Training, help, and tools
I realize that the typical SDR team has targets, a manager, and training meetings regularly. There is an AE looking at you to find out when their next appointment created by you is scheduled for. Social selling and the “slower” approach may feel like the least sensible way to prospect when you have all of these pressures.
The opposite is actually true. I am writing this post at 7pm on a Sunday night, which doesn’t mean I deserve a medal but it is happening because I really care about where I am going to go and the things I will do in my career. I care about how social selling comes to the fore in sales more and more, so I happily sit and write or talk about it. The extra hour or the 5 minutes you record yourself venting some thoughts that you can later transcribe into a short blog will be very worth your while.
Once you find the passion and the reason why you would go the extra mile, it feels like the extra few yards rather than a mile. Personal brands take a lot of work, and so does the social selling. There are lots of tools you need for both, not all are free.
This is why I think it is really important to connect up with other social sellers and leaders. By speaking to each other we can share pains and wins, as well as new practices that work or don’t work. We can unearth new tools and ways to do things to help each other.
You will likely need core training on how to “social sell” which will need to come from your own investment or the company if they want to. I suggest that if you find it hard to get the company on board, as long as you don’t rock the applecart too hard you can go and start social selling cheaply from your own resources.
Pave the way for the rest of the team. When you start to do better than normal and get more inbound coming to you personally, as well as referrals, somebody will notice and ask. Create that initial wave, and it will create action. Training and assistance will come!
There’s no doubt, if you’re social, you need content. Whether it’s your own or not, you need to share it or you have nothing to talk about. No bait for your hook.
The sharing of other people’s is the quicker, easier part. The part where you can make a bigger difference is with your own content. When prospects engage with your curated posts, that’s great. But how much better is it that they engage with your own content? Much, much more valuable.
The question you might ask first is, how much content do you need to be making yourself? Isn’t that why Marketing is employed?
Well, kinda. But if you’re making your quota each quarter and your social is contributing you can spare an hour to write a blog post one evening. It’ll be worth it.
The balance is tricky but commits to something you can and will commit to. Saying you’ll write a post every 2 weeks may not be sustainable. Maybe you want to do more. Maybe you think it will be more like one per month.
The key is to strike the balance and stick to it. Keep it regular and routine. It will be different for each person. It’s important to consider writing a longer, more in-depth post if you’re not going to be writing as often.
Social data comes in many forms and I think it is important to understand all the ways it can help you. From simple signs like for example, your prospect is most active on Twitter, you can use your sales intuition to work to the best route to the sale. You can then continue to use social data to obtain information about your prospect’s personal and professional life. If on their Instagram account they share a picture from their local Italian restaurant, you can let them know if you happen to know of another restaurant nearby that is great, or a similar idea using your own sales nous.
To start with, it is worth spending some time before you go and speak in any way to your prospect to find out where they spend their time on social and anything from their social activity that paves the way to an interesting conversation.
Take the 5 minutes (at worst) to find out as much about this as you can, size up their social footprint. You can then work out what the best route is to start that initial conversation, to then how you will take the conversation offline.
It’s difficult to talk too much more about exactly what to say to specific prospects. There will be certain trends you notice with some buyers, perhaps they go out every weekend and post about what they’re up to. You can use this, but others may not have such a pattern. You’ll need to think about waiting for them to post some new content, or an industry event to happen so you have the context to use. Or you can dig a little deeper, and see if there already is context you could find that would serve your purpose.
I have used video on Twitter and Instagram (LinkedIn video has not been a feature the LinkedIn team have afforded me as I write this post). The best way to understand the impact video has is to think about influencers. I follow Evan Carmichael on YouTube, and now Instagram. I sent him a quick note on Instagram direct message explaining how much I liked the channel. He then sent back a personalized video thanking me for the message and encouraging my continued support of the channel. I really appreciated that he took the time from his busy day to do that nice video for me.
So think about it on the flip side, if a person following you and engaging your content takes some time to create a video and send it to you (personalized of course), how does that make you feel? The chances are, you (like many) have not experienced this yet. This just goes to show the size of the opportunity here.
The same principles and methods apply here as they did for Twitter video messaging, except for the length of video you can send. I tried this only a few weeks ago and was only allowed to send videos up to 15 seconds in length. So perhaps the best strategy for using video in Instagram messaging is not to take the conversation offline unless you have a short and sweet sentence to say in order to do that.
I used a video message to spark interest from a prospect who had a large following. I wanted to not send a plain message that he quite likely would get sent multiple times per day. I wanted to do something that would be interesting – and the result was worth it.
The prospect responded with a video DM of his own to me, and he actually thanked me for sending a video DM myself. The conversation carried on as a result of the video DM conversation starter. I picked up on a great post he had shared and started to talk briefly about that and commend him for sharing it.
I have already spoken about content but it is important to think of where you are in your career and how you can build on that. SDRs typically want to go into a sales career and get promoted. So why wait until you’re promoted to start becoming known?
The best example I know of this is Morgan J Ingram. SDR at Terminus promoted to SDR team manager and all the while he kept up his YouTube channel the SDR Chronicles. He is known as the host, the SDR who shares what it is like to go through the life and toils of an SDR. He gives tips and advice, mindset and practical advice that he knows himself to work.
So how can you do that? If you really love messaging, or LinkedIn, or cold emails you need to focus in on that. Morgan was able to nail down on the YouTube channel he has due to his passion for sales. I am able to speak about social selling because I do it all day every day, for the same reasons as Morgan. Find your own version and then begin to build on it.
The huge benefit is, you will draw people to your online presence. You will start to build out who you are in the world online. As an SDR, you have a long way to go in the business world. So make the most of the time you have, and see where you can take yourself as your personal brand.
Ollie social sells day and night. When he takes time away from his desk and reading sales books, he’s knocking balls in pockets on the pool table. Feel free to connect up with me on social, I’m Ollie Whitfield on Linkedin, @Olliewhitfield_ on Twitter and @OllieWhitfield96 on Instagram