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How to Use Social Selling Tools for Competitive Intelligence
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Do you ever wonder why your sales reps lose deals to your competitors?

Jamie Shanks, managing partner at Sales for Life, says you can use social selling tools to capitalize on the goldmine of competitive intelligence that is available online. He shared some actionable advice during his presentation at the Inside Sales Virtual Summit.

“If you can’t be first to a deal, at least be smarter than your competition,” Shanks says.

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It’s crucial to remember that today’s buyers are empowered by technology. They begin doing their due diligence long before they ever speak to anybody at your company. Between 57 percent and 70 percent of the buying process is over before your sales reps ever get involved.

And buyers aren’t making decisions on their own; they’re buying by committee.

So, you must know who your competitors are talking to.

How to find your competitors’ social breadcrumbs

Right now, your competitors are developing relationships with clients you want to sell to — and you have a real opportunity to snag this information and use it to your advantage.

You can use a social selling tool called LinkedIn Signal to capture a lot of valuable competitive intelligence.

Here’s how to use LinkedIn Signal:

1. Compile a list of your competitors.

2. Write down the types of sales reps they have inside their organizations.
This will come in handy later when you’re trying to determine what stage of the buying process a prospect might be in. For example, if a prospect is talking to a business development rep, it’s probably early in the process. If the prospect is talking to an account manager, the deal has already been done.

3. Go to www.linkedin.com/signal.

4. Using the Company field, search for one of your competitors.

5. If you have a first-degree connection with anybody in that organization, it will show you who that person is connecting with in real time.

LinkedIn Signal

What should you do with this intel?

Make each sales rep responsible for monitoring a certain number of competitors. As you gather competitive intelligence, use it to build a central repository.

Who is your competitor connecting to? If you see potential prospects on that list, add them to your spreadsheet. Use this spreadsheet to alert your sales team to deals you might be losing.

Think of these prospects as free leads. These are leads you can almost certainly guarantee have been kick-starting conversations about a product or service just like yours — and now you have access to this information.

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It might be the perfect time to give them a call.

How can HootSuite help you find prospects?

Jamie Shanks, Social Selling Expert

Jamie Shanks, managing partner at Sales for Life

Jamie shared an example that illustrates how one of his clients is using the social media monitoring tool HootSuite for competitive intelligence.

The company sells HR payroll software. So, when Kronos puts on a user conference, you’d better believe that this company’s sales team is using HootSuite to monitor the hashtags and conversations from the conference. It’s a great way to find VPs of Human Resources, which is this company’s main buyer persona.

This tactic branches out beyond user conferences. You can use it on any event or online conversation that attracts your buyer personas.

What are some other ways you can use social selling for competitive intelligence? Perhaps you have some tricks up your sleeve that Jamie didn’t mention. Let us know in the comments.

Get more LinkedIn sales tips by grabbing the free ebook offered below.

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