According to InsideView, the majority (90%) of CEOs will not respond to cold calls or emails. This is of course a hard segment to reach as they deal with high-level challenges on a day-to-day basis leaving them little time to take calls or respond to emails from someone they don’t know. But, C-level execs may be more responsive on social. However, this does not give salespeople the green light to start tweeting or sending LinkedIn messages to every CEO on their hit list – on the contrary. Salespeople should use the tools at their disposal to capture the attention of, connect with and build meaningful relationships with CEOs.
Social selling is not about selling.
Selling on social is a long game, but a potentially rewarding one. It requires more attention to detail and a deeper understanding of target audiences. However, if done right, it could reap the rewards and build long lasting relationships. So what can be done on social to capture the limited attention of C-level executives (and any other senior decision maker)?
- Find common interests, or a common past (did they go to the same university, play the same sport, or support the same football team?). A quick scan of emails or recent publisher posts could provide a wealth of information.
- When connecting with them on social, have a reason to. If you meet at a conference, or have commented on a post and received a response, that is the right time to connect. Sending a personalised message remind to the CEO of how you met (whether on or offline) will ease you in the relationship.
- Be useful, participate, and leave comments in conversations they are in. Make sure to add value to these conversations. As the relationship builds, share valuable information which you think they may find interesting personally.
- Finally, establish a working relationship.
According to Jim Keenan in his study on social selling, in 2012, 78% of salespeople that used social media were outperforming their colleagues. As if you needed further proof, here are additional stats shared as part of that study:
‘Over 40% said they’ve closed between two and five deals as a result of social media”
‘When it comes to attaining sales quota (exceeding quota by more than 10%), social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers.’
Although it may be daunting at first for those not too familiar and comfortable with social media, ‘Social Selling’ can be a rewarding long term strategy. It will require more preparation, more research and more attention. However, as it becomes increasingly hard to capture prospects’ attention, social selling techniques provide a great opportunity to capture, build and nurture valued relationships – giving salespeople a great competitive advantage.