LinkedIn has a spam problem.
More accurately, far too many sales professionals using LinkedIn for lead generation don’t understand proper social prospecting cadence. In fact, many of them don’t even know that there should be a social cadence; instead, they throw out random connection requests and hope for the best.
For those who don’t know what social prospecting cadence is, sometimes called social engagement cadence, we will break it down in this article. But first, let’s start with defining social prospecting.
Social Prospecting is the process of leveraging your digital presence and behavior on social media to create authentic conversations with ideal customers. It is strategic and designed around real conversations and meaningful interactions with ideal customers.
What is Social Prospecting and why should you care?
Social Prospecting is the process of leveraging your digital presence and behavior on social media to create real conversations with ideal customers. @FunnelAmplified#socialprospecting#digitalselling#digitaltransformation pic.twitter.com/EObIIzTSJK
— Brandon Lee (@BleeDigital) April 3, 2022
What Social Prospecting is not:
- It is NOT social selling
- It is NOT sending messages asking for demos
- It is NOT sending cold connection requests
- It is NOT employee advocacy where sales professionals share company social posts like brochures
Social prospecting must be social. And, to be effective, it must utilize a cadence that grows relationships, provides value, positions the seller as an expert, and ultimately builds trust that leads to sales.
Social Prospecting Cadence
Sales Guru Zig Ziglar said, “If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if people trust you, they’ll do business with you.” This is absolutely true. However, before someone can like and trust you, they have to know you and have some form of relationship with you. This is where a social prospecting cadence comes in.
There are several terms for this same concept, such as digital prospecting cadence or social engagement prospecting. In the old days of sales, we’d simplify it to “touches.” The concept has stayed the same, though its application of it has evolved. Whereas before, we were all searching for that magic number of contact points before we would make our sales pitch, it is now about ensuring we have established some form of a trusted relationship and established ourselves as an expert in our field through the eyes of the prospect.
Salespeople interact with prospects in three main ways: by telephone, email, and social media. It is likely that you are spending time doing all three. Despite the prominence of social media and the importance of digital prospecting, it is worth noting that both phone calls and email will play a role in any successful social prospecting cadence. While our focus in the remainder of this article will be on digital prospecting, keep in mind that utilization of a digital prospecting cadence does improve phone answer rates and email open rates.
The Importance of Social Prospecting
According to the Harvard Business Review, 57% of salespeople miss their sales quota. Yikes! That means that more than half of the people in sales fail at their job. Here is another interesting stat reported by HBV: 90% of decision makers never respond to cold outreach. These two findings go hand in hand. Salespeople are heading into 2022 with sales skills and strategies from a decade ago and expecting the same results.
Cold calls. Cold spam emails. Random LinkedIn Connection Requests from unknown people. Sliding into Instagram and Twitter DMs. These are the tactics of the 57% of people in sales that are not meeting quota. The strategy must change, and implementing a social prospecting cadence is the answer.
Here is the good news, the sales reps spamming on social media and trying to force connections, they at least realize the value and importance of social media and digital prospecting. And, they’re being active and often putting in the effort. They are just going about it in the wrong way. With the right digital tools, the right strategy, and most importantly, the right mindset, they can be successful in selling to the modern buyer.
The Benefit of a Social Prospecting Cadence
Implementing a social prospecting cadence can turn the struggling sales representative into someone who exceeds quota every month. And, the results can happen quickly. For example, here are the results we’ve seen, on average, within six months of sales professionals implementing a prospecting cadence:
- 200% increase in first conversations with ideal customers
- 35% increase in qualified pipeline and therefore increase in sales opportunities
- 21% increase in revenue in the first six months
The bottom line is that a quality social prospecting cadence will increase your pipeline of qualified prospects, it will increase both your traditional sales prospecting and digital prospecting connection and conversion rate, and it will increase your sales opportunities. From there, all you have to do is close the sale!
The Fundamentals of a Successful Social Prospecting Cadence
A successful social prospecting cadence includes three core activities we at FunnelAmplified like to call the “The Triangle of Social Success.” These include Connections, Thought Leadership, and Engagement.
First, you need to establish some presence on social media, especially on LinkedIn. From there, the triangle of social selling success begins. This is an ongoing process. To be successful, you’ll consistently be doing all three of these activities, and they all feed into each other.
Connections and Network
Remember, you DO NOT want to send blind connection requests. You will want to engage with a prospect multiple times before sending a connection request. The acceptions to this are on networks such as Twitter or Instagram, where if the prospect’s account is public, you can follow. In contrast, on LinkedIn, you want to interact several times prior to connecting.
When done right, you will have multiple prospects that you’re interacting with daily that are in various stages of relationship building. Your goal is to eventually connect with them and then have direct one-on-one conversations.
Content and Thought Leadership
You will want to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. You do this by providing value-added content and sharing your expertise. It is important to note that you do not do this only through posting your own original content. You will position yourself as an expert in your industry more initially by adding value and insight to the content others post, especially your target prospects. Your mindset should be less, “how can I get people to notice me,” and more, “how can I add value through engagement and content.”
To sell to the modern buyer, you need to build relationships and build trust. Engagement is the activity that helps lead to that. This can be as simple as liking a target prospect’s post on Twitter or replying with a comment to their LinkedIn post. The key is that you need to engage enough times that the prospect begins to recognize you, know you a bit, and see you as an expert and someone that adds value. This process can sometimes happen in less than a few weeks. However, you do not want to rush it. You should have plenty of prospects in your digital prospecting pool and should not feel the urge to inauthentically rush any connection.
How to Design a Successful Social Prospecting Cadence
In future blog posts, we will be addressing more specific aspects of social prospecting cadences. To dive deeper into the topic now, we suggest watching this YouTube video:
Thanks for reading. I typically write about modern selling, virtual selling, prospecting, sales reps reputation and how content helps all of these with modern buyers. My primary audience includes CEOs, CROs, CMOs, and other executives responsible for increasing bottom line. Post your questions in the comments section below and let’s discuss this!