on your competitors, or find influencers?

Maybe you need to improve your customer service? 

Figure it out. 

2. Build Your Toolkit
Using our recommendations from before or based on your own research, start building your listening toolkit. Cover as many social sites as possible, including forums and blogs, and add analytical features that retrieve insight on as many different social media metrics as possible. 

3. Determine Keywords
Depending on your end goal, your social listening tool should be scanning social networks for specific keywords and phrases: 

  • Your brand name and handles, as well as common misspellings.
  • Your products and services.
  • Your branded hashtags, slogans, and official campaign names.
  • Niche and service-related words (failure, help, not working).
  • Common criticisms.
  • Your competitors’ brand names, handles, and products.
  • Industry buzzwords and the most popular hashtags.


4. Track, Analyse, Repeat
Social listening is worthless without a powerful analysis.

Use it to feel the online mood. 

We’ve already discussed key metrics that you need to add to your social media strategy. You’ll need to know the audience’s general sentiment no matter the goal, but chances are you’ll also need to measure social influence, volume fluctuations, brand reach, and share of voice.

What Data Do You Need (and How to Use It)

Options are virtually limitless with social listening.

And so are the possibilities for improvement.

The following encompasses all types of data that can drive your social selling forward. A thorough brand would collect them all, though that would take some time and money. If you’re considering social listening as a growth technique, better focus on one or two at the time:

1. Brand Intelligence

  • Sentiment research: How do people feel about your brand in general?
  • Customer experience: Good or bad? What’s more frequent, praise or complaints?
  • Campaign analysis: Which part of your strategy resonates with the audience the most?

 2. Competitive Intelligence
  • Sentiment research: How do people feel about your competitors in general?
  • Competitive analysis: Who are your biggest rivals and what makes them a threat?
  • Competitive differentiation: How can you differentiate yourself from the competition?


 3. Industry Intelligence

  • Audience and trend analysis: What does your audience want and expect from you?
  • Product and content research: What new solutions would they like to see?
  • Influencer research: Who are the people in your niche that can endorse you?

​How to Use Collected Data

​How to Use Collected Data

There’s no point to social listening if you don’t act on what you’ve heard.

Clever use cases for data collected with social listening tools are as numerous as they are innovative - everywhere you look, brands are using this technique to improve social interactions with customers. The ultimate goal is growth through sales. These are the best ways to achieve that:

  • Improving Customer Service

63% of customers expect brands to offer customer service via social media channels.

In addition to staying responsive to messages 24/7, you need to be able to address your customers’ questions, concerns, and frustrations when they are posted live without your brand’s handle. 60% of them expect you to respond to their queries
within an hour, so keep listening.

  • Identifying Influencers

Although 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective, as many as 61% of them agree that it’s challenging to find the best influencers for a campaign. You can solve this problem by tracking niche-relevant keywords as part of your broader social listening strategy.

  • Tracking Hashtags. Keywords, & Phrases

In addition to that, social listening by industry buzzwords and niche-relevant keywords allows you to predict consumer expectations. This is especially useful if your sales strategy depends on a content marketing approach. This way, you can create content that truly resonates.

  • Generating Customer Feedback

We’ve already talked about the online mood or audience sentiment analysis, which is arguably the most straightforward purpose of social listening. Most customers won’t leave feedback on your brand page. But their opinions still count, which is why you need to hear them.

And if positive, customer feedback should be reshared.

74% of consumers have greater trust in a company if they read positive reviews.

  • Creating Business Opportunities
The hottest summer destinations query is a great example of this. Whenever a potential customer goes on social to ask for possible solutions to their problem, you should be the first to provide one. This is how you generate quality leads, make quick sales, and impress the audience.

  • Informing Your Marketing Strategy
Eavesdropping on your audience and spying on competitors is a huge part of every data-based marketing strategy. Remember, social listening tools like Mention can help you gain insight into people who are talking about your brand. This is a powerful audience targeting and segmentation hack.

  • Leading Conversations & Crisis Management
60% of consumers say negative reviews turned them away.

