For the tenth instalment of The Insiders podcast, hosts Richard Lane and Simon Hazeldine were joined by Franklin Williams, Director of Global Commercial Excellence at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Franklin proposed a fresh perspective on social selling.  

Embrace social selling, company-wide 

The purpose of social selling is to develop connections with prospects and potential leads by using organic social media. During his previous role in sales and business consulting, Franklin had the chance to witness the power of this medium first-hand:

“95% of our inbound leads came from social selling – the amount that we spent on outbound efforts was infinitesimal.” 

Franklin is a firm believer that social selling is today’s number one activity for businesses eager to grow their customer base. However, this marketing-driven strategy needs to be adopted by leadership so that these behaviours become a required action. Ultimately, social selling will only be successful if it is embraced by all levels of an organisation.  

Franklin makes the point of how selling has evolved over time and uses LinkedIn as a prime example:

“It was started by the whole trend of ‘LinkedIn is my resume’ – people wanted to go in and update it and make it appear that way. Now, it’s not your resume. Right now, LinkedIn is literally a place to drive trust through your profile.” 

Publish authentic, value-add content 

Although LinkedIn has become an integral tool in the world of social selling, Franklin points out that there is a fine line between authentic content and “canned content.” He explains that canned content is resharing posts that in no way benefit your reader or customer.  

The key to producing engaging content is to be authentic and talk about yourself in a business capacity:

“What did you do on the last sales call you were on? What was something you thought about? What has your career been?”  

When it comes to LinkedIn, the boundaries have become very murky in terms of what is acceptable to post, and what’s not. According to Franklin, LinkedIn has become a place for people to share their personal woes as opposed to generating leads: 

“When we talk about LinkedIn, we don’t mean in the sense of social network that it’s for you to share your very immediate personal life. It’s a place where you go and you share your thoughts, feelings and opinions about your or other businesses, and how that impacts other businesses or markets aligned to your customer. It’s not a space for clickbait.”  

Strike a chord with prospective customers 

In order to increase your inbound leads, your posts have to strike a chord with prospects. You need to ask yourself: What is my customer thinking about? Does your content align with their interests and keep them engaged? Does your content convey that you are a thoughtful individual that has learned something in the market and cares to share it?  

Social selling does not consist of bombarding the inboxes of prospects, but in sharing valuable insights. Providing truly valuable content for your audience will generate the right type of engagement.  

On this note, Franklin mentioned that while the LinkedIn algorithm promotes social media posts that are receiving comments, too many comments will result in the post being ‘demoted.’ Posts should be engaging, but if overshared, may look as though they have been constructed purely to drive shares. While valuable, your insights cannot speak to every professional out there – so you shouldn’t aim for virality just for the sake of it. 

Get inside your customer’s world 

We like to think that what we do at durhamlane is a mix of input, output and insights. What we learn in the market helps us become experts in our client’s sector and informs our constant desire to optimise our processes.  

Sharing information to an ever-evolving market and learning from the experience of others truly helps us become better advisors, consultants and problem-solvers, and sharing your views and opinions on certain trends relevant to your industry can also be a great way to engage with prospects.  

Get in touch to see how durhamlane can help you to overcome your sales challenges. To hear more thought leadership in Sales and Marketing listen to The Insiders podcast here

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