Good content and customer engagement. Although these seem synonymous in the digital landscape, sharing quality content and driving customer engagement are actually worlds apart. You may have the best content under the sun, but in order to drive customer engagement, first you have to know what to do with it.
It’s pretty easy to screw up a social media strategy. This is why Best-in-Class performers work to understand their audience’s behavior. They know how to actively engage with them, and they know how to utilize the right tools to help them grow. When a social media strategy is properly planned and executed, good content can go a long way. But without the right strategy, all the content in the world won’t help.
Below is a list of 5 social media tips to enhance customer engagement.
1. Timing is everything
Timing is one of the most important elements in achieving success with social media. You can have the best content in the world, but unless it’s being posted at the right time it won’t get seen. Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social site, it’s important to understand the best times to post. Without the right timing, content alone won’t help unless it is seen.
2. Ask a Question
Weaving in a question into your content piece is a powerful way to engage with customers. Leading in with a question demonstrates that you value the reader’s opinion. Whether asking a question outright or leaving food for thought at the bottom of a posting, you can ensure that the reader will respond to the question in their thoughts and will be inclined to read further.
3. Be visual
There’s nothing that goes better with good content than a good visual. As humans, we crave nothing more than a good visual, and graphics are by far the easiest way to satisfy the need to see something beautiful. Visuals also incline audiences to share content. If you use entertaining or useful visuals such as infographs, SlideShare presentations, YouTube videos or an appealing image with an inspirational quote, you will be successful at engaging with your audiences.
4. Make sharing easy
Internet users are lazy. They’re not going to waste time on links that don’t work. When the time comes to the customer actually wanting to share something, you better make it easy to accomplish. If they have to click once or twice to share a content piece, they’ll probably skip it and keep scrolling. Embed several social sharing buttons, but not too many. Enable your readers to take action, but make sure that it’s easy to share the content.
5. Use #hashtags and @mentions
Social media is about connecting with people and building relationships. This is why using hashtags and @mentions is so important. Using @mentions helps create a sense of community when they are shared with audiences. By getting the attention of your customers using hashtags, you can engage with them and work to nurture the relationships.
Content is the cornerstone of customer engagement on social media sites, but it isn’t all about the content. It’s about knowing how to use it. Work around building a sound social media strategy. Focus on the time of engagement and the enablement of audiences to share the content. Really know how to use social media to your best advantage.
How effective is your social media strategy? Are your sales reps utilizing it as a platform for customer engagement?
What’s the secret to forming rock solid relationships with customers? Focusing on customer needs. And this is how you make it happen.
You know that there is nothing quite as important to building rock solid relationships with customer as gathering as much information about their preferences, their activities and their buying behaviors. When we know all there is to know about a potential buyer, we can execute the kind of campaigns that work to convert them into paying customers. But how do we achieve this? How do we make that leap? How do we strengthen our relationships with customers and reap the rewards of long-term commitment? Let’s look at the 4 ways to make it happen.
Why engagement matters
In today’s Marketing and Sales landscape, customers need to feel as though they are being engaged – not bombarded with random messages that don’t match their immediate needs. Keeping them engaged means establishing an emotional connection with them, and that means fostering a relationship that is built on a solid understanding of the problems they face. It is only when we understand customer needs that we can form meaningful relationships with them.
Research shows that a customer’s buying decision is largely based on emotional factors. This means that understanding their pain points is essential to their buying journey. Deeply engaging with them means gaining an understanding of their preferences and buying behaviors, and when we can figure that out, we’ve got it made.
Cutting through the noise
We are flooded with messages on a daily basis. On average, we are exposed to over 3,000 messages per day. Top performers keep this in mind and make sure they stay away from outdated tactics such as batch and blast emails that are sent to broad database segments. There is nothing like breaking a connection with a customer than doing so. With today’s information overload, these approaches form a disconnect between brand and customer, and depending on how you approach this means either cutting a relationship short or keeping it moving forward.
