The world’s top sales pros are uncovering hotter leads, winning bigger deals and earning more revenue than their peers – all because of awesome new sales tactics. So what is their secret? The key is adjusting your playbook the right way — and adding three key sales techniques.
According to Jonathan Lister, Vice President of Sales with LinkedIn Sales Solutions and Country Manager of the Canadian division, social selling has become the new norm – at least, for those top sales pros. And they’re using these techniques to beat their competition.
Lister also revealed the old-school sales tactics you need to swipe left from your playbook immediately while presenting at a “State of Sales” workshop at the LinkedIn Toronto headquarters. His information is based on hard facts, as discovered through LinkedIn’s “Global State of Sales Survey” that researched exactly why top sales reps were performing so well. So there’s no doubt that following this advice could produce major rewards.
Curious what isn’t working? Take a look at part one of our story, then keep reading to learn the three tactics you need to add to your playbook today.
1. Target the full buying committee
Remember those six to eight decision-makers from part one? Those are the exact people you need to target. Thanks to online networking, you now have immediate access to social websites filled with valuable data on all of these people – most notably across the three main networks; LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Lister explained how your prospects are checking in every day on these networks, learning new skills, and connecting with colleagues. In many cases, they are also raising their hands to ask for help when they have a business issue. “The top sales pros are learning exactly what their prospects are doing online.”
The key is to target the full buying committee on social media by connecting with each of those people individually – first on LinkedIn and Twitter, as these are the more common networks for business relationships. Connect with them on LinkedIn, join the same groups as them, follow them on Twitter, and even add them to one of your Twitter lists, which will show you’re taking a more active interest and value their profile. Get to know what they’re posting and what they value. When you eventually reach out with your ‘ask,’ the information you’ve gathered will better prepare you to customize your pitch.
2. Understand before you ask
It’s critical to learn how certain activities and social news can signal a potential sales opportunity. Understanding this timing is a modern top sales skill.
Lister highlighted five social selling signals, but pointed to one that is the most powerful for top sales pros. “Job changes are one of the most powerful signals of intent,” noting that most job changes are publicly highlighted on networks like LinkedIn. Being aware of these updates and acting on them can get you a step ahead of your competition. “When someone changes jobs, maybe they want to take products they used at their old jobs or find new ones,» he explained. That’s a perfect opportunity to connect and highlight what you can offer.
Similarly, when people make new connections or connect with new groups on LinkedIn, that may signal they’re working on a project or building a team. Content shares and social comments also tell more personal commentary on what someone is interested in. Social comments, in particular, are very powerful indicators of buyer’s intent.
Lister went on to explain how new social selling tools like sales filters and lead bots can be a major benefit when making those connections and learning about sales prospects. “A lead bot will go out and find leads at scale, like the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It can deliver leads along with a contact’s profile.” And that information can be invaluable since it’s often accurate and up-to-date. Goodbye dirty lead lists.
3. Engage from first contact to final contract
How do you engage with people across multiple accounts and conversations? With so much digital noise, it’s important to cut through that clutter.
First, find prospects from mutually trusted connections. In LinkedIn, that means connecting with people from shared groups and connections. Finding those connections via the Sales Navigator TeamLink feature can also show you how to break the ice with mutually shared connections on your sales team.
Connecting can then include something as simple as a follow request or an introductory message on the platform – called an InMail. Lister explained how every top sales pro cited ‘trust’ as incredibly important in their sales process. “If you can find that at scale, then the open rates can be incredibly high,” speaking about InMail. “But for most sales pros, that’s where it will stop. They’ll make the connection, send a message and get them to open. Then stop. But it’s not good enough. You need them to give you more information and connect meaningfully to create an ongoing relationship and dialogue.”
Top modern sales pros will make those connection paths and then create a “feedback loop.” In Sales Navigator, that can also include using their new PointDrive tool that lets you send a sales package URL that tells you if the prospect opened and consumed any follow-up info. Using the tool allows Lister and his sales teams more insight into their customer’s actions. “Now I have a way to communicate with my prospect, what they’re reading, what’s important to them and how to communication follow up further.”
Whether you have these tools or not, the important part is continuing the conversation with the prospect, answering their questions, solving problems and building a trusting relationship. If you can do that online even before talking in person, you’re well on your way to winning more opportunities and becoming a top sales pro.