Social listening may be the most effective way of preventing this. The faster you notice a bad review, the faster you can turn it into a positive customer experience. Approach the frustrated customer with a sincere apology, a better solution to their pain point, and a promise that you’ll improve.

  • Analyzing Past Performance
If you use a social listening tool to track your marketing campaign or product launch performance, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly what resonates with the audience and what leaves them indifferent. Use past performance analysis to inform your future campaigns, and you’ll be golden.

  • Learning from Competitors
Alternatively, or additionally, you can monitor what the audience is saying about your competitors, their products, and campaigns. Learn from what they are doing right and steer clear from what they are doing wrong. Every oversight they made is a chance for you to differentiate your brand.

  • Testing for Better Product Development
Like Skype and Slack in the aforementioned examples, you can use social listening to test the waters before a new product launch or roll-out. Or, you can track consumer pain points within your niche and start working on a new product that will solve every potential problem.

  • Boosting Customer Engagement
Responding to brand mentions and resharing user-generated content with your brand’s hashtag is crucial for customer engagement on social media. Not only does this boost your brand awareness and improve your image, but it also makes you likable by humanizing your brand.  

  • Improving Online Reputation
41% of companies that experienced a negative reputation event reported loss of both brand value and revenue. A negative comment can go viral in a matter of hours. Just remember Amazon. These are hard times for reputation managers, but social listening can help alleviate the crisis.

  • Building Trust Through Transparency

Building consumer trust will become marketing’s primary objective in the near future, according to 84% of leading marketers. And nothing builds trust better than transparency. Social listening allows you to be transparent about your mistakes, admit your wrongs, and propose solutions.

​What Are the Business Benefits?

There’s so much you can learn from just listening.

Intelligence is, therefore, the first benefit of social listening. In an oversaturated market (and that’s the situation for most marketers in today’s economy), information is the most valuable asset and the most powerful differentiating point. Without data, you don’t stand a chance.

The more you know about modern-day consumer behavior and your niche audience, the better. You’ll find it easier to predict their expectations, meet their needs, and keep them satisfied. And if they, by any chance, get disappointed, you’ll find it easier to address that too.

Earlier, we’ve talked about convenience.

90% of social media users are using social media as a way to communicate with their favorite brands, simply because it is convenient. By engaging in social listening, you’re eliminating every last bit of customer effort. Customers no longer have to address you directly to be heard.
​
All this amounts to improved brand visibility and trust. Relying on these social signals to guide their purchasing decisions, social media users are one click away from turning into leads, and from there, into customers. A timely response or reshare can be a powerful conversion trick.

 

Social Selling Automation: 10 Tools That Make You Successful in Less Time

Do you find that you are dedicating a lot of time to mundane, manual tasks when it comes to social selling? Do you wish that you had some tools that could help you to spend more time focusing on the big-picture and less time wading into data entry?

Social selling is a long-term strategy that requires some commitment before results show and you’ll be able to realize ROI. On the plus side, once you have the system running, it’s the gift that keeps on giving! There are many daily social selling tasks that on their own don’t produce massive results. But in combination, they help you grow your reputation, establish relationships with your ideal customers, and establish your brand as an authority within your industry.

To get to that point, there are many different tasks that you have to complete on a regular basis to grow your following and establish a high level of awareness with your target audience. While it is possible to conduct all of these tasks by hand, this can be a time-consuming prospect. Instead, you should leverage tools that let you automate some of these tasks and free you up to engage in higher level actions that push your growth forward.

In this article, we’ll outline some of the best social selling automation tools that are available today. These tools will not only help you to jump-start your social selling strategies and make you successful in less time, but they will help you to identify more opportunities in general. It’s impossible to monitor everything happening on social media as it relates to your industry. Using tools can help you to keep a closer eye on the discussions that are happening among your customers and influencers within your industry.

If you are looking to bolster your social selling strategies and create more opportunities, automating certain aspects of your social selling strategies is a must. With that said, let’s dive right in and explore some of these amazing helpers!

