Create a Social Media Strategy

Use these steps to create a social media strategy. As social media and the social channels have grown in influencing buying decision, so too have the reasons to create a social an effective social media strategy. Using content, articles, video or online advertising, companies can potentially reach millions of buyers or potential consumers. It’s exciting to think that for any business it is now possible to reach people in different countries and markets. But this doesn’t mean that it is easy to connect with these people, reaching and connecting are two very different social media strategies. It is an important difference that many social media marketing campaigns fail to understand.

Social media marketing strategy

A social media strategy is more than marketing or likes, it should include digital selling, social selling, social reach, buyer or customer engagement, customer service and reputation.

While the main social platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram) have a combined audience base of nearly 3.0 billion users, only a small fraction of them will be open to receiving your messages, with less again willing to connect with your business. The reality is that most people will know nothing about your business or your brand. This is the reason why it’s has become vital to create a social media strategy that you can execute against a clear purpose and goals.

The success of any social media strategy is rooted in the plan and messaging.  But success is never instant, so it’s essential to stick to the plan to allow it to take hold. To help create a social media strategy we have listed some steps below.

Create your social media marketing plan before you start any activity

Don’t get caught in the trap of “random acts of social marketing”, it is surprising the number of companies who just jump into social media with no other plan other to see what works.  They post a few comments, a few special offers or maybe a few articles. Then they get disappointed with the results. Just no point doing that, social media marketing is just like gardening, you reap what you sow but you must work hard to grow your audience and nurture relationships with them.

So, he first step is to create a SMART goals list for your social media activity.

Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-bound

Using this methodology will make it easy to track progress and allow you to easily see what needs to be refined along the way. An example using LinkedIn, a SMART goal could be to “increase our connections with IT buyers in Ireland by 100 during Q1. In this one sentence, you have communicated a specific goal, one that is measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.  SMART goals work best when you can convey the objective in a short sentence or two.

Choosing which social media platforms to focus on

Depending on whether you are B2B or B2C you need to select which social media platforms you will focus on. Selecting which platforms is often overlooked when creating a social media strategy. Take the time to review your Ideal Customer Profile or Buyer Persona and then research where you are most likely to get engagement. The general thinking in random acts of social is if there are over 300 million profiles on LinkedIn, then surely the likelihood of some form of engagement happening is on.  While that is not entirely incorrect, it’s not the right approach to consistent social reach for your business.

Let your SMART goals be the guiding factor in determining what is it you want to achieve. You need to understand who you want to target, with what, when, and what type of engagement you want to have with them. Once these questions have been answered, then you decide which platforms will help you achieve your goals.

Have a social purpose and a clearly defined identity

Buyers today interact with companies whom they feel an affinity and a connection with.  One of the most effective ways to create this connection is for your business to have a social purpose.  This social purpose should form the basis of your marketing content, articles and social media activity. Can you help educate, inform, help, donate, entertain etc. as part social purpose. Consumers are becoming blind to naked sales and marketing pitches

Implement the 3×33 rule of Social Media

This point related back to your social purpose. While the goal of any business is to acquire and maintain profitably customers, when it comes to social media, remember that givers gain. To drive engagement, followers and connections, you must be seen as a useful or even valuable source of information. This means having a mix of content which is not self-generated or focused your brand.

  • 33% of your social media content is stories and case studies to engage your target audience.
  • 33% of your content is sharing ideas, insights, article and stories from thought leaders or experts in your industry.
  • 33% of your social content should be about social purpose and personal insights to expand your social reach.

The above 3×33 rule will help you accomplish a couple things. Firstly, by sharing content other than your own, you’re showing that the interest of your audience comes above the interest you have in selling something and you are more than just blasting your followers with your own content.  Just like in real life, we avoid people who can only talk about themselves and what they do. Well the same is true for social media, this is why givers gain most.

social-media-business

If you fail to be seen as useful and valuable, then your social reach will be limited as people will not be attracted to your profile plus they are unlikely to engage or make a connect with you. To become a trusted adviser, your social accounts and social selling activity need to post educational and informative materials while subtly blending in details about company.

While I hope you find these social media marketing strategy guidelines someway helpful, they won’t guarantee your success in social. However, by creating SMART goals, doing the research into your customer profiles and social platforms to use, having a social purpose, and following the 3 x 33 rule of social media content, you’ll expand your social reach to engage with your target audience.

Sales Training Ideas

Looking for some sales training ideas to boost salesperson engagement? Here are some sales training ideas to give you some food for thought on what information to impart on a sales training course.

Sales training is mainly separated into two categories, the first is learning about the core aspects of different sales techniques such as – lead generation, sales prospecting, business development, the sales process, sales presentation skills etc. This sales training would be customized for the sales techniques that work best in a specific industry or profile of buyer. The second category is very company focused training such as – training on the company’s products or services, the sales process deployed, the internal sales playbook, and the sales assets, tools and resources the sales team will use.

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Sales Training Course

While successful salespeople have similar characteristics, the truth is no one is born with all the sales skills and knowledge to sell at a high level, these are acquired skills. This is why sales training is a crucial part of helping new and existing salespeople deliver on the potential they displayed during the interview process. Sales training should help the new and existing team of salespeople to develop and practice the skills they will need to succeed. Sales training should also include elements that help increase the confidence levels of the salespeople not just in the sales techniques but in the company’s unique value proposition.

