Before using social selling, Marketing Campaign Manager Scott Logan and his sales team from inContact used popular lead generation tactics for sales teams. These included sending out regular emails then following up on inbound leads via phone as well as cold calling.
Over time Scott started to notice that his team’s email efforts were not producing the result they once had. They were increasingly challenged with finding true qualified leads, being able to reach the decision makers, and connecting with decision makers without annoying them.
Scott decided to do some research. He looked at a variety of information that he found online as well as a slideshow called The Evolution of LinkedIn and discovered something called social selling. This piqued his interest. The more research he did, the more he realized the powerful potential of social selling and LinkedIn.
Scott knew that he needed to be ahead of the game and get a handle on the concept and process of social selling. He also knew that he had to have a well-documented reporting process showing a clear ROI. Scott created a social selling process from scratch using the results of his research and the AB split test described next.
At the time only half of his team (A) had a complete and professional looking LinkedIn profile and made use of it for the purpose of networking. He trained this group on social selling, which they then put into practice. The other half of his team (B) continued to use their current sales and marketing practices. He then implemented a method of tracking that would show lead sources and identify differences between the reps using social selling and those that were not.
Within three months of being trained, group (A) implementing social selling techniques had a 160% bigger sales pipeline than group (B) using traditional methods of marketing and selling.
Seeing the success of their peers, the rest of Scott’s team started to adopt the basics of social selling. Those who continued to grow their social selling expertise over the following nine months realized 215% more revenue in their pipeline by the end of 2013.
Today, Scott’s sales team is connecting, via LinkedIn, with everyone in their pipeline. They recognize the importance of building the relationship regardless of whether a prospect is ready to purchase at the time or not. Through the regular sharing of quality content and consistent nurturing of relationships, they have become and continue to stay top of mind. Social selling techniques are now a part of inContact’s sales organization’s DNA and have been included in their annual sales kick-off conference.
Social Selling has allowed Scott and his team to broaden inContact’s exposure to a larger audience as well as zero in on prospects based on their location. For example, his team, as part of a 25 city regional outreach, host a 90-minute panel discussion over lunch with a series of experts in specific locations across the US and Canada. To initially connect with these prospects, they use regional LinkedIn groups (city, state, or provincial groups for example) to invite them to the training. 42% of all registrations for each event come from connecting within those regional LinkedIn groups.
There exists an abundance of evidence suggesting that if used effectively, social selling in general and LinkedIn specifically, will generate leads and increase revenue. This is not meant to suggest that traditional marketing practices should be discarded like the proverbial baby with the bathwater. One of the greatest benefits of social selling is that it doesn’t disrupt or replace existing marketing and sales processes (unless it is meant to). Social selling will actually enhance a company’s existing practices.
In addition, it will augment those areas where sales processes aren’t currently focused. For example, social selling is ideal for the pre-qualification stage to find and connect with brand new prospects, bringing new leads into the pipeline that wouldn’t have existed without its use.
Scott states in his training that social selling eliminates the gatekeeper. Reaching decision-makers is easier than ever. If the social seller is seen to be a field expert, keeper of knowledge, and a resource, the decision-maker is more likely to allow unfettered access. As such, the only thing that would stand between the social seller and decision-maker is a lack of relevant content to share or the inability of the social seller to effectively communicate it.
Scott, in explaining why he and his team will continue to use social selling and the LinkedIn platform states:
“It is a long-term process, however, the reps that use it see immediate results. Soon social selling will be the standard so you want to ensure that you are embracing this now.”
inContact is the cloud contact center software leader, helping organizations around the globe create high quality customer experiences. To learn more, visit www.incontact.com