#1 Prospecting: LinkedIn Sales Navigator

 

#1 Prospecting: LinkedIn Sales Navigator


One of the most important tasks of any social seller to identify new prospects and engage with them on their favorite platforms. For B2B companies, that usually means (or at least involves) LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world's largest professional social network with nearly 600 million users. That’s a lot of opportunity. But it can be tough to sift through. While LinkedIn’s standard search features are solid, LinkedIn Sales Navigator puts them on steroids and adds more options, ensuring that you are able to identify the perfect targets for your business.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you to target the right people and companies and better understand their desires and needs. Then, using the InMail credits that they provide (among other features), the subscription helps you engage with those prospects. Sales Navigator provides lead recommendations to help you quickly discover the decisionmakers at your target accounts. It integrates directly with your CRM and transfers all prospect data, so you have it on hand in a single click.

For B2B social sellers, there are few tools that are more powerful than Sales Navigator. It’s a staple of any serious social selling strategy. By arming yourself (or your team) with a subscription to LinkedIn’s premium plan, you put your business in a position to reach more prospects, engage with them more effectively, and ultimately close more deals.

#2 LinkedIn Automation: Orca


#2 LinkedIn Automation: Orca

Orca is amazing and makes for the perfect complementary investment to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The tool is built for social selling automation, handling some of the most important social selling tasks so you can focus on revenue-boosting actions. An investment in Orca is an investment into your own time.

Orca is designed to help you scale social outreach on LinkedIn in a genuine way while scaling your operations. Their system is designed to help you create conversations with your prospects prior to engaging with them for business. You can automate and sequence a number of different tasks through the platform:

  • LinkedIn profile visits (show up in your prospect’s visitors list)
  • Connection requests
  • Connect messages
  • Follow-up messages


This is extremely powerful. These are the most important LinkedIn tasks for social selling and being able to free up your time lets you focus on quality engagement with your prospects and driving personal conversations. Orca’s simple drag-and-drop interface makes it a great choice for teams, who will require minimal training to use the platform. If you want to make LinkedIn a key component of your social selling strategy, Orca is one of the best tools you can pick.

#3 Content Sharing: rFactr

 

Content Sharing: rFactr

Providing your following with a consistent stream of high-value content is a critical component of social selling. However, constantly working to identify great content that will appeal to your ideal customers can be difficult. Content curation isn’t as easy as it looks at face value. rFactr’s product, SocialPort, combines a number of useful features that you can use to drive your social selling strategies on the most popular platforms.

First, their CRM features. This software offers deep integration with the biggest CRM platforms. Through their system, you can add leads to your CRM, attribute revenue, track social sales activities, and sync your tasks with the people that you connect with. Then, the software helps you to identify content that will be a good fit for your audience through their customer recommendations. Last, you can schedule syndication of that content on all of your social media platforms.

rFactr’s more advanced plan, SocialPort Enterprise, also includes features like prospect tracking, competitor tracking, and training modules for your teams. SocialPort is an excellent tool for social sellers and a complement to sales teams that utilize social selling strategies.

#4 Social Post Scheduling: Buffer

 

Social Post Scheduling: Buffer

In social selling it’s extremely important that you are always sharing new information with your audience. You want a constant stream of insights, useful content, interesting thoughts, and general engagement coming from your account. However, nobody will be able to log into their accounts each day, identify things that you would like to share (that will actually be effective with your audience), and keep up with the fast-moving world of social media. Some automation is required to help keep your accounts active.

Buffer is the simplest solution out there today. Their software allows you to schedule your content and track the effectiveness of everything that you share across all of the popular social networks. Additionally, their system makes content recommendations based on RSS feeds and other content that you have shared, giving you a built-in resource for content curation.

Buffer lets you schedule your post for an exact date and time, then Buffer will automatically publish and track the post for you. All of your posting can be handled in one place, with manualupdates sprinkled in. Just because you use automation tools, doesn’t mean that your content stream should look robotic!

