5 Social Selling Tactics Every SDR Must Try

Many SDRs have been trained in the “smile and dial” school of sales. Their leaders expect them to make dozens of phone calls every day, with the expectation that the reps will send the same number of emails. Since they’re graded on sheer volume, the SDRs dutifully reach out to hundreds, if not thousands, of bad leads, who will never buy from you company.

It’s time to change that. It’s time to help your sales reps work smarter, and social selling can help with that. Below, you’ll find a quick list of tactics that your SDRs can use when they are engaging new customers.

1. Research Inbound Leads across Social Networks

This is a sine qua non for SDRs. Social networks are treasure troves of rapport-building information. They give you knowledge about who the buyer is and what interests that particular buyer.

So, take the time to locate your leads on LinkedIn, and look for the following information:

  • Common connections – On LinkedIn, you can see how you’re connected to someone. In the example below, Kim Babcock is a second-degree connection, meaning I’m one person removed from Kim. I could ask Henry for a warm introduction to her.
  • University – Did you go to the same school? Did you go to a rival school? Those small details can be icebreakers that help you build a relationship with the prospect.
  • Past jobs – Where did the lead work in the past? Have you worked with that company before? Did any of your colleagues work for the same company at the same time as your prospect?
  • Recent activity – What does your prospect post about? This gives you an idea of what’s on your prospect’s mind.How often does your prospect post? This helps you set expectations for engaging a prospect. If the person is not active on LinkedIn, you don’t want to message the person two times per day for two weeks straight.

On Twitter, you can unearth similar gems:

  • Professional interests – Your prospects probably tweet about their professional interests. A good SDR will engage in conversations about those interests and be able to weave them into conversations.
  • Personal interests – Unlike LinkedIn, which tends to be more buttoned-up, Twitter brings out a more personal side. You can use hobbies and interests to build a deeper, more personal connection with people. For example, maybe you find out that your prospect likes the TV show Mr. Robot. You might want to make a Mr. Robot reference in passing.
  • Frequency – Some people are active Twitter users; others are not. As you peruse their Twitter feed, look to see how often they post. That will give you an idea of how often you should engage with the individual on Twitter.

2. Conduct Social Searches to Research Members of the Buying Committee

Let’s imagine that the marketing department passes you a lead, and that lead works for your ideal company. You’re probably licking your lips and rubbing your hands together. This is going to be perfect!

Here’s the catch: Your account executive will need to talk to more than one person to close the deal. In fact, CEB’s research shows that 5.4 people will be involved in the decision process. (For enterprise, IDG estimates that 18 people will be involved!) That’s a lot of people, and that’s why it’s a good idea to start researching potential stakeholders early in the buying process.

In the age of social media, there’s no reason to constantly ask prospects, “If you’re not the right person to talk to, who should I talk to at your organization?” I get it. You’re looking for internal referrals so that you can say to a senior level decision-maker, “Joe in Marketing told me that I should talk to you.”

Well, guess what, every other SDR on the block is using the exact same line. Be different. Show your lead that you’re familiar with the company because you took the time to research the account.

It’s fairly easy to do. Let’s say that you sell marketing automation software. Use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find marketers at the target company. Something like this:

For more help with search features, you might want to check these blog posts:

3. Use Content to Add Valuable Insights

74% of buyers choose the sales representative who first adds value during the buying process.

Let that sink in.

As an SDR, you are often the first sales rep with whom a buyer interacts. You’re selling yourself short if you consider yourself a “meeting setter.” You are a value creator. You help determine whether your company wins or loses a deal.

To add value, you first must educate yourself – and not just about your product. You have to understand what’s going on in your industry and in your customers’ industries, and that requires you to consume content. You should read everything your marketing department creates. You should read everything your buyers are reading. (Trust me, they aren’t just reading your marketing department’s content.) You should read everything your buyers should be reading, but aren’t.

As you read, you’ll pick up insights. Don’t be afraid to share your insights. When you come across a great article, share it on LinkedIn and Twitter. Tell your connections what stood out to you. That way, you’re always nurturing your leads.

Don’t be scared to rely on your college network. Often times, your fellow alums are more than willing to help you out. The LinkedIn alumni tool is a good place to start. Outline the companies that your fellow alumni are working for, and then gain introductions into those companies. Your shared life experiences from your college days will help you instantly build rapport.

Too often, sales reps jump to a LinkedIn InMail or a Twitter DM right away, when there are better ways of becoming acquainted with a prospect. For instance, reps might want to join the same LinkedIn group as someone, or ask for a referral from a mutual connection. You’ll be far more effective that way.

If sales reps decide that an InMail is the only way to contact a prospect, they should not open with a product pitch. Doing so would be just as effective as a cold call or a cold email.

Instead, reps should take the time to write a very personalized InMail that is focused on the prospect and not your product. Reps might consider sending a piece of content (not a product brochure) that will resonate with the prospect and add value.

Those are a few tactics and best practices that our sales development reps have used. What about you? Have your SDRs found success with social networks? Feel free to share your tips and tricks in the comments below.

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