How To Build Your Sales Pipeline Faster Using Social Media


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Social media plays a crucial role in building an effective and sustainable sales pipeline - learn why social selling is important.

From prospecting on LinkedIn and Twitter to making social media and your sales pipeline work together, learn how to built your sales pipeline faster. Grab the entire ebook here.

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How To Build Your Sales Pipeline Faster Using Social Media

  1. 1. 10X more productive series How to Build Your Sales Pipeline Faster Using Social Media PRESENTED BY
  2. 2. Presented by Base Why Social Selling is Important An effective and accurate sales pipeline is a vital component of any successful business, and social media now plays a crucial role in the sales pipelines of truly outstanding companies. The constant flood of posts being published by consumers on all social media platforms can provide an invaluable data source for salespeople, but it also comes with responsibility. Customers are more engaged than ever, and they demand regular contact and highly personalized relationships with the businesses they patronize. Consumers have extremely high expectations of businesses, as Daniel Newman notes on his Millennial CEO blog: “...67% of consumers expect a same day response to a service response that they post on social media channels... a staggering 47% expect the response in 2 hours and 35% expect it in just 30 minutes.” That’s a tough standard to meet, but for companies that keep in touch with customers on social media, the payoff comes back in the form of intense customer loyalty, social proof, testimonials, and referrals. Newman also mentions that while advertising sources show less than a 50% rate of trust among consumers, a personal referral from within a customer’s social circles has a whopping 90% trust rate. By wowing customers with great treatment on social media, you build relationships within their communities. If even one of those people becomes an ambassador for your brand, and starts recommending you to their friends and colleagues, your business will reap the rewards.
  3. 3. Presented by Base So how does the sales pipeline factor into all of this? Tracking customer interactions and knowing what each one means is the only way to build a strong sales pipeline. Using social media to engage with customers allows you to have many more interactions with them, and it allows you to track those connections. From prospecting to engaging brand ambassadors and even closing deals, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social platforms can give you the data you need to make a super-efficient and accurate sales pipeline. Before you can start cashing in on the value of your social media contacts though, you need to have the foundations of a strong sales pipeline in place.
  4. 4. Presented by Base 1 Building a Robust Sales Pipeline Your sales pipeline needs to be a well-oiled machine for recording data and making predictions based on that information. The more info you can gather about any potential customer, the better the service you can provide them at each stage of the sales process. Your sales pipeline will help you determine which customers to go after, what kinds of offers to make them, and when it is time to either close a deal or let the customer go. A well constructed sales pipeline is vital because it can tell you how best to allocate time and effort to maximize your sales and build the best relationships with your clients. The first step is to build your pipeline, and for that you need the first piece of information, the seed from which all sales grow: a lead. Base’s 6 Step Plan to Manage Your Sales Pipeline offers solid, actionable advice for building a sales pipeline, all the way from capturing your first lead to closing the deal. It all starts with capturing leads, and Base offers a succinct explanation of why a lead capture form on your website is the best and easiest way to do that: “Lead capture forms can be solid gold for your business. The contact information you glean from these forms belongs to people excited enough about your product to offer their contact information. Leads generated through these forms have contacted you directly and expect you to reach back out to them.” 3
  5. 5. Presented by Base Customers who fill out a lead form will not only be your most likely buyers, they may also become ambassadors that bring you new business. Treat these people right! Once you have the framework for capturing leads, you need to be able to track each potential customer throughout their entire relationship with your business. Base’s ebook, How To Understand Your Pipeline and Track Sales Effectively, breaks down the sales pipeline into distinct stages: 1. Prospecting: Finding new customers using social media and other channels 2. Qualified: A customer shows real potential. They want what you’re selling! 3. Quote: If they’re asking for a price quote, they probably mean business. 4. Closure: This is where the rubber hits the road. You’ll need to be highly responsive and promptly answer any remaining questions the customer has. Go out of your way to provide industry data and other supporting info that shows them why it is a great choice for them to go with your product! 5. Won (or lost): Make the sale. Sign the paperwork. This is the start of a great business relationship with your new customer. 4
