According to recent research, only 15 percent of sales people are using social media to contact potential customers. This is despite the overwhelming case for social sales: 78 percent of salespeople outsell peers who don't use social media, while more than half are likely to meet quota, according to LinkedIn.
The benefits of social selling seem clear, so why haven't more salespeople started to take advantage of this? There could be a number of reasons for this, including:
Using social media in the wrong way: going in for the close rather than using it to nurture contacts
Lack of training around how it can complement or replace other forms of communication
Not enough time or resource to fully understand and embrace it
Here I run down the top nine tools to help you boost social sales and realize the benefits of social selling.
Colabo is a sales platform that embeds social selling into the sales strategy and process. The workflow automatically suggests (and that automates intelligently) social actions that you can take based on previous actions.
Colabo's intelligent prospecting feature also allows salespeople to scale social interactions to save time in the lead generation process. It works with social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Meetup, and Xing.
Roger DeMers, an inside account manager in the computer software industry, says: "Social selling is one of the big buzz words going around right now, largely because it get's results. While social selling is effective, it can be tedious and time consuming. Colabo helps remove a lot of the manual work that goes with social selling and allows you to get your message out to more people, faster."
InsideView is both a social sales and sales intelligence platform which allows salespeople to track company and contact news and social activity through a Facebook-style newsfeed. It also monitors contacts' personal and corporate posts on websites, and subscription-based sources.
With this app, you can set up WatchList email alerts to find out when contacts and companies have posted on social media, as well as build lists targeted at specific industries.
Mary Arnold, sales operations manager at InvoiceInfo, says: "InsideView makes it easy to build lists that target the company type, size and geographic area as well as targeting specific titles/functions of the people you want to reach out to."
PeopleLinx is a tool dedicated to social selling, which helps sales reps track what their contacts post on social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn by providing automatic alerts. It then advises reps on the best action to take to respond to posts on social media via tools such as its content curation feature which serves up relevant articles to answer questions and provides help.
The social selling app also integrates with CRM systems and comes with built-in analytics to track the success and ROI of social engagements.
Nimble differentiates itself in the market by being a CRM with built-in social sales capabilities. All social conversations from contacts are brought together on one screen, which is searchable according to keywords. These searches can then be saved and automatically appear next time you login.
The CRM app also has a Signals tab, which lets you keep track of people who are talking about your company on social media, as well as monitor important milestones, such as a job change or promotion.
Well-known social media platform Hootsuite is also a useful tool for social selling. As well as social media monitoring and lead generation capabilities, it also allows you to create approved content that your sales team can share, as well as analyzing when is best to send this content to prospects to ensure a response.
With Hootsuite's compliance features, you can also add an approval step to all content to be published on social media, as well as ensure only approved salespeople can post.
Socedo makes social selling efficient by automating the process of lead generation through social media. It uses real-time social behavior to identify prospects that are talking about your company or industry, or that fit your buyer persona and buying cycle.
The social lead generation app also automatically adjusts buyer-related keywords that you are monitoring on social media and adjusts these to boost the quality of leads in terms of relevance and stage in the buying cycle.
Once you have imported your contacts into social sales app Reachable, it can find out which member of your company has the best relationship to each lead (through first and second connections) and so who should make the initial approach.
The algorithm works with data such as where each contact has worked and lived, and can then tell you which of your contacts (or the contacts of your colleagues) is best placed to start the sales process.
With Trapit, salespeople can not only reach out to contacts on social media using appropriate content, they are also provided with tailored content to share on their social channels each day so they can establish themselves as experts in their field. Trapit also offers an onboarding process and dedicated customer support people to get new salespeople up to speed quickly.
Through its sales intelligence and analytics features, you can track how prospects are interacting with salespeople on social networks.
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn offers a social selling product that aims to improve your prospecting across its platform. LinkedIn Sales Navigator serves up tailored lead recommendations, allows you to create lists of these leads, imports your Salesforce contact data, and gives you real-time updates on your leads and contacts. It also offers more LinkedIn features, such as unlocking full profiles for people not in your network, and the ability to access co-workers' LinkedIn networks.
The drawback here is that it's only for LinkedIn, not other social channels.
If you're in the market for a social sales solution, check out our ranking of the top sales management apps.