 

Sales Training Ideas for Sales Success

Sales Training Tip 1. Teach salespeople to know what they want.

Research shows that the No.1 question salespeople have is “What do you want me to do”, which is very relevant. So maybe the first sales training session could be to answer this question and then proceed to asking the sales people what do they want to achieve in their career. What goals are they setting in place, what are their expectations, what time will they set aside to invest in their own self development, what do they believe are the traits of a successful salesperson. People perform best when they already know what is wanted out of them plus it’s much easier for them to do what the business is asking of them if during the sales training you tell them exactly what that is.

Sales Training Tip 2. Teach the salespeople the companies value proposition plus get them to craft their own personal value proposition.

It is amazing how many salespeople do not understand or can communicate their companies value proposition. Also, if the new salespeople are involved in prospecting or business development, they will need to have crafted their own personal value proposition. Any salesperson whether new or experienced needs to be able to clearly explain why a customer should choose them over a competitor. It may sound simplistic but if your salespeople can’t convey a value proposition, they will struggle with buyer engagement. In modern selling, every salesperson must be able to create value with a customer by (a) what they sell AND (b) the way they sell.

Sales Training Tip 3. All salespeople should understand the sales process.

The new salespeople should be taught that the sales process is a set of predictable, repeatable steps that they take with a customer/prospect to progress them through the sales funnel to becoming a paying customer.

This is an example of a straight forward sales process used by many companies.

Step 1. Sales Prospecting: Salesperson (using Ideal Customer Profiles), researches and identifies list of potential customers with 2 or 3 contacts per company.

Step 2. Sales Touch Points: The salesperson plans out a series of sales touch points (email, social selling, phone call) to engage the prospect.

Step 3. Closing the Conversion Gap: Now the salesperson will use sales tools and sales assets along with seeking to understand the prospects needs and challenges in order to close the conversion gap and get the prospect to enter a buying process.

Step 4. Presenting and Selling: This is the top of the iceberg in selling terms, the salesperson will outline to the customer (and buying committee) how the product/service can solve their needs plus why buying from them will make their lives easier.

Step 5. Customer Verification: Every good sales process should have a series of customer verification points along the way, this high-level customer verification is constructed to qualify the prospect. Customer verification at this point in the sales process can include free trials, proof of concept, budget confirmation, timescales, free consultancy etc.

Step 6. Closing the Sale: This is negotiating and contract phase around final pricing, roll-out, implementation or delivery.

 

Sales Training Tip 4. Teach salespeople the sales habit loop.

This is about teaching salespeople in sales effectiveness. Helping them to cue up sales activity, to have sales routines, time management, how to reward themselves for tasks completed. The output is for salespeople to take ownership for their roles and success.

Sales Training Tip 5. Show them how to use a multi-channel approach.

Today, for a salesperson to increase their sales funnel and drive up the close rates, they need to be skilled in using a multi-channel approach in engaging customers. They need to understand the impact of social media and content on the buyer’s journey, learn social selling, how to use digital assets, how to do social listening, how to craft well written emails and how to use content (whitepapers, research) in the sales process.

Sales Training Tip 6. Make the sales training digestible.

The days of a 5-day sales training courses are gone, research shows that training works best in consolidated chunks of information. Keep each sales training module short. Use concentrated (ten to twenty minutes) learning sessions that contain focused material that immediately hits the point with the salesperson on that particular topic. Give them access to online sales training and point them to freely available learning material for their own commitment to improving their skills.

Sales Training Tip 7. Show them where to find and access sales assets.

From using LinkedIn, researching profiles and in accessing sales assets, to boost a new salespersons productivity you need to make information easy to access, searchable and fast.  Where to access sales tools and sales assets such as content should be part of their daily sales habit loop. If using CRM, them make such all information integrated.

sales-training-and-coaching

Sales Training Tip 8. Introduce Gamification.

Create sales games using real customer case studies, then introduce interactive activities. Set challenges for the salespeople across all steps in the sales process. Then have them provide answers and plans. Gamification in sales training is fun and can rapidly improve retention.

Sales Training Tip 9. Start with easy steps.

Depending on your business model or product, start the new salespeople on the easier (nothing easy in sales!!) steps in the sales process. That could be identify 100 prospects for a new product launch, to phone back lost business for research purposes or helping out on the products that are easier to sell. Nothing builds confidence more than successfully completing a sales task with the managers approval.Sales Training

Tip 10. Use E-Learning to Educate.

We live in the digital age where technology has replaced the need for traveling and lost sales time. The use of online sales training, video and E-learning allows salespeople to continually refresh their sales skills outside of working hours or while on the go. Using online training videos and modules, it drives ownership back to the salesperson for knowledge acquisition.

Sales Training Tip 11. Don’t overload them with information.

In line with sales tip 8, be careful not to overload a new hire with every aspect of the sales (and even if you do teach this information right away, it likely won’t be retained).

Break down each step in the sales process and learning the next step in the sales process should be a reward for mastering the previous one.

So, there you have some sales training ideas to use on a sales training course. The buyer supplier relationship along with how buyers engage with vendors is changing rapidly. So, sales training will have to become more dynamic and digitally driven, just like our buyers.

Note: This article was has been republished courtesy of The Digital Sales Institute from their article – Sales Training Tips and Ideas