Similar to how a carpenter needs his toolbox, a modern seller needs social selling tools to find, engage, and connect with prospects. Other than social media platforms (it is social selling after all), there are several tools that can increase your sellers’ efficiency in building their network and sharing valuable content.
To effectively leverage these social selling tools, sales leaders must collaborate closely with sales enablement leaders to understand which tools sellers use most frequently, how the tools are being used, and the impact they have on their team’s selling activities.
Continue reading to learn the different social selling tools, the benefits of each, and how you can leverage these tools to effectively coach your sales team.Similar to how a carpenter needs his toolbox, a #ModernSeller needs #SocialSelling tools to connect with the #ModernBuyer. Learn the tools your #sales team needs to become more efficient and productive. #SalesLeadership @M_3Jr Click To Tweet
Different Types of Social Selling Tools
Every organization uses multiple tools to effectively manage sales activities along the buyer’s journey. This is no different when it comes to social selling. There are many categories of tools that enable sellers to easily find, engage, and connect with prospects through social platforms.
Most immediately think of the social media platforms where sellers find, engage and connect with target buyers. With over 660 million professionals, the largest networking tool for B2B sellers is LinkedIn® (as well as LinkedIn® Sales Navigator and other premium versions). The other social platforms also include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube. Where your seller should focus their energy depends on where your prospects spend most of their time.
But there are many more social selling tools that can streamline the processes to improve sellers’ performance. Below is a list of the different types and how they fit together.
1. The Best Text Expander Tool
These tools (which can also be categorized under sales prospecting tools) help sellers improve their sales productivity as they can communicate faster and smarter, thanks to a writing assistant. For example, FlyMSG is a text expander that gives users quick access to pre-saved, customized messaging templates.
Available for free as a Chrome extension, FlyMSG empowers salespeople to leave tedious tasks behind and focus on creating more conversations with qualified buyers.
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRMs help sales leaders track the digital selling activities of sellers and provide opportunities to coach them to improve results. This essential tool allows sales organizations to capture and organize leads. Additionally, most provide integration with other marketing tools, such as marketing automation, social media, and sales processes.
Another key feature for sales leaders is the ability to track the ROI of various sales tools. You can add a simple, required drop-down menu for sellers to select the tools they used to progress the deal. Every time an opportunity is moved from one stage of the buying process, sales leaders can track which tools are being used most often, at what stage, and if top performers are using different tools than reps who are struggling.
A few examples of CRMs are HubSpot, Salesforce, and Zoho.
3. Prospect Intelligence
Contact intelligence tools help sellers find contact information about leads and prospects, such as their name, phone number, title, and email address. Examples of these tools are ZoomInfo, Seamless.AI, and DiscoverOrg.
While we have our favorite one, we decided to go out and do some sales research and see what the community said is the best contact intelligence tool out there. ZoomInfo came out at the top with Seamless.ai coming second. My guess is there are a lot more users of ZoomInfo because of its legacy from having acquired Discovered.org several years ago. But hey, don’t take my word for it, take the word of 1,546 sellers we surveyed.
4. Sales Engagement and Cadence
These sales cadence tools enable reps to build relationships with potential customers and nurture relationships with existing clients. Many of these tools help sellers better understand customers’ needs and allow them to respond in meaningful ways. SalesLoft, Outreach, VanillaSoft and InsideSales.com are examples of outreach tools.
5. Conversational Intelligence
These tools record phone conversations sellers have with clients so that sales leaders can analyze them and provide relevant insights on how sellers can improve. For instance, some of these options leverage AI technology that breaks down what percentage of a conversation a seller spoke, how many questions they asked, and their longest monologue. Some examples of these tools are Gong.io and Chorus.ai.
6. Sales Enablement
Sales enablement tools are a hub that streamlines social selling activities by providing easy access for content sellers need in unique sales situations to improve win rates. This usually includes training videos, playbooks, content specific to an industry or persona, and many other items. Examples of these tools are BigTinCan, Highspot, and Seismic.
