Everyone in sales should know the ABC acronym: Always Be Closing.
Made popular by a line by David Mamet in Glengarry Glen Ross, the mantra embodies the attitude of every salesperson today. Because who doesn’t want to be like Alec Baldwin, right?
In all seriousness, it’s a popular phrase because it emphasizes the fact that every action taken by sales professionals should be aligned with the goal of closing a deal. Of course, the goal is to ultimately generate more sales and drive revenue.
But there’s a better mantra you should adopt in today’s buyer-centric landscape.
The New ABC In Sales: Always Be Connecting
Always be closing isn’t effective anymore because it actually hurts trust and your company’s reputation.
Today, where customers are constantly sharing their good and bad experiences with one another, a bad reputation can be absolutely detrimental to your business.
Instead, sales teams should be focusing on connecting with good fit prospects.
Actively prospecting is vital to the continued success of your sales processes. In fact, sales prospecting yields many benefits.
You Gather Data Insights.
Not every interaction with a prospect has to be for the purpose of making a sale.
Engaging with your audience allows you to gather data and market research, providing you with valuable insight as to how customers enter the market, what they’re looking for, and how you can best sell.
You can then tailor your approach to different buyer personas, update your sales strategies, and refine your goals.
You Actively Attract More Leads.
Sales prospecting is an excellent means of drawing in more potential customers who are likely to convert into buyers. Your pool of leads doesn’t remain stagnant if you’re not filling it.
Those numbers erode away as time passes, especially if you’re not making a point to continuously connect with them. You’ll be able to minimize your losses by increasing your buyer pool and maintaining your existing clients.
You Qualify Leads Efficiently.
Learn where your leads are in their buyer journeys, what their needs are, and what their budgets are quickly and early on in the sales cycle by communicating with your higher qualified leads.
Qualifying prospects will shorten the time it takes to filter out leads that aren’t good matches for your business, saving both you and them a lot of energy and resources.
You Reduce Costs.
In the case of most businesses, a large portion of the budget is allocated toward advertising strategies and goals, leaving fewer resources for lead generation and conversion.
Prospecting practices don’t come with a very high cost and can leave marketing and sales teams with a bit more room to work with.
You Customize the Experience.
Even though consumers can share pain points and needs, every customer is different. Nowadays, personalization goes a long way for buyers, so it pays off to customize the marketing materials that you send to them.
Segment your leads and target them specifically where they are at in their journeys. Customization can also help define your brand more concisely, increasing your brand awareness and optimizing your media presence.
By adopting this "always be connecting" mentality, you can really drive results within your social selling strategy.
What Is Social Selling?
Salespeople have discovered the value in interacting with leads on social media, directly providing value to them in their home court.
On social platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, you can observe your prospect’s interest and behaviors, and then quickly network with them and start building a relationship.
In today’s digital world, it’s a lot more common to build rapport online than it is through a cold call.
We’re not saying that technique doesn’t work anymore, but there’s a lot of social-savvy customers that you’re missing out on if you haven’t implemented social selling.
The traditional approach of always be closing requires you to overcome an Army grade obstacle course to find leads. Once you’ve managed to do that, the process of qualifying them through awkward ice breakers and midday calls can become pretty long.
Social selling speeds up the process of investigating who key decision makers are, discovering social insights and online intelligence, and then engaging with them through relevant conversations that have actual context, which is quite the difference when compared to the traditional selling mindset.
Source: Cold Sales Prospecting
It’s a bit different from what most salespeople are used to, but the perks make it worth it.
The Benefits of Social Selling
It’s understandable if the idea of using social media to find prospects prompts an eye roll. Everything seems to be social media based nowadays, right?
But that just proves that there’s actual power in those platforms. Here are some benefits that may change your mind:
You’ll Be In Control of Your Reputation.
When someone searches your business’s name, what comes up? If you’ve optimized it correctly, the answer should be your website.
But what about your sales team members?
Nowadays, social media accounts often appear on the first page of SERPs and a lot of consumers will click on them to get an idea of who they’re working with.
A poorly managed social account, especially if your brand name is attached to it, can quickly discredit you as a viable business. By being active, engaging, and strategic on social media, you can control what your audience sees, which ultimately defines your reputation.
Social selling will make you seem more authentic and approachable, rather than just another company trying to make a quick buck. The latter usually causes wary prospects to stay away.
You’ll Have Access to a Global Audience.
There are millions on millions of social media accounts in existence. Some people actually have more than one account on a single platform, let alone across platforms.
That’s a lot of consumers.
Depending on the nature of your business, that can easily translate to a lot of potential leads. If you have strong social media marketing campaigns in place already, it’s very likely that you’ve already captured the interest of a few users, but it’s possible they haven’t actually made it to any of your landing pages yet.
With social selling, you don’t have to wait for them to get there before engaging with them. You can track and analyze who is paying attention to your content and pursue their interests on the very same channels that they discovered you on.
Not every business is searching for worldwide investments, but even local marketers will have a longer reach than they would have with just flyers.
You’ll Get A Lead’s Attention Faster.
It can be hard to get a customer to pick up the phone so you can start establishing the groundwork of a relationship.
You can jump a few steps and eliminate the wait time by corresponding with them directly on social media. Chances are, they’re scrolling through their feed anyway,
It can be a little intimidating to slide into their DMs (and borderline obnoxious if you’re too aggressive), so try approaching them from other avenues.
