The Best Practices for Social Prospecting

The Best Practices for Social Prospecting

Back in 2015, I was a marketing partner for HubSpot to help them to launch their annual State of Inbound report. From a sales perspective, there was a lot to take away from their finding, as social selling had made a lot of progress, but still had a long way to go. Looking back, the progress has, not entirely surprisingly, stalled quite a bit.

To this day, and a full 5-years from the initial report, social selling is still more hype rather than reality. However, interest is still very high, especially among executives.

Of all the steps involved in the sales process, we can agree that prospecting is the most challenging.

So, executives have and continue to buy into social selling, hoping that it will ease the prospecting phase. Despite the effort, social selling remains to be more hype than reality.

Social selling or social prospecting can be quite effective. Over a two-year period, I used social selling to run my program. During that period, my social selling strategy brought over $6.7 million in brand-new business. Regardless of how savvy a salesperson with social and technological platforms, social selling is quite effective.

The Best Practices for Social Prospecting

"Social prospecting... Sounds good," says one of the executives. "Go out to the world and make it happen," these are the marching orders of your sales team.

There is one major problem.

There is no definite best practice of social prospecting. In my experience, I had to experiment around with various tactics and strategies. Here are some pointers that are sure to impress right out of the gate.

1. Do Not Waste Time on Social

Try to use all the tools within your disposal. Do not concentrate too much on social platforms while ignoring the rest. Eliminate the noise and distribute your attention equally among all the platforms.

2. Stay Active

Have your marketing team send you all the great content. Share the content across all your social platforms. Social prospecting is about being active on the platforms available to you. To stay relevant in today's social landscape, you have to be aggressive with your postings.

When you share great content, the social community will acknowledge you as a valuable resource. Social activity will keep you in the minds of potential clients.

3. Define Your Strategy

Having a LinkedIn account is not a strategy. It's like bragging about pants that you do not plan to use. It is not about access to the platform abut how you use it to your advantage.

If I were to ask how you plan on to maximize a business networking meeting that registered many great contacts and prospects. Would you have a game plan? Do you intend to target your ideal prospects? Is it your strategy to focus on these prospects? These questions bring me to our next point.

4. Know, Like, and Trust

Automating your broadcast messages won't cut it. You can formulate a thousand pre-made tweets, but if you are not willing to establish a relationship with the prospect, you are missing the point. Always try to personalize your message to your target audience. It's not easy, I know, but social prospecting doesn't work easy. Get involved; marketing won't do it for you. Your interns will not make it easier for you.

In social prospecting, it's all about real relationships. You cannot outsource a handshake. Find your prospects, listen to them, engage, and interact with them. Apply all you know about sales to the social environment, and you will be fine.

'Sales and Marketing' or 'Marketing & Sales'

Close your eyes and imagine.

The starting relievers and pitchers of your favorite baseball team are sitting in two separate dugouts. When they take to the pitch, they throw two separate bullpens. They would feel pretty separate, won't they?

The starting and middle relievers together with the closers are all part of the winning process. Even though they play different roles, these players have the same objective.

The same applies to sales and marketing. The sales and marketing process is a single funnel. In baseball, the starter hands the ball over to the closer in a comfortable position to win. In sales and marketing, the marketing team sets up the sales team for success.

Sales and marketing may sound like two separate components. Unfortunately, for many firms, their sales and marketing departments work separately.

Sales and marketing teams should complement each other like the players in a baseball team. For this reason, I always prefer the term "Sales & Marketing" instead of "Sales and Marketing."

The roles may be different, but the goal is the same. Marketing should be involved in making technology decisions. They should engage in how they plan to use CRM platforms. The marketing team needs to be the powering force of the sales team.

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Social Prospecting

The Best Practices for Social Prospecting

While there is no definite best practice of social prospecting, here are some pointers that are sure to impress right out of the gate.

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