Is social selling really selling?
If you think that your business is not “ready for social” because in your industry, “people buy from people,” well think again. According to IDG Connect, 84% of business executives use social networks at all stages of the buying process.
So now may be the time to re-think your game plan.
Social selling skills can enhance most new business development and relationship management roles if they are used in the right way.
What if social selling replaced cold calling? Introductions through people we know emphasize relationship building capitalising on our natural desire to “link” with other human beings. There is so much information on the web that we can learn almost everything about the buyer (for some useful tips check out the Sales for Life blog: Cold Calling Tactics) making those first contacts by phone, e-mail or via social media more personable, pertinent and in line with the buyer’s interests. Meetings are better prepared and more productive for the buyer.
Social listening is a great way to look for opportunities to leverage emerging trends and proactively engage with customers and prospects. As social sellers in B2B, we need to think of our target audience, our ideal customer profile, and have a strategy that addresses the best way to reach out to customers and prospects to build trust and meaningful business relationships. This requires a proactive approach and a very different set of competencies than order taking.
Business executives are looking to learn and gathering information – in their preferred format – to help them make informed decisions: they are looking for substantial, relevant content and not just generic marketing hype, and this is where sales people need to step up to the mark.
For businesses, social media technology is an additional communication tool to be leveraged and managed as the impact on reputation if you get it wrong is enormous.
That’s why to reap the benefits of social selling you should:
- First, we need to ensure that sales enablement and salespeople have made the behavioural shift and have ditched the pitch, showing passion for delivering results to customers. Adding technology into the equation before this transformation has taken place, and is embedded, will only amplify any lack of competency by feeding target accounts and prospects with the irrelevant, meaningless information. Social selling will most certainly not fix or gloss over a broken sales process…
- Secondly, Sales Enablement needs to be engaged as an active player in the social selling strategy, by creating and curating high-quality and consistent messaging content for Sales who will need to enhance their marketing skills. Collaboration and alignment between Sales and Marketing are key.
- Thirdly we need to measure ROI. The MHI Global research institute’s annual study found that there is a direct correlation between social selling behaviours and increased revenue. Sales for Life’s study found that every 1$ invested in social selling yielded 5$.
To measure the ROI of Social Selling and the impact it has on sales performance, several metrics can be useful:
- Social Selling activity logs
- # of leads created
- Accounts/Contacts created
- Opportunities created
So have you adapted your sales process to align with the new buying behaviours? Can you afford not to invest in your sales team to be proactive where your prospects are active today? Will your competition beat you to the social media finish line?
Times have changed as should the way we sell. We need to facilitate the buying process, stay on top of trends and become an open “influencer” instead of a “convincer” and use the new tools to our advantage to, in turn, benefit our Customers and Prospects. Social selling is not selling, but it is an essential part of the Sales people toolbox to be handled with the right skills.
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