Digital Postcards – Social Selling with Linkedin and Google Apps

A popular social media topic that is a great focus area for small businesses and other folks in sales is ‘Social Selling’ – This refers to using social media sites like Linkedin to help with your lead generation prospecting and other sales activities.

For example this article How Social Sellers Build Their Pipeline with Linkedin is a good introduction.

The logic is quite simple – Sales establishes contact with potential new customers through calling and networking, and Linkedin is a massive marketplace of these potential contact points.

It’s the scale part that is also the challenge, creating the need for tools to automate the process, like 5 Essential Linkedin Apps for Sales Teams. With networking in mind the key features to exploit are those that emphasize polite introductions and subject matter expertise.

As described in articles like The Power of Linkedin Groups for Lead Generation it’s features like the Groups that are key. People self-organize around topics of interest meaning they are self-defining their buying & partnering preferences.

I can comment directly on the success of this idea myself, my own Cloud Computing groups on Linkedin number 5,000+ members, and it sustains its own growth autonomously now as well, growing at a steady rate of new contacts with no actual networking needed.

For another good intro, check out this eBook from Constant Contact: Getting Started – Linkedin for Small Businesses and Non-profits.

google_plusGoogle tools for Social Selling

Linkedin is just one of the many sites and tools available, so the purpose of having an overall strategy is to help identify others to use with these business goals in mind.

So the value of other Cloud tools, like Google Apps, is how they might compliment this activity – How could they help you do more of this Linkedin prospecting, and to improve the results you get from it.

Here’s a couple of examples to highlight the key points:

Digital Postcards

One of my favourite selling articles is from Sales For Life, who are pioneering the concept here in Canada. “Digital Postcards‘ is such a great idea because this is the core activity of selling – Sending a good follow up to help sell the products, etc.

In the Linkedin era the core tools are those like blogs, so you share your particular industry expertise into the Linkedin melting pot, and these postcards as links to help make introductions and do follow ups.

You can implement this type of app on Google too, via their ‘Sites’ tool. For example check out these micro-sites that we use to showcase Google Apps, each one is tailored for the client to create this postcard effect, like this site for Dynacare.

Not only does this provide great introductory video about Google Apps, but it even lets you try it live on the site. Click ‘Try Google Apps’.

It then provides various insight pieces on how the tools can improve work, and then also more broader out into their other product areas, like a link to their article Big Data Analytics and the Cloud.

This ‘package’ of these resources is exactly the type of ‘virtual calling card’ activity salespeople need to do lots of to generate a lead flow so these are simple but very useful tools.

giant-shoulders1Community Bid Management

Naturally a fundamental activity for salespeople is writing proposals.

This includes managing the organizational aspects as well, co-ordinating project milestones, setting up team communications, finalizing documents and so forth.

Google Sites used in combination with the Docs and other app tools is the ideal way to not only speed up the process but also make it more community-oriented.

For example check out our Canada Cloud Network bid site – This is a non-profit activity I volunteer for to help build the local Cloud industry here in Canada, with the idea being these development steps are done as a collective unit, to encourage the whole industry to work together on its own evolution.

The document available for download there is produced through a Google Sites & Docs combo and it shows the tool in action. This same approach can be used for any other similar sales bid team co-ordination, both small and large projects.

Your sales team can also start using these tools just through signing up for Google Apps – Drop me a line if you want some test accounts.

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Comments

  1. Whatever great Apps may be available, SM is a very poor lead generation tool. It forms part of old push marketing in an online world that is all about pull marketing. SM is about as effective as print adverts in magazines…great for awareness and brand reinforcement etc but not that good for making the phone ring with new business.
    In certain cases, SM works but the majority of SM efforts are almost futlie despite the enthusiastic claims of many SM marketing “gurus.”
    After 12 years+ of online experience, the addition of SM to our clients’ activities has resulted in negligible extra success. We have mainly B2B and some B2C clients.

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