#5 Relationship Intelligence: Nudge.ai

 

Relationship Intelligence: Nudge.ai

Nudge.ai is a platform that helps social sellers build relationships with their target audience. Sales has always been about building trust, and Nudge uses that premise as the foundation for its product. The software offers some basic categories, each incredibly important to social selling:

  • Analytics. Relationship intelligence for social sellers. Includes automated CRM activity logging with no manual input required. Also includes buying committee coverage analytics which is incredibly valuable to account-based sales teams.
  • Insights. Nudge’s system systematically facilitates warm introductions through your network. Their system will keep you on top of your relationships by alerting you to new connections, providing notifications for required follow-ups, and integrating directly with LinkedIn messages, Gmail, and Outlook to ensure that no conversations or relationships are neglected.


Nudge.ai simplifies the social selling process by ensuring that you have all of your conversations and contacts across multiple platforms, accessible from one place. They pull all of your contact information from your email, phone, meetings, sales, and CRM into one database so that you can keep a bird’s eye view of your social selling operations. Then, their system reminds you to follow-up with your prospects with smart reminders.

#6 Social CRM: Nimble

 

Social CRM: Nimble

Nimble is one part data repository and one part CRM for social sellers. Their system enables you to access up-to-date social media profile information, business data, and verified contact data that helps you to get into contact with the prospects that you discover.

When you install the Nimble CRM, any time that you visit a social media profile, their system populates a sidebar with all of their relevant information including their other social media accounts, email, details that are publicly available about that person, and other pertinent information that you can use to engage with them.

Nimble also offers advanced social selling features like pipeline management, sales forecasting, analytics, and intelligent email tracking. Their system integrates directly with Office 365 and G Suite, ensuring that all of your communications with prospects are tracked and taken into account when sending follow-ups or designing strategies.

#7 Social Listening: Meltwater

 

Social Listening: Meltwater

A big component of social selling is being able to identify trends as they develop and jump into conversations as they begin to unfold. This helps you get in front of your audience and position yourself at the forefront of your industry’s most popular conversations and topics. If you wait too long to jump in, the conversation can pass you by and it can become difficult to gain traction in these conversations, resulting in missed opportunities.
​
Meltwater aims to solve this problem. Their platform leverages local content partnerships and uses AI to sift through billions of documents in real-time. They cut through the noise and provide you with actionable recommendations for identifying trends, jumping into conversations early in their time trending and it ensures that you position yourself appropriately within the conversation.

Meltwater can also help you monitor your brand across all social and digital channels from one convenient dashboard. Keep an eye on what your ideal audience is talking about across the world. News scanning isn’t just limited to social media either — Meltwater monitors conversations on niche forums and discussion boards around the web so that you never miss an opportunity to engage.

#8 Twitter Analytics: FollowerWonk

 

Twitter Analytics: FollowerWonk

Twitter is a great platform for distributing content and getting in front of your ideal audience, but its minimalist profile can make it difficult to learn more about your audience. Obviously not ideal, since you want toengage with them. Followerwonk helps you dig deeper into your following and better understand your audience with their in-depth Twitter analytics. This tool can help you to find, analyze, and optimize your social selling strategies for growth.

Followerwonk stands out from the competition with their actionable visualizations that compare your social following to that of other influencers within your niche. Then, the software generates detailed analytics and reports that can easily be shared within your company with the click of a button.

If you want to leverage Twitter in your social selling strategy but are having a difficult time understanding your following and measuring your impact, Followerwonk is the perfect choice of tool.

#9 Email Identification: Hunter

 

Email Identification: Hunter

Expanding the number of channels that you engage with prospects through is critical in social selling. You want to take that short Twitter conversation and turn it into a warm relationship that spans social networks and email and blossoms into a valuable relationship asset over time.

However, sometimes, it’s just about impossible to identify a prospect’s email on your own. Sure, you could ask them for it. Or use some Google magic to find where it is listed online, but that is time-consuming and tedious.

Instead, use Hunter! This tool scrapes the web and identifies email addresses of your prospects. Using a Google Chrome extension, you can quickly identify the email of prospects and extend your relationship to a new channel. If Hunter can’t find their email, it analyzes other email addresses on the domain to give you a good shot at guessing what their email might be based on the format used with other email addresses.