  6. 6. Presented by Base Tracking customer interactions throughout the sales process is important, but it is only one part of the equation. Using the data you have to make accurate projections about sales targets, customer retention, and sales team productivity are also vital. Having the sales pipeline in place is great, but managing it carefully is what really pays dividends. Management consultant and sales blogger Mack Powers offers some concise reasons on why sales pipeline management is fundamental for any business. Powers says that a good sales pipeline can: • “Assist you in tracking “deal flow” or “deal velocity” to determine if any opportunities are stuck.” • “Show you how to allocate resources to assist in closing business opportunities based upon the deals most likely to close.” • “Indicate how likely you will be in achieving your budgets or targets.” The Sales Funnel Analysis report in Base will help you analyze lead and deal progression through the sales pipeline. By looking for stages with low conversion rates, you can start to identify stage bottlenecks and correct course. The Sales Funnel Analysis Report also tells you how effective your team is at closing deals. Instead of looking at the conversion rates between stages, this time look at the number of deals closed. You can specify by team or by rep over any given period of time. With Base, you can filter, sort and define dates on all your business activities to help you analyze your company, team and individual performance. By spotting trends and patterns, you can improve your sales process, pinpoint strengths, and anticipate challenges. 5
  7. 7. Presented by Base Your business has limited resources, and your time is valuable. The ultimate purpose of a sales pipeline is to help you leverage that time most efficiently so that every moment that you invest in sales yields the best possible returns. There was a time when successful salespeople spent most of their time on the phone or visiting clients in person. While those are great ways to make sales, they are time intensive, and today’s hyper-competitive business environment makes it hard to invest that kind of effort in anyone other than top-dollar customers. Fortunately, new social media platforms provide an incredible resource for salespeople to make connections and build relationships with individuals and communities while simultaneously gathering info to enhance the sales pipeline. Hubspot’s current CRO and ex-VP of sales, Mark Roberge said: “I challenge sales people to take 2 hours per week for the next 2 months that you would have been prospecting, and blog. Or go to Twitter and Retweet some stuff, or go in a 6
  8. 8. Presented by Base LinkedIn group and participate in conversation, or go find a blog where your prospects are hanging out and put a smart comment in there. You know a lot. You are a thought leader in your space because you’re answering the objections and helping prospects every day with your value proposition. After those couple months, reflect back and ask yourself, “Were those 2 hours you spent blogging and interacting on social media – would they have been better spent prospecting or did you get enough value from that effort?” Takeaways: 1. Customize your sales pipeline to your business using Base. 2. Use the sales funnel analysis report to analyze how your sales process is performing. Make necessary changes. 7
  9. 9. Presented by Base 2 How to Use LinkedIn as a Prospecting Tool Social media platforms such as LinkedIn can offer benefits at every stage of the sales process, but finding new customers, or prospecting, is the area where it is easiest to make social media work for your business. Thanks to LinkedIn, there is an easily accessible, highly detailed database of professionals that savvy salespeople can tap into to find customers and ambassadors for their businesses. LinkedIn’s main value as a prospecting tool lies in its premium Sales Navigator and Lead Builder tools. These services provide targeted search capabilities that can help salespeople get in touch with influencers and decision makers in any industry or niche. LinkedIn’s Lead Builder tool allows you to search the complete profiles of potential clients using a variety of criteria, including: • Location • Industry • Seniority level • Job function • Company size A major challenge for many B2B salespeople is finding and contacting the right person at a potential client company. One of Base CRM’s 6 Steps for Managing Your Sales Pipeline is to identify decision makers at companies you 8
  10. 10. Presented by Base want to sell to, and LinkedIn makes that much, much easier. Sales Expert Jill Konrath’s recommends using LinkedIn not only for finding contacts, but for gaining deeper insight into their personalities, their business goals, and their networks. Konrath’s book, Cracking The LinkedIn Sales Code, notes a few pieces of information that top sellers pursue when prospecting with LinkedIn, including: • Multiple points of entry into organizations. • Likely people involved in the decision process. • Common connections they can leverage. • Mutual interests to start conversations and build trust In a blog post on Baseline, Konrath emphasizes the power of having multiple contacts for a given company: “Having more contacts within an account increases your likelihood of getting in and getting to the right person. It gives you a chance to gather even more invaluable information necessary to drive the sale. It protects you from losing your relationship if you only have one contact. And, it leads to more business.” Another power tool you can put in your LinkedIn prospecting toolkit is the Base Contact Clipper. LinkedIn makes it easy to find prospects based on detailed search queries, but you still need to save that info somewhere that you can use it. The best 9