Listening before responding
Sending out messages to customers is important, but listening to them is even more so. By paying attention to customer behavior and activities it becomes more likely to deliver the right messages at the right time. What content piece did they download? Was it a technical piece or one that spoke about making ROI impact? What part of the presentation on sales call was most interesting to them? What email campaign yielded the best response? Listening to customer behavior opens up a world of opportunities to establishing engaging and meaningful conversations with customers.
Miscommunication breaks relationships, understanding strengthens them. The more we are willing to understand customer needs, the more connected we become, and the more connected, the more trust we gain. Trust is the foundation of a rock solid relationship and when customers feel that you’re there to really help them, they are more inclined to make a purchase decision. Trust goes a long way in forming a healthy, long-lasting relationship. And we make this possible when we demonstrate that we understand their needs more anyone else.
The better you are able to tap into the pain points of you customers, the greater the chances of you responding to them with the right solution. How effective are you at understanding your customers’ needs?
Any top Sales exec knows that good sales reps are a rare commodity and outstanding sales reps are few and far between. So what can you do to ensure that your sales force is high performing? Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Ask any successful Sales exec, and they will vouch for it.
Sales teams could be radically improved across any organization by putting in place a few straightforward principles. The following guiding principles aren’t easy to achieve and in no way do they substitute Edison’s formula, but if you use them consistently, you can reap substantial rewards.
Here they are:
Hiring the right sales rep
This process is often neglected, especially when it comes to crafting a thought-out and detailed job description. The clearer the recruitment process, the more likely are the chances that you will find the right person for the job. The interview process must be structured with two key elements: a formal interview questionnaire, and follow-up interviews. This process works to lead to structured and consistent questioning and ensures that an objective decision can be made.
Introducing your sales rep to the ins-and-outs of your sales game isn’t the same thing as training them, but an induction is just as important. Work to help your sales reps understand the company and its culture as well as the expectations for the person and what their role should be. Simultaneously, train them so they are prepared to do their job. The most important thing you can do is be willing to invest in training, expect that your trainees take the process seriously, and insist that they deliver.
Once you’ve trained your sales reps and have them on the ground, you should expect that they will be mostly concentrating on prospecting. Take a scientific approach. Establish solid metrics such as the number of new prospects or number of upcoming sales calls, and evaluate and score these activities from the initial employment phase so that you can further analyze and refine your sales reps’ selling processes.
Aligning with Business Targets
To ensure that your sales team aligns with your other business processes (Marketing, as a key example), provide an in-depth explanation of what your business targets are and how to achieve them. Make sure that you sales team doesn’t function in a vacuum. Explain to your sales reps where you see your business going and how you expect to get there, and they will align their goals with meeting those challenges.
Walk the Walk
How many times has it happened that you tried to teach something to someone properly only to get the results you didn’t expect? Many inexperienced sales execs make a mistake during sales training. Instead of just telling someone what needs to be done or even provide an explanation of how to do it, they forget one essential step – to demonstrate how it is done. The most effective sales reps in the world are effective for the reason that they’ve had their sales execs lead by example.
How effective is your sales force? Are you a beacon of light for your sales team?
How important is Data?
What is the most important thing to you as a marketer? Is it pushing leads through the sales funnel? Is it generating more leads for the sales team? Is it achieving a 25% email open rate? How about this one –the ability to make decisions based on real metrics and analytics?
The reality is, is that all those things aren’t possible without data-driven insight. Some marketers shoot in the dark and hope for the best, but do they yield maximum results? Are they able to roll out stronger and more refined campaigns without real data? If you are a marketer that’s interested in executing the kind of campaigns that work to convert prospects into customers, you must have enough experience to say: ‘The most important thing for me is gathering insight’.
Sales and Marketing execs that make business decisions require a Marketing and Sales strategy. And that means leveraging the kind of data that works to help them put in place an analysis and measurement framework to make the most informed decisions. This section will look at the ways data-driven insights work to roll out strong campaigns for the sales team while enabling Sales on sales-call and beyond.
