Marketers have known, since the advent of the profession, that the single most important factor in closing a sale is gaining the trust of a prospect. A consumer must believe that they are making the right decision in order to become a customer. In spite of this reality, the process of cold calling has been a primary lead generation tool until recently.
One of the toughest sales tasks imaginable, millions of salespeople spent endless hours “dialing for dollars,” trying to get sales from unknown “suspects.” But that’s all changing.
Among the many transformative aspects of social media, the transference of trust is one of the greatest. Professional networking platform LinkedIn has generated a number of articles and studies on this issue, and tells us that “business buyers report the greatest benefit of social media as gaining greater confidence and comfort in their decisions.”
As a result of these new realities, few successful salespeople waste time on the use of traditional cold calling and are using new, digital sales prospecting tools.
The same LinkedIn report, however, quotes a Harvard Business School article stating that more than 90 percent of C-level executives never make cold calls. However, this issue of the central role of social media permeates all levels of the sales process of filling your sales funnel.
Always Be Connecting
Yes, the update to the traditional mantra of always be closing is the more efficient way to view today’s sales environment. With a focus on connecting, the concept of networking via social media tools and platforms allows you to enter an entirely new dimension of pipeline creation and management.
These realities call for you to focus on two new aspects of your marketing process.
First, you must develop, nurture and protect your online presence and brand— for both your company and yourself. The key to social media is its social. Word of mouth on steroids, as it were. If your sales cycle involves any personal involvement, your online brand will be one of the first things a prospect checks out.
Likewise, the online reputation of your company’s products and services will be carefully evaluated. Depending on your market niche and industry, comments from current and past customers are increasingly important. From online reviews to chat rooms comments, you must stay on top of how you are seen on the web.
Finding and Using the Sales Prospecting Tools
The second aspect of modern marketing you should be taking advantage of is new social prospecting tools. If you, as many do, rely on a professional call center to follow up on new leads, it is important for those leads to have as much value as possible.
Email. Yes, we know you have and use email. However, are you really using your tool as the contact magnet is can be? There is an increasing focus on adding power to email by a number of digital marketing companies. Such products as Rapportive, Sidekick, and Yesware add multiple dimensions to your email database. Each of these, and many others, add different functions to increase the networking power of your emails.
SocialPlatforms. Of course, you know you need an account on the platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. While your specific industry will determine what other sites you should include, such as Google +, the key is to not just put up a page or profile and leave it at that. Each of these platforms are working 24/7 to increase their value as a networking tool, and you can greatly increase the value of your online brand and be a growing source of those desired leads. Participate in chat rooms and communities, providing real input and content
CRM. Again, most companies already have good CRM solutions in place, but few are effectively using them for social prospecting. A satisfied customer is the best source of a qualified lead, and using a call center to contact and survey these customers can be a goldmine of new contacts and quality leads.
Take the time to connect more often with more social contact points and the right sales prospecting tools and you will find the process of filling that sales funnel is easier than ever before.
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.