7. Lead Engagement
AI is streamlining processes in every aspect of our lives and sales is no different. AI assistants automate some of the sales and marketing functions that can pull reps away from other, revenue-generating activities. These AI assistants are different than chatbots, and engage prospects through email based on triggers created in your CRM. One of the most popular sales AI tools is Conversica.Every sales team uses multiple tools throughout the buying process. This is no different when it comes to social selling. Discover the essential #SocialSelling tools for your team. #Leadership #ModernSales @M_3Jr Click To Tweet
8. Sales Training
Though many organizations see the need to implement social selling tools, some haven’t fully developed processes or training yet. Then, sellers have access to a wide variety of tools without a clear structure on how to use them. And, a fool with a tool is still a fool. Why? Because sellers need to be trained on how to leverage these tools to reach the modern buyer.
During our Selling with LinkedIn ®, sellers learn how to find, engage, and connect with buyers, are provided customized messaging templates to send to prospects, and how to turn online connections into offline sales conversations.
9. Video Sales Acceleration
These tools provide a platform where reps can boost lead generation by allowing them to record, store, and organize videos. Then, they can easily share them with prospects to offer a more engaging message than a voicemail or email. Some video sales acceleration tools are Hippo Video, OneMob, Vidyard, StoryXpress, and Videolicious.
Remember, properly leveraging video to connect with prospects requires more than pointing and shooting. Just like any tool, sellers need to be trained on effective techniques, appropriate messaging, and the best ways to share videos with prospects. Our Selling with Video Virtual Bootcamp teaches sellers the essential techniques of effectively leveraging video throughout the sales cycle over the course of seven weeks (all remotely!).
10. Content Distribution and Employee Advocacy
Curating the right content and providing sellers with an easy way to share that content is essential to social selling. By sharing 3rd party content on social platforms and directly with prospects, sellers build relationships, develop their thought leadership, and expand their network. Content curation tools, such as Scoop.it can streamline the process of finding relevant content.
The next level of an employee advocacy program is content distribution. Many include a library of relevant internal and reputable 3rd party content that sellers can easily schedule to post to their social accounts. Employee advocacy tools help sellers develop thought leadership by consistently feeding their networks with content that addresses prospects’ business challenges and expands their networks as their posts encourage engagement.
Some examples of content distribution tools include Hootsuite, Buffer, GaggleAMP, Grapevine6 (now LiveSocial), SocialHP, and EveryoneSocial.
11. Relationship Intelligence
This is one of the younger categories of tools that identify the level of relationships at accounts enabling sales leaders to have visibility into the depth of relationships, so you know which stakeholders should be engaged to win new business, maintain the current business or expand your footprint in the account. One tool in this category is CrystalKnows.
Benefits of Social Selling Tools
Investing in the right tools can significantly impact the success of your team’s social selling activities. These tools improve productivity to enable sellers to start more sales conversations and improve their win rates.
Here are the main benefits when your team leverages social selling tools and productivity apps:
1. Improve sales prospecting – Efficiency in sales prospecting, networking, and building relationships are better managed and supported. With social selling tools such as social networking sites, contact intelligence, and sales AI, your sellers can quickly find, engage and connect with target prospects.
To illustrate, let’s say your company offers commercial insurance. Your sellers can use advanced searches on LinkedIn® or Sales Navigator to find prospects by filtering by a specific region, such as a city, state or country, and by using LinkedIn Boolean search techniques and relevant keywords such as “Owner,” “CEO” or “CFO.”
2. Increase seller productivity – With the right combination of social selling tools, you can enable sellers to perform essential activities at scale.
Using the same example as above, once sellers have connected with target buyers after using the search filters, they can share helpful content based on their role and stage in the buyer journey. Content curation and content distribution tools can save valuable time by helping sellers find and share this content.
3. Streamline team collaboration – Social selling tools provide your team access to open and easy communication, allowing reps to share tips on which techniques perform best for specific buyer personas, industries, or stages of the sales funnel. This also allows you to track how the activities of the top-performing reps differ from those reps who are struggling to hit their number. Then, you can coach individual sellers, and your team as a whole, on the best performing techniques.
