For decades, sales force teams have relied upon cold calling to contact potential customers. More and more, however, this approach is declining. In its place, companies are turning to social media to generate leads, nurture relationships, and make sales. Business leaders and innovators tout this new concept of “social selling” as the preferred path for improving the bottom line.

One example of the emergence of a social sales force is the use of LinkedIn to create targeted lead lists based on a variety of criteria. LinkedIn allows sales teams to develop search criteria and, more importantly, to save the searches for future automated processing. As new businesses join LinkedIn, your automated search determines if they meet your criteria. This automated processing saves time and allows the sales team to devote more energy to nurturing relationships and closing deals.

As sales teams grow their LinkedIn, or other social networking site, connections, the shared platform allows a more friendly level of interaction to emerge. No longer do sales people need to call up complete strangers and try to make small talk in an effort to build a relationship. Using basic etiquette in the online environment, you will make connections that allow for warmer sales calls than if you contacted someone unexpectedly. You develop some common bonds in the social networking environment that are the foundation for successful sales communications in the future.

The use of social media is changing the way people and businesses operate. By extension, the way sales teams operate needs to evolve. Cold calling is no longer the best method of generating leads, nurturing relationships, and making sales. Social media is a powerful and appropriate means to learn about potential customers, create relationships, and eventually finalize sales.

Source: Social Media Explorer