Can Social Listening Increase Your Sales Success?

Can social listening help you connect the dots?Can social listening help you connect the dots?

I love social listening. It’s a great way to meet potential clients and begin building stronger, deeper relationships with your best clients and partners. Several of my best long term clients are trying to decide if they should include aspects of social listening into their sales training.

I believe the biggest advantage I get from social listening is that I can see what’s going on with my different clients, who are all in different industries. I also believe this is because most of my better clients would prefer me to work with only them in their markets. Almost everyone could gain if they added a social listening aspect to their business development activities.

To do this, they need to change how they measure the impact of their non-selling activities. Their term, not mine. That’s code for “I expect my sales professionals to make many, many calls to find business.” I believe this approach may have worked in the past, but today’s most effective sales people leverage social listening and trigger selling.

I use several tools to get my clients to see how easy it is to begin adding social listening to their sales and business development activities to see the power of social listening. I could use more, but I try to remain neutral when working with clients on how sales is changing. This means there are many great technologies and I have never been a demo king. If I can’t show significant value to my executive clients without a demo then I don’t use it.

That being said, I do have three tools I use to impress my senior level clients. The first is Tweetdeck. For me it’s a great way to monitor many different markets very quickly. I can log in and show clients how I monitor them, their key clients, market changes, and the customer of my customer.

The standing joke I use is “I don’t care what you had for breakfast, I care who you had breakfast with.” I ask them to share with me what they want to be known for and who might they want to monitor. I ask for keywords that might be associated with and who their best clients and potential customers might be.

I then add several columns to my Tweetdeck application. I then share what I watch. If they work in a social friendly industry, for example software or professional services, I just let them watch what populates their columns. It doesn’t take long.

If they’re a slow adopting industry, for example manufacturing, I share mine. In my case, it could be #bigdata, #analytics, or #CFO. All produce rapid sharable information. I ask how much it would be worth to share this content to nurture relationships with key clients, partners, and potential customers.  I use several different social platforms to share information with different stakeholders. I choose where I share by where I get the best ROI on my time investing in nurturing clients.

I then look at their competitors.  It’s amazing what you find. Then I look at their senior leaders and even more information is found. They cannot believe how easy it is to find out more information than they ever had before.

Now I’m not in the social selling business. I’m in the “grow your business revenue and profits business.” I’m peppering them with questions about what they see and how this tool might change the way they sell. By the way, this is how I normally work with clients. They are very used to having me ask them questions to help them focus on the results they want to achieve.

Now the good news, this resource is not very expensive. It cost me less than $20 per month. The results are amazing. I tell them to try it and see what they find.  How much time do your people spend flying blind into accounts? How many times do your sales professionals go directly to voice mail? How hard is it to learn more about the people you’re calling on? Before you answer this question, take time to really think about it.

Do your sales people do any of this before calling on me as a customer? Judging by what my clients tell me, the answer is not a positive one. But if you get these calls you already know this.

Social listening is not hard work. It’s easy if you have time. How much could you accomplish with this investment of 15-30 minutes a day?  Next week, we talk about the next step of social listening that helps accelerate your sales success. We talk about trigger selling and two other tools I use to help my clients win more profitable business.

Social listening is the foundation, but learning how and when to take your conversation offline is critical to your sales success. See you next week where I share two more tools and a strategy to help you increase sales results.

See you then.

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