Force MultiplierWhat if there were a way to significantly boost your professional presence as a seller in order to reach greater potential leads faster and cheaper?

There is: Using social media as part of your sales prospecting and lead generation efforts.

The Force Multiplier Effect (Or Why Social Media Helps Sellers)

Increasingly, the use of social media offers a force multiplier effect that allows sellers to amplify marketing messages far more easily than traditional methods. Even better, social media allows them to find, connect, and communicate with prospects on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis.

What exactly is a force multiplier, anyway?

According to this definition from the U.S. Department of Defense, it is, “A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.”

For a professional sales person, we may modify that definition slightly:

“A capability that, when added to and used regularly by a person in a sales force, significantly increases their visibility and potential suitability to solve a need and thus enhances the probability that a prospective customer becomes aware of their solution(s) and engages with the seller to learn more and ideally leads to increased sales”

To expand upon the force multiplier concept, social media helps sellers by allowing them to develop a professional persona on a number of ubiquitous communications platforms (such as LinkedIn and Twitter) and disseminate information about their company’s products and services. Rather than being limited to inefficient systems like phone book listings and in-person meetings, sales people now have multiple options to help them gain visibility online.

Being found online is becoming more crucial, as many studies (such as one conducted by SiriusDecisions in 2012) indicate that buyers are coming to sellers much later in the sales process than ever before.

In SiriusDecisions’ study last year of C-level executives’ buying behavior, they asked how these executives self-educate themselves during the buying process. The number-one method that C-level executives reported using was “search the internet,” while a close second was, “asking my team or colleagues to come back with a series of options.”

In both cases above, someone from the C-suite or just below it is likely searching online, right now, for potential solutions to solve their problems. The question is, will they find you or one of your competitors?

How Leading Sellers Are Building Their Social Selling Skills

Today, best-in-class sellers are using a variety of social media techniques to win more leads than their less social counterparts. Specifically, top social sellers are:

  • Spending time setting up and maintaining professional profiles on key sites including LinkedIn, Facebook Twitter and Google+
  • Posting regular updates to their social networks
  • Interacting with other people on social networks (vs. just listening and monitoring)
  • Reading blogs in their respective industries, sharing the best content with their audiences and leaving insightful comments
  • Taking social media for sales training courses to learn new skills such becoming “Micro-Marketers” and prospecting using social media tools

What About You?

Are you in sales? Have you embraced social media or are you still undecided about the merits of using it regularly from a professional standpoint?

This article originally appeared on Solution Selling and has been republished with permission.