Today’s social sales professionals understand the value of social listening to gain insight about their online audience. Your network is online, talking about their business needs, asking questions about your industry, and reaching out to others for advice. As detailed in an earlier blog post, actively listening to these conversations online helps you gain incredible insight about your industry, target companies, and prospects.
Seasoned social sales professionals know that if you look carefully, your audience is also revealing intelligence about their stage in the purchasing decision; called social buying signals. For example, did your prospect publish a link to an article indicating they are starting to research similar solutions? Listening for these real time buying signals will allow you to identify when prospects are at the most important moments of their buying process and are open to a discussion.
As a best practice, as you are reviewing your networks’ social conversations each day, pay extra attention to content that may indicate a buying signal. The below are common examples of buying signals laced within social conversations:
-Questions about a business problem
-Questions about similar products
-Engagement with a competitor’s sales engineer
-An announcement of new senior management hire that may indicate budget expansion
Identifying these real-time buying signals will not only allow you to be aware of social actions or events that may indicate a prospect is ready to buy but will also help aid in the conversion to an offline conversation. Therefore, once you identify a buying signal, it is up to you to respond in a timely manner; because a quick reply shows that you are listening and care about what your prospect has to say. The good news is that when you reach out, the context of these signals give you the information you need to increase the likelihood of a conversation. For example, you already know that the prospect has a question, is evaluating a solution, or has another need that you can help address. However it is very important that once you do engage, you focus on providing value and building trust first and foremost. For example, if your prospect is asking a question about industry best practices when evaluating a product, be sure to frame your response in a way that helps to answer their question overall and provide value first and foremost, even if you are highlighting your product as a solution in turn.
As demonstrated here, conversations on social media produce a tremendous amount of information that can be leveraged for not only gaining insight, but also for identifying opportunities for engagement. Be sure to take advantage of this valuable pool of information; because overall, maintaining consistent, active oversight into your online audience (and engaging when appropriate) are two critical components for social sales success.