Respond to comments on your brand’s posts, answer questions directed toward the company, or like posts and tweets that your brand is tagged in. You’re likely to spark some conversations and earn your brand a few kudos along the way.
You’ll Be Able to Keep More Customers.
We’ve already established that maintaining the relationships you’ve built is important, but how you go about doing so can be the line between success and failure.
Once you’ve built a rapport, it’s a good idea to hold your more serious conversations over phone calls or via email.
But what about check ins? Customers will appreciate you touching base to see how things are going for them. Yes, you could give them a ring, but it’s a much more casual and friendly touch if you shoot them a direct message over Twitter or Instagram.
For example, some companies will send an endearing email on a customer’s birthday, along with maybe a coupon or promotion. Pair that with a DM from the brand’s account, and you can make the customer feel incredibly special.
Along with keeping in contact, customers will be able to see what you are up to as well. They’ll feel more connected to your brand when they hear about new goals, accomplishments, and ventures.
That degree of brand loyalty is invaluable to a sales team.
You’ll Engage with Experienced Users.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a user that hasn’t already had some sort of interaction with a brand through social selling. That means that they’ll already be well versed in the dance, dropping the learning curve and smoothing out the course for you.
Engaging with experienced customers can shorten your sales cycle and actually make it easier to qualify leads. There’s less time spent questioning them on their pain points and needs, what they’re looking for, and what they’re willing to spend.
Comfortable leads will be straightforward with their expectations with you, and there’s a lot of customers like this on social media.
Social Selling Statistics Proving Its Value
Social selling is highly effective in the current world of sales. There’s a lot of research backing the practice and quite a bit of reported success.
Social Activity Yields More Opportunities.
Social selling builds your network. And LinkedIn research shows that social selling leads to 45 percent more sales opportunities. Plus, those who use social selling are 51 percent more likely to hit their quota.
Customers Are Looking at You Online.
It was found that 94 percent of B2B buyers did online research before purchasing from a business. If they’re already looking for you on your channels, qualifying and converting them is made easier by reaching out to them online.
Cold Calls Get Rejected.
It really isn’t news that most consumers aren’t fans of cold calling.
In fact, InsideView shared that 90 percent of them never even respond to them. Social selling makes it a lot easier to meet consumers where they are more comfortable.
Digital Practices Own the Market.
With 67 percent of the buyer’s journey being done online today, it only makes sense for sales teams to transition to where the market is. Businesses that haven’t adapted to this new consumer behavior are falling behind.
All of Your Buyers Are Online.
Like we mentioned earlier, most of the world’s consumers have some sort of online presence. IDC backs that claim with research stating that 91 percent of buyers are active on social media.
Social Selling Tips to Try Out
Social selling is the next phase of marketing. If sales teams aren’t able or willing to go where the market is to pursue new leads, then that buyer pool will eventually dry out.
To avoid the drought, use these social selling tips and start reeling in new prospects.
Use Lead Generation Software.
Software options like LinkedIn Sales Navigator are great ways of finding leads and building customer relationships. Also, using prospecting tools takes a step out of your hunt and may be worth your investment.
Audit Your Existing Strategies.
Whether it was intentional or not, you likely have practiced some social selling techniques if you’ve engaged with leads online.
Identify and track the results of your existing efforts to better understand what you should improve and what you should stop altogether. It’ll save you time and resources.
Follow Relevant Conversations.
Social platforms provide a valuable tool to every marketer: direct insight into what your customers are talking about.
To stay current on the needs and desires of your leads, popular trends, or even what your competition may be up to, join and monitor industry-related conversations, especially any that directly correlate or mention your brand.
Find Prospect Watering Holes.
Consumers have habitual behaviors, always going to familiar sources to find and learn about the goods and services they’re interested in. Depending on the industry and clientele base, those sources can vary due to the sheer size of the internet.
Investigate where your most qualified leads are communing online. Is it on Twitter threads? Online forums? Facebook groups? Once you’ve found that hub, you’ll have access to a new pool of leads.
Make It Count.
After you’ve captured the attention of a customer, the worst thing you can do is waste their time. Your business doesn’t grow while you use this strategy as an excuse to scroll through your Instagram feed.
Interested customers are expecting you to provide value to them in some form or fashion, whether it be purely educational or you speaking directly to their pain points.
Not many people are interested in just chatting with a salesperson for kicks and giggles. Be helpful and intentional in your conversation.
Remember: it’s social selling, not social hour.
Engage with Other Brands.
Lead generation should be your first priority, of course, but reaching out to other businesses can be another means of drawing customers your way.
Like, comment, and share another brand’s content and they’re likely to do the same. This behavior benefits both parties since you’ll be presented in front of one another’s audiences.
Be Active and Accessible.
Social selling doesn’t work if you don’t practice the social aspect of it. Audiences have changed how they want to be marketed to, valuing engagement and authenticity over an intimidating, faceless brand name.
Be present in their social spheres by answering comments, posting interesting content, and talking directly to users who raise their hand. That’s the only way you’ll really start building a positive relationship.
Focus On the Connection First
The idea behind always be closing was fun while it lasted, but a good salesperson knows the value in growing. Adopting the new way of thinking to always be connecting will yield results you never imagined.
Connecting with people is the first step to building those meaningful relationships that will fuel your business in an inbound world.
And social selling is the best way to start. Truly get to know your audience and meet them where they’re most comfortable. You’ll find it’s a lot easier to earn their trust and business that way.