As a sales manager, you have probably heard that your sales reps should be using social media for prospecting.  In fact, at a recent Board Luncheon for the Atlanta Chapter of the Sales Management Association, using social media for selling was the #1 topic of interest. Below are 6 tips that you can use to more effectively coach your teams to use Social Media when prospecting:

Focus on social media as a tool to make other activities more effective.

In spite of the buzz, social media alone has not displaced the requirements for understanding a customer’s business environment and demonstrating value.   Social media can be an important part of a broader selling effort that also mixes multiple points of interaction such as phone, email and the face to face meeting.

Steer your teams to use social media to identify “Buying Events”.

One great example of this is using LinkedIn to keep track on who in your network has either moved into a new role, gotten promoted or changed organizations.  The team at Salesloft has a great tool that provides daily emails on Job Changes that you can check out here: JobChangeAlerts.com

Work with your teams to integrate social media into their prospecting routine.

Reps should integrate social media into their routine of calling, emailing and following up to make these activities more effective.  A specific example of this includes using LinkedIn to identify common connections or verify role and responsibility of an individual before emailing or calling them.

Remember, not all social media is created equal.

While there are a plethora of items that fall under the ‘Social Media’ umbrella, different platforms are not created equal when it comes to increasing sales effectiveness.  LinkedIn has clear benefits for the business to business seller such as role specific information, career history and a chance to see what kinds of groups or influencers prospects are interested in.  Pintrest has little to no value for the B2B seller.  Facebook and Twitter come down somewhere in between; as always in sales, it comes down to investing time in the activities that create the greatest opportunity.

Set clear expectations about the use of social media.

If you want reps to use social media tools to increase the effectiveness of their prospecting efforts, set specific activity goals with them and inspect their achievement against these goals.  For example, if you want reps to use LinkedIn when prospecting, set a clear expectation that they should look up their prospect on LinkedIn before calling or emailing them.  Then, follow up to make sure they are executing against expectations.

Integrate Social Media into your Coaching Cadence.

A recent speaker series we did with “Top Coaches” at one of our clients revealed that top coaches set aside specific time for coaching each day/week/month/quarter and set specific goals for this coaching time.  If you want your teams to prospect smarter using social media, then make sure that some of your coaching time is focused on this topic.  Integrating it into your coaching cadence shows that it is a priority for you and provides consistency of message and expectation for your team.

Written By: John Thackston | 6 Tips for Coaching Your Teams to Prospect Smarter Using Social Media

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6 Tips for Coaching Your Teams to Prospect Smarter Using Social Media