Back in 2011, Goggle introduced the “Zero Moment of Truth” (ZMOT), the exact moment that a consumer, whether a business (B2B) or individual (B2C) goes online to find the product or service that will fulfill their need. ZMOT is all about being present in the time and place that a customer needs you.
Google contends that your brand, or at least its content, needs to be there at the ZMOT (via search or on social media) or you will lose the sale to a competitor: “How many of those times do you show up? How many times do they choose you, and why? Most importantly, how many times does your competitor show up, but you don’t?”
Fast-forward to today and forward-looking sellers have taken the ZMOT to the next level: social selling. In a nutshell, social selling can be defined as: Monitoring social channels to identify and respond to potential leads and customers during the ZMOT when they’re looking for the information, products and services you can provide.
In other words, social selling is more intimate than the original ZMOT:
- The ZMOT was all about putting content out so your leads will find it when they needed it.
- Social selling is all about having a salesperson meet your leads live during each ZMOT instance and building a nurturing relationship by introducing themselves, providing relevant content and branding themselves as the “go-to resource” for a leads needs.
As you might expect, a salesperson needs a powerful tool to pull off the social selling approach. The tool needs to:
- Listen online to identify a lead’s ZMOT (e.g. a social media update asking a question relevant to the salesperson’s offerings);
- Provide a way to engage a lead right there and then to connect or deliver content; and
- Keep a history of engagements for each lead as well as a way to schedule follow-up.
The growing popularity of social selling has lead to the launch of a number of solutions that can help you achieve all three requirements listed above. Some of these solutions also enable your employees to become social advocates, expanding your sales team to include your entire staff.
To help get you started, below, in no particular order, is a list of top social selling tools and platforms to consider.
Improve with These Top Social Selling These Top Tools and Platforms
The solutions in this section offer everything you need to get started with social selling.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator  turns the passive LinkedIn platform into a social selling machine. The solution’s features include: lead recommendations, account and contact import and CRM sync (Salesforce), advanced search with Lead Builder (access up to 400 million up-top-date professional profiles), account pages, a social selling index dashboard (to measure your efforts), real-time updates and more.
If you want to introduce social selling to your company, PeopleLinx (now Workday ) is a good place to start. The solution helps your employees: improve their personal branding as experts on what they sell, build their network on LinkedIn and Twitter (with CRM integration), share content with ease on LinkedIn, Twitter and via email, listen to Twitter so they know when their leads post an update, learn social media etiquette so they respond correctly, access robust reporting and turn their efforts into a gamified competition.
If your sales efforts focus heavily on content then give Trapit a try. This solution enables you to create “traps” that capture and curate content from over 100,000 content sources, all of which you can share with your leads in order to educate and foster the relationship between you both.
Another content-oriented solution, Bambu  enables your employees to curate content from around the Web and then share approved content with leads online.
Get the right content to the right people at the right time with rFactr.. In addition to workflows and social listening, this solution includes social media outreach training for your employees.
- Dig deeper into a contact’s record and see what they’re saying using this menu.
- Schedule or record an action by clicking on the circled plus icon.
- Send a message via connected channels by clicking on the envelope icon.
Socedo  takes a different spin on social selling by automating the process. While this may seem like it goes against the relationship-building aspect of social selling, there’s a lot of leeway to set up the system so is seems like there’s a human on the other end and, you can weave your sales folks into the process when it becomes time to do so.
As you can see below, Artesian  tracks the latest news about your leads and then enables you to react before your competition:
Keep your ear to the ground and know when to act with these two solutions.
Newsle  keeps track of mentions in the news so you don’t have to.
If This Than That (IFTTT)
IFTTT  enables you to set up monitoring of social media and news channels like the ones in the image below. If a monitor gets a hit, it will alert you right away.
Relationships have always been an important component of sales. Social selling enables you to continue establishing those relationships in the age of social media and the Web.
If you’re looking to improve you social selling efforts, the top tools and platforms in the list above should help get you on your way.
Social Media Mobile  Photo via Shutterstock