#10 Custom Codeless Automation: Zapier

 

#10 Custom Codeless Automation: Zapier

Zapier is a platform that is designed to extend the functionality of your apps by connecting them to other apps. By doing this, it lets you create and automate workflows between different softwares, which is extremely valuable for social sellers. You can create workflows with nearly any popular app and tie actions to actions in another app.

For instance — let’s say you want to store every incoming email to your sales team in a Google Sheet. Zapier could be used to automatically detect incoming emails and enter data on a specific Google Sheet for you, eliminating manual data entry for that task.

That’s just one example. Zapier offers connections between more than 1,000 apps at this time, making it easy for you to identify and automate workflows that take up hours of your time each and every week.

Social Selling Automation Makes You More Effective


Smart social selling automation frees up your time to focus on more important tasks, puts you in a position to identify new opportunities, and helps you to build more relationships with prospects more quickly than you would by hand. The tools mentioned in this article are some of the best tools available today for the different tasks that we have outlined in the article and some combination of these tools would be an excellent investment for any social seller.

What tools do you use to automate social selling? Tell us about some of your favorites in the comments section!

 
4 Reasons Why Digital-First Companies Must Invest in Social Selling Training Right Now

Digital-first companies that fail to invest in social selling training for their sales reps are doing their team and their business a huge disservice. Social selling is a force to be reckoned with and the deployment strategy for this asset will play a key role in the future of any digital-first sales team. Today, 61% of US marketers use social media for lead generation.

But expecting your sales reps to get up to speed by reading blog posts and through trial-and-error is wishful thinking. It’s a missed opportunity that not only frustrates your sales reps, but also holds back your business growth. Yes, your sales reps may one day be able to get up to speed and gain an understanding of effective social selling, but training from an experienced source will accelerate the process and put them on the right path from day one.

It’s a sad fact that the vast majority of companies don’t invest in social selling training, despite how critical the strategy has become for digital-first brands. 93% of sales executives have never received any formal training on social selling — and that’s the executives. How often do you think companies invest in training for their reps?

1. Reps Want to Be Trained


Your salespeople are the ones on the front lines and they have a distinct feel for where the industry is heading. They see social selling become a larger part of their process each and every day. They need - and want - to stay ahead of their competition. In fact, 53% of salespeople want training to help them better understand social selling. To overlook training that your team is actively asking for could be a sign that you are out of touch.

2. Facilitate More Conversations with Relevant Prospects


Most B2B customers aren’t getting what they want out of conversations with sales reps. We spend so much time focusing on selling the product that we forget to engage on a deeper level with prospects. According to recent research, sales reps talk about client needs and expectations in just 20% of sales conversations.

But those conversations are so critical for lasting success. The process of qualifying leads requires that we take the time to understand prospects. On the other had, jumping into the buying conversation too early pushes prospects away.

Social selling training helps teach reps how to dig deeper and build real rapport with prospects. This results in salespeople that sell better across all channels, not just social.

3. Use Sales Tools More Effectively


Most digital-first companies are investing large sums of money into their sales stacks. Between CRM tools, lead management software, and communication solutions, it’s easy to see how those costs begin to add up. But if your sales team isn’t using tools effectively or uses them haphazardly throughout the sales process, a lot of your investment is wasted.

The tech that sales reps use has evolved just as fast as the strategies they use to close deals. Effective social selling strategies rely on tools to help reps manage relationships and stay organized. Social selling training will help your team see the bigger picture. It helps your team understand the importance of social selling and will encourage them to apply it consistently throughout the process and with all the tools and strategies you provide.

4. Learn How to Build a Long-Term Asset


For sales reps, few things are more valuable than a strong network and reputation for being able to connect customers with solutions that genuinely help them to solve their problems. To build their network, reps have to engage socially, look at each conversation not just as a sales opportunity, but as an opportunity to build a long-term connection. Effective social selling is about building and maintaining their social presence. This not only helps you secure more deals today,  but it positions your business and your team for long-term success.

Isn’t that something that every company should invest in?