  11. 11. Presented by Base sales pipelines depend on CRM and sales productivity software to make their data easy to access and interpret. The Base Contact Clipper saves complete LinkedIn or Facebook profiles to Base CRM so you have every potential client’s social media info a mouse click away when you’re making that crucial sales call. LinkedIn itself has published a handy article on how to use the social platform to find contacts, build rapport, and nurture leads. One of the smartest insights in the article cuts to the core of why social selling is taking center stage: “Sales is built on trust, and trust is built on existing relationships.” LinkedIn helps salespeople learn about connections they didn’t even know they had. By leveraging second- and third-degree connections, top sellers can use their relationships to build stronger, more lasting connections with new and existing clients. The power duo of LinkedIn and the Base Contact Clipper can bring any business closer to having the ideal sales pipeline that can use every 10
  12. 12. Presented by Base interaction and every bit of customer data to make accurate, long distance predictions about sales success. LinkedIn isn’t the only game in town though. Twitter has also proven that it has incredible potential in sales prospecting. Takeaways: 1. Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Lead Builder for sales prospecting. 2. Use Base’s Lead and Contact Clipper to port prospects and influencers into your CRM. 11
  13. 13. Presented by Base 3 How to Use Twitter As A Prospecting Tool Twitter offers two incredible benefits to salespeople: 1. Easy, personalized communication with customers and their communities 2. A fire hose of free data about those individuals and communities A study from Forrester Research shows that buyers are frequently up to 90% through the process of considering a purchase before they actually get in touch with the vendor. Customers are doing their research about you before they even think about contacting you, and you should do the same. Learning as much as possible about potential buyers during your prospecting phase will make it easier to build a relationship with them and give them the info they need at every stage of your sales pipeline, and Twitter is a great place to start. The first step is actually finding and connecting with potential customers. Twitter offers a few great tools for finding individuals within your target market: 1. Keyword Searches: Twitter’s search bar allows you to search for Tweets containing specific keywords. You don’t have to do this manually though. In a blog post on Baseline, online marketing expert Susan Payton describes her system of using HootSuite feeds seeded with relevant search terms such as “software” and “small business” to find people who are discussing the types of products she sells. 2. Hashtags: Many of the hashtags used on Twitter are basically empty chatter, but there are plenty that are used by professionals to engage in real dialogue as well. Finding a hashtag that is frequently used by your target market can open a door into that community for you and your brand. For 12
  14. 14. Presented by Base example, many sales professionals use the #SocialSelling hashtag to engage in robust conversation about how social media affects their sales process. 3. Lists: If you start to follow a lot of people, it can start to get overwhelming. It’s helpful to build out Twitter lists to group similar people who you want to keep track of. If your target market is tech company CMO’s for example, curate a list of just tech company CMO’s. You can keep the list private and check in daily with what they’re saying. Once you find the users and communities on Twitter that might turn into customers for your brand, you can start participating in their conversations. A few well-placed Tweets with useful information for your target audience can position a salesperson or company as a thought leader in their industry, which will translate directly into inbound sales leads. Look for people who are asking the questions your business knows how to answer. That level of authentic engagement is the key to successful sales prospecting on Twitter. Russ Fradin, the CEO of Dynamic Signal, writes that “...the networking potential and the ability to understand a prospective customer's pain points is where much of the value lies in social media as a sales tool.” Once you’re following the conversation and contributing regularly, start looking out for people who need what you’re selling. People often post to their social media profiles asking for recommendations for a particular product type, software, or business solution. The Hootsuite Blog highlights research from Vision Critical that proves social media engagement influences purchasing decisions. Customers turn to Twitter to research the products they need, and you can be there to help them. When you are truly engaged with your target market on Twitter, you will be able to regularly identify potential customers. You can then gather other information about them and keep track of it in your chosen CRM system. 13
  15. 15. Presented by Base The final step in using Twitter as a sales prospecting tool is to actually reach out and initiate a direct conversation with a potential buyer. If you follow each other, you can send a direct message letting them know you are interested in working with them. Relationships are at the core of social selling. Cold calling scripts have no place on Twitter. Learning about your potential customers by paying attention and figuring out how to help them resolve their pain points are the only ways to take prospects you gain from Twitter, and bring them all the way through your sales pipeline. At Base for example, our marketing team uses Hubspot’s social media tool to create a custom stream of “Twitter Prospects.” With this tool, you can set keywords that a potential customer might be searching for where your product or service is a good fit. For example, we added “best CRM solution”, “looking for a CRM” and “CRM recommendations” to our list. We’re then alerted any time someone Tweets our key phrases so that we have an opportunity to chime in to the conversation. Takeaways: 1. Use Twitter to build relationships with your prospects and customers. 2. Utilize social media tools like Hubspot to monitor conversations about your brand, product or service offering. 14