The Affect of Data on Sales
What is the most important thing that enables the sales team to sell more? The most critical tool in the sales rep’s arsenal is the ability to be backed up by the kind of marketing team that knows how to collect data and knows how to use this data to execute better, stronger campaigns. The metrics that matter most are the ones that enable the sales team. And at the end of the day, it is Marketing’s job to supercharge Sales with metrics that delve deep into customer data.
We know that quality data enables the sales team. Logically, it would appear that poor data quality stagnates the Sales Enablement process. And how does poor data impact your Sales and Marketing process? It hinders Sales from coming in strong in the face-to-face interaction, wrecks marketing’s effectiveness with campaign execution, and gets in the way of the ability of the sales team to convert prospects into buyers.
Data and analytics work best when the sales and marketing process is aligned. If Sales and Marketing aren’t working in a set of common definitions of what constitutes sales-ready leads, it becomes hard for Marketing to use proper segments and properly nurture leads. In order to gather data-driven insight, each stage of the sales funnel has to be defined for marketing to execute strong campaigns and for Sales to go on sales call with sales-ready leads.
Mobile Sales Enablement
Leading companies are going to market with a very different strategy these days. They are using Mobile Sales Enablement. In a customer-centric world, buyers have become informed about products and brands like never before. The mobile has emerged as the new platform that has grown to differentiate Best-in-Class performers versus companies that lag behind. Top performers are using Mobile Sales Enablement to better engage with customers and this is all made possible with integrated data and analytics.
In a survey of 1,500 top performing organizations, over 90% of businesses have already adopted tablets or are starting to use them. Marketers have become empowered to roll out better, stronger campaigns as a result of the data gathered by sales reps on sales call. Data-driven content has improved messaging by incorporating the preferences and behaviors of customers. The sky is the limit when it comes to impacting the decision-making processes of customers using data analytics.
Are you being supported by good data and metrics? Are you seeing success with your current efforts or do you need more insight into your customers’ preferences and behaviors?
Research indicates that most customers buy because of the sales rep’s ability to leave insights and provide education that matters most to the customer. But how can a sales rep know what information to leave behind? Is it specific questions that should be asked? How do we ask the right questions in order to pinpoint the exact needs of the customer?
Buyers buy products as solutions to achieve specific goals. Either they are in a state of growth and their processes are unable to achieve specific goals, or they are in trouble because they are behind on targets and KPIs.
Having acquainted oneself with the company KPI’s and key issues, a classic question could be, “If you had a magic wand, what would you like to change in your current processes, procedures, or organization as a whole? Describe the “As is situation” and what the “desired situation” would be.
Given time, the customer would be able to bring forth an image of clearly defined issues, and the sales rep could check if they have a customized solution to offer.
The key is to do some research on your customer’s company so you can ask two to three insightful questions about the company’s strategy that shows you are interested in their business and not only focused on making the sale. This will get them to open up to you while you quickly build credibility.
What customers are really looking for in a salesperson is that they know the customer’s needs better than the customer. Taking this into account, questions that get the customer to think differently about their business and teaches them to rethink their current perspectives and approaches are the questions to ask. You know when you have asked a great question as the response is normally – “That’s interesting I hadn’t thought about it like that before.”
An effective strategy for selling is to focus on what others have offered the customer in the past by probing for more information, and in turn, differentiate yourself from that solution. Address the issue that they might have, and get them interested and curious about how your solution is the better choice.
The reason for asking questions is to get to know what the buyer is looking for based on what kind of further probing to do .The probe should steer the discussions towards what you can offer in the form of providing a good solution therefore enabling a stimulating discussion. This creates an empathizing situation making that much easier to get your points across effectively. And then set up the right solution to close the business.
How do you prepare for the Face-to-Face interaction? Are you effective at finding the exact need by asking the right questions?