3 Ways Field Sales Reps Should Use Social Media
Traditionally, field sales reps have relied on face-to-face events and on-site meetings. Their physical presence was needed to close deals.
But all that’s changing. To stay relevant for the modern buyer, field sales reps need to move more of their activities online. Nowadays, digital interactions are just as important as offline interactions for managing one’s territory. For a modern field sales rep, this means leveraging content and social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter.
Here are three ways that field sales reps can engage in social selling.
1. Search for More Opportunities in Your Territory
Social networks make it easy to find more connections in your territory. Before you hop on a plane or jump in your car, use Twitter or LinkedIn to build a relationship with people in a specific region. When you find yourself in their area, you can meet in person without too much of the awkward “getting to know you” awkward chit chat.
How do you find people on social networks?
Twitter Advanced Search
Let’s say that you typically sell to marketers at SMBs in the San Francsico area. Prior to your visit to the Bay Area next month, you want to start cultivating more relationships in the area.
Using Twitter’s advanced search tools, you can easily find more marketers in your territory. (See example below.) Once you’ve located marketers in your area, you can easily follow them, share content with them, and engage in conversations with them on Twitter.
LinkedIn Advanced Search
Alternatively, you can use LinkedIn’s advanced search options to find prospects. For the sake of example, let’s use the same scenario as above. Let’s say that you’re selling to marketers at SMBs in the San Francisco Area.
Using LinkedIn’s search tools, you can search for marketing managers in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, you can narrow your search results based on your existing professional relationships:
- who you’re already connected to (“1st Connections”)
- who might be able to easily give you a referral (“2nd Connections”),
- who is in one of your LinkedIn groups (“Group Members”).
By using the relationship feature on LinkedIn, you can avoid sending cold connection requests. Instead, you can rekindle professional connections that you have let lapse. Or you can ask for warm referrals from someone you already know (“2nd Connections”), making it more likely that people will accept your connection request and want to meet with you in person.
LinkedIn Alumni Search
Your fellow alumni are often a fantastic, but largely untapped resource. If you want to see if any of your former classmates are in your territory, you can use LinkedIn’s free alumni search tool.
By reconnecting with former classmates while you’re in the field, you might just get the “in” that you need at a particular company.
2. Research Your Target Companies
Before you meet with a prospect in person, take the time to do some research on the company. Traditionally, sales reps would use the company’s website to do reconnaissance work, but social media also provides you with ample research opportunities.
Here are two different lines of research that you can follow:
What is top of mind with your target company?
Many of your target companies use social media. They tweet and write LinkedIn updates, and while you might not realize it, their social media posts are a trove of helpful information.
Those posts allow you to know what the company is thinking about. They tell you how the company is positioning itself in the market. Through press releases, they give you company news about management changes and mergers.
Each social update is a nugget of wisdom to tuck away for later reference. So, take the time to follow your target companies on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Who are the stakeholders in your company?
Perhaps you have connected with one person in the company, and she is blocking you from the rest of the stakeholders. Or perhaps you’re looking to expand into other business units within the company.
With social media search features (see above), you can easily identify other stakeholders in an organization. Use Twitter and LinkedIn to create org charts, determine who uses social media, connect with them, and start cultivating a relationship before you meet in person.
3. Stay in Touch with Prospects and Customers
In-person meetings are no longer enough. Field sales reps need to have multiple touches across different channels – from the phone to email to social media.
When you’re not having face-to-face meetings with customers, you can stay top of mind by sharing content with them on social media. On LinkedIn and Twitter, it is easy to share blog posts, articles, infographics, and slide decks that your customers will want to read and share with their colleagues.
When sharing content, you have two options. You can either write a general tweet or LinkedIn update, which your connections may come across in their feeds. Or you can write a personalized Twitter direct message or a LinkedIn message to an individual person.
This flowchart will help you determine what’s best.
Social Selling Isn’t Just for Inside Sales Reps
It’s easy to think that social selling is for inside sales reps. After all, they work remotely, and they need additional ways to contact customers in a virtual world.
But social selling is for field sales reps, as well. By leveraging social media, sales reps in the field can identify prospects, research their companies, and stay top of mind with customers.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to embrace social selling. Here are a few additional resources to help you: