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How ‘Social Selling’ is Reinventing Cold Calling

by Robert Berkman
published in MIT Sloan Management Review, 2013
Ref SMR55203

How ‘Social Selling’ is Reinventing Cold CallingIn this extended interview, Robert Berkman talks to Ralf VonSosen, LinkedIn’s Head of Marketing for Sales Solutions, about the role social media plays in what he refers to as ‘social selling’.

VonSosen offers some fascinating insights into strategies that companies can use to build a brand online. He discusses the importance of knowing who your target market is and outlines important cost-free initiatives that can be taken to boost your business.

‘There’s a ton of things that you can do without having to spend a dime,’ says VonSosen. ‘It’s really just a matter of one, the mindset, and two, making time for it and saying, OK, I’m going to make it part of how I do business. Find groups to participate in where your target market is. That doesn’t cost anything. Find the blogs that your target market is reading and start commenting there. Find out who the people are that you’re trying to sell to and start following them on Twitter and creating updates there.’

The interview with VonSosen also offers a detailed explanation of LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator product, launched in 2012, which aims to help individuals and sales teams achieve social selling at scale. LinkedIn itself uses the product and has experienced a 50% increase in conversion rates. VonSosen also outlines how much smaller companies can use SalesNavigator to their advantage when trying to get a foot in the door.

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About the author

Robert Berkman is contributing editor of MIT Sloan Management Review’s Social Business Initiative. He has 25 years’ experience as an editor, author, and professor in the media and information industries. 

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