Why social selling is important for training providers?
Behaviours of training buyers have changed. This means your salespeople need to adapt.
Communicating by phone and mail has become more difficult now many L&D professionals work from home.
These L&D buyers also want to do their own online research before speaking by phone. According to LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2022. 40% of buyers check the LinkedIn Page of a salesperson’s company and 39% check the salesperson’s LinkedIn profile
In this article, I’ll walk you through the principles of social selling so you can understand how to use it in your training company.
The importance of social selling
Let’s, first of all, agree on what social selling is. I like this definition by Hubspot:
“Social selling is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals.
Why is this especially important in the training sector? Well for a start, L&D professionals are more likely to engage with your content, with L&D professionals sharing 182% more content than average.
How social selling can be done well?
Because it’s about building relationships, social selling is as much about being social as it is about selling. People buy from people, so showing some personality on LinkedIn can also add to a professional brand.
Social selling also requires a genuine desire to provide buyers with useful information. To do this you need to know what information your prospects will value and like that your salespeople can share.
Good preparation for salespeople is to look up their social selling index. This is a free service by LinkedIn, highlighting the following four areas to prioritise efforts.
Establish a professional brand
A professional brand encompasses many factors. A good place to start is for salespeople to have LinkedIn profiles that follow our CARROT checklist:
- Customer-focused – does their profile describe how can they help in the future? (In other words, move away from an online CV.)
- Action orientated – encourage the next step, and include easy-to-find contact details.
- Right for your audience – make it ‘professional’ for your market
- Real you – make it authentic
- Optimised – use terms that prospects will find you in Google and LinkedIn searches
- Tailored for your audience – is it relevant for your market?
Find the right people
It’s best to build up your connections before posting a lot on LinkedIn. You’re unlikely to get engagement without a good amount of followers. So use the advanced search functions in LinkedIn to identify potential new connections.
Referral selling is a great way to proactively generate referrals. To do this search for relevant second-degree connections on LinkedIn. For example, you can use search filters such as ‘L&D’ in the title field. Once you have your results, ask friendly 1st-degree connections to make an introduction.
Engage with insights
One way to be active on LinkedIn is by commenting on the posts of customers, prospects or influencers. Remember though to keep it ‘social’. Be authentic and don’t overtly sell at an early stage of a relationship. Posting requires skill, time and consistency. Anyone posting needs to consider how much time they can devote, and how to create eye-catching, easy-to-digest posts that are going to be liked by the relevant audience.
By developing a personal brand on LinkedIn, finding the right people, and engaging with insights, it’s much easier to build relationships on LinkedIn.
It’s also important to remember that social selling shouldn’t be restricted to sales. Senior leaders in a business can be great advocates for the business using LinkedIn. And it’s important for sales and marketing teams to be aligned, especially on how to leverage content on social media.
Managing director at Achieve B2B Marketing