Finally, now that the sales landscape has changed due to Covid-19, consider the use of remote tools to manage sellers working from home.#SocialSelling tools can significantly impact your team’s social selling #success by improving their prospecting, increasing their productivity and streamlining collaboration. Learn how! #Business #ModernSelling @M_3Jr Click To Tweet
How to Manage Social Selling Tools
When monitored properly, social selling tools can reveal the ROI of each tool by tracking your sellers’ meetings and opportunities in your CRM. It is essential to demonstrate to C-level executives the importance of each tool and reveal which aren’t needed as they’re not benefiting sellers’ performance.
A proper analysis report requires diving into the CRM analytics to track which tools are utilized at each stage of the buyer’s journey. By adding a simple, required drop-down question every time an opportunity is moved to a new stage, you can track how essential each tool is at every stage of the buying cycle. Plus, it only takes sales reps 10 seconds to choose the options from the drop-down.
Leverage Tools to Coach Sellers
Another advantage of managing your social selling tools is how it can improve your social selling strategy and coaching plan. Effective sales coaching starts by identifying which areas your sellers need to improve and coach them on the specific techniques needed. Social selling tools provide you the opportunity to track the different techniques that are working for top-performing sellers, at different stages of the buying process, and to different buyer personas.
For instance, if the top-performing sales reps are using LinkedIn® search results to connect with peers and direct reports of the key decision-makers, but other reps aren’t, then you can use the data to prove why this is an important technique.
Or if a particular seller is struggling at moving opportunities from ‘initial meeting’ to offering a proposal or quote, reviewing the data in your CRM can reveal how their actions differ from sellers who are achieving more success.
Perhaps the struggling seller is dominating the conversation too much during the initial meeting. Using a conversational intelligence tool allows you to listen to the recording and track how often the seller spoke. Then you can review the call together while you provide pointers on how the rep can ask more questions.
By using data effectively, you can coach sellers on the specific actions they can take to improve their performance at every stage of the buying process.#SocialSelling tools allow you to easily identify where your sellers are struggling and coach them on the techniques other reps are using effectively. #SalesLeadership #DigitalSales #SellingWithLinkedIn @M_3Jr Click To Tweet
Social Selling on LinkedIn®
As mentioned earlier in the article, with more than 660 million users, LinkedIn® is the largest B2B networking platform in the world. Also, LinkedIn Sales Navigator provides even more prospecting opportunities through additional search features and the ability to set up personalized notifications.
These B2B sales tools are essential for sellers to find, engage and connect with target prospects. Sellers can leverage search filters to find their prospects. Then, they can engage in their posts or by tagging them on posts that address their business challenges. Finally, they can connect using the PVC Sales Methodology TM to build a relationship. Ultimately, their goal is to turn that online connection into an offline, sales conversation.
However, many sellers are still not using LinkedIn® and Sales Navigator properly. We see far too many sellers using the spray and pray technique. That’s when a rep sends hundreds or even thousands of messages on LinkedIn® hoping for one or two bites. This does a discredit to all the sellers out there who are actually trying to build valuable relationships with buyers.
Social selling is focused more on social and less on selling. When done properly, sellers leverage social platforms to build long-term relationships to create offline conversations. Often, this requires a deeper level of training than many organizations can provide.
Social Selling Training
The modern buyer has changed the game. They are performing more independent research and try to complete as much of the buying process as possible without engaging a sales rep.
Why? Because often, sellers aren’t providing any value to their decision-making process.
To connect with the modern buyer, sellers need to build a relationship by sharing valuable content and engaging with personalized, thoughtful comments. To achieve this, sellers need to change their mindset and help them understand why the techniques that worked five, ten, or even 20 years ago no longer lead to success.
There are several approaches you can take when considering social selling training for your team. Each option has a different set of pros and cons. However, the best option is to hire a dedicated sales training company, such as Vengreso, because we have trained more than 140,000 professionals across dozens of industries. We have refined our training program to change the mindset of sellers so they can change their behavior to reach the modern buyer by leveraging the social selling tools available. The other available options do not provide the same depth of experience.To become effective social sellers, reps need more than #SocialSelling tools. They need to change their mindset and behavior, which requires in-depth training. #SalesTip #SalesCoaching @M_3Jr Click To Tweet
Leverage Social Selling Tools Today
Social selling tools are essential to a modern seller’s success. By leveraging different tools throughout the buying process, sellers are able to improve their prospecting, increase their productivity, and streamline their collaboration.