  16. 16. Presented by Base 4 Build Recommendations Through Social Media Customer testimonials and recommendations are an amazing way to demonstrate the quality of your business and bring in new clients. These testimonials don’t have to be huge pieces of content. The classic version is just a picture, a full name, and a brief statement about how your business helped the customer meet their goals. It isn’t much, but having these testimonials on your website, in your slideshows, on your blog and in your marketing collateral can have a powerful positive impact on your sales. Social media platforms provide a whole world of new formats and venues to get the testimonials that will really boost your business. To Get Testimonials, Ask For Them The first and most important step towards getting testimonials and recommendations is to ask for them. Sales 2.0 mastermind Miles Austin puts it concisely in a blog post for Baseline: “If you are not asking for testimonials you are leaving money on the table. Getting past this hurdle can deliver a significant uptick in your revenue almost immediately.” Using social media to seek testimonials has the added benefit of giving the client a ready-made publishing platform. Happy customers are quick to praise their favorite companies via Twitter. You can screenshot or embed those positive tweets and post them on your blog, or reach out to customers who praise you via Twitter, and ask if they’ll provide a more fleshed out testimonial. 15
  17. 17. Presented by Base LinkedIn Recommendations LinkedIn has a built in option for recommending companies, products, and services, but your customers might not know about it. If you are specifically seeking testimonials on LinkedIn, it is a great idea to let your customers know that’s what you’d like. It all goes back to rule number one for getting testimonials: you have to ask! Help Your Customers Out With Their Testimonials Even if your customers are completely open to writing a recommendation, they might not know exactly how to write the stellar testimonial you’re looking for. This gets to the heart of another strategy for earning great testimonials: help customers write them! Opinions differ on how much a company should try to influence the content of their customers’ testimonials. However, if the customer asks for guidance, it is a great idea to give them some previous examples of ideal testimonials, or offer some pointers on how to write a good one. The influence that a good testimonial can have on your bottom line is incredible. A study by Keller Fay Group, outlined in Forbes, shows that “Personal recommendations are the number one driver of consumer purchase decisions at every stage in the consumer purchase cycle.” Social media platforms offer a unique opportunity for businesses to get testimonials while also building a stronger relationship with customers and their communities. Reaching out to a customer to ask for a testimonial shows them that their opinion matters to you, which they’re certain to share with their social circles. 16
  18. 18. Presented by Base 5 Making Your Social Media and Sales Pipeline Work Together Any business that hopes to stay competitive in today’s market needs to be using both social media and a robust sales pipeline. Additionally, Base CRM and the Base Contact Clipping Tool can make it much easier to maintain up to date records of the customer data you gather through social media. The sales pipeline has long been a standby of successful businesses, and social media platforms have evolved into serious tools for sales and marketing over the past several years. As these two vital business tools continue to evolve, it is important to stay up-to-date with new techniques and technology, but also to remember the basics: • Relationships are everything: Treating your customers well on social media will pay you back in multiples. Engage your customers’ communities and build their trust! • Learn everything you can about your customers: The more information you can gather about potential clients, the more you can offer them at every stage of the sales pipeline, from prospecting to closing and winning the sale. • Ask for recommendations: Customers that you have truly helped will be more than happy to recommend you, but you may need to give them the extra push to take that action. Asking for testimonials can immediately bump up your sales. 17
  19. 19. Presented by Base With those principles in mind and a rich, attentive social media presence, you should be able to take your sales pipeline to the next level and boost your business into the stratosphere. 18
  20. 20. Presented by Base Brought To You By Base This ebook is brought to you by Base, the next-generation CRM and sales productivity tool specifically designed to boost productivity and keep you on track - whether you’re at your desk on on the road. Base CRM is an intuitive, easy to use tool that takes just minutes to set up. You’ll get powerful features like: ‣ Customizable pipeline ‣ Unlimited contacts ‣ Automated tasks ‣ Sales goal setting ‣ Social media Contact Clipper ‣ Dynamic reports ‣ FREE native mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows devices ‣ Integrations with other tools you use, like Outlook or Gmail Inspired? Sign up for a no risk free trial.
  21. 21. hjhdskmks nkn jnsn jnndsjvnjfn ndjnvjndfj nvnvdjnvjn fjdnvdjnjnj nvdjnjvdjn The CRM you will actually want to use. Available on web, Android, iOS and Windows devices Base is the only CRM built for people and the first post-PC CRM where your mobile CRM experience is just as important as your web CRM experience. Base is used by tens of thousands of businesses to manage sales and customer relationships. Our mission is to make you and your team 10x more productive. Try Base Free 14-day free trial
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