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Sales leaders today have it so easy. Sales prospecting has never been easier. There are hundreds of tools and technologies available to the modern sales leader. They can track calls, log conversions, and even detect what piece of marketing content was responsible for generating a lead. They don’t even have to meet a prospect face to face anymore!

A lot has changed since the days of our fathers and grandfathers. Try explaining how technology impacts the sales process today and they sit there, mouths agape, with a puzzling look on their face. You know what they’re thinking: “Back in my day, we traveled all over the country to meet our prospects…” blah, blah, blah. Well Gramps, those days have changed. (Thankfully!) But while the methods we use to connect with prospects may have changed, the importance of nurturing relationships has not.

The world we live in has afforded us the luxury of connecting with prospects in a more strategic and meaningful way. Sales leaders today utilize tools like sales and marketing automation and social media to engage with their prospects, rather than talk at them about their product or service. And the increased cooperation between Sales and Marketing has made it even easier. Sales and Marketing collaborate on content offers and strategy, and together they analyze the data to see what is working and what isn’t. These insights (the very ones that Gramps would be scratching his head over) are the ultimate secret weapon in the modern sales leader’s playbook. Here are three ways in which modern sales leaders are nurturing relationships today.

Social Sales Prospecting Tips For the Modern Sales Leader

1. Use your CRM to nurture relationships 

Sales isn’t only about relationships anymore. It’s about strategies that are guided by insights from smarketing (sales and marketing) efforts. But, that being said, relationships carry leverage in any important business scenario. So don’t discredit them completely. Especially the relationship between a sales rep and their CRM. While you look to create new opportunities, nurture your existing ones with your CRM.

A CRM system is a sales leader’s secret weapon. It is the database that houses all of your past deals, relationships, calls, new lead opportunities, etc. Make it a point to reconnect with past opportunities, whether they did business with you or not, and nurture them in new ways. Provide a new eBook on business development strategies. Send them a white paper on the latest industry trends. CRM insights allow sales reps to decide which content is appropriate for each contact. So whether past or present, nurturing relationships should not be completely disregarded just yet. We just have to leverage sales and marketing technologies to nurture relationships in new ways.

2. Get active on Twitter

If you are not using Twitter, you are way behind your peers. Sales leaders are using the social media site to learn from each other and influencers in their industry. Read about what other sales leaders are doing on Twitter here.

That’s all well and good, but how will Twitter help your sales prospecting efforts? Your prospects are out there, you just need to find them. Or rather, they just need to find you. Twitter serves as the platform you need to get in front of your audience and capture their attention. Here’s a simple 3-step process to get you started:

  1. Determine what you want to measure

The number of Twitter analytics you can measure will make your head spin, so focus on 3 or 4 of the most important ones you want to accomplish. For example, if you want to measure sales and conversions generated by Twitter, you can track this analytic in your marketing automation software or other social media tool by tracking how many clicks you get back to your website. Then track how many sales leads were generated.

  1. Engage with potential prospects

You can accomplish this in two ways: directly engage with prospects by tweeting at them, replying to them, or favoriting their tweets, or you can engage through the content that you publish. Modern sales leaders are “always helping” their prospects. One way to do this is to provide insightful content that your prospects will find meaningful. There is so much noise out there, it’s nice to be able to find helpful content from someone that understands the industry. And that helpful content might even prompt prospects to visit your website to learn more.

  1. Engage with industry influencers

Engaging with prospects will help your lead generation efforts, but engaging with other influencers in your industry is going to help build your credibility. Follow them, see what they’re tweeting about, and share (or retweet) their material. Provide an insightful opinion about their content. Don’t just share it and say “I agree!”. It’s hard to do in 140 characters or less, but keep it short and to the point and use 1-2 strategic hashtags to increase visibility.

3. Leverage LinkedIn: the ultimate sales prospecting machine

Now that you’ve mastered Twitter, let’s explore Sales Prospecting Tip #3: Engaging with prospects on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the best social sales prospecting site out there. Your prospects are on it and there are easy ways to get in front of them. Here are 3 easy tips to get started.

  1. Update your profile!

This requires an exclamation point, because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people try to connect with me that don’t even have a profile picture! Let alone a well-crafted description of themselves and their business. Prospects are much more likely to do business with you if they can see that you are a real human being. Learn more about optimizing your profile here.

  1. Participate in 2-3 Groups/week

Do some research. Find out what Groups your prospects hang out in. This is an excellent way to engage with them. Keep in mind that LinkedIn Groups are self-moderated, so content that is shared sometimes has to go through an approval process first. Remember your cocktail party rules: share more content about others and relevant information than about yourself or your company. Your prospects like to be rewarded with information, not bombarded by it!

  1. Start your own Group

Because some Groups are more strict than others about what types of content can be shared, starting your own Group is an excellent way to get around the red tape. Make it relevant to the industry you want to target; you can target more than one and create multiple Groups. In your own Groups, you can share your own content with others, but we would recommend to keep your cocktail party rules in the back of your mind. Don’t overload the Group with only information about yourself and your company. That’s boring and salesy and NOT the way to nurture potential leads.

A sales rep’s job has always been social. During Gramps’ time, some would argue that relationships were the most important factor in choosing to do business with one rep over another. Today, the modern sales leader leverages technology to harness relationships and produce opportunities. So while Gramps sifted through his Rolodex to drum up new business, the modern sales leader gains insights from their CRM and smarketing data to target, retarget, and engage with sales opportunities.

Sales is still about relationships. It’s just about smarter relationships.