Get yourself connected – the rise of Social Selling
The ubiquity of social media is not in doubt. Everyone, from the world’s leading brands to freelancers and SMEs, it is a rare to find a business that has not incorporated social media into its marketing.
The objectives for engaging on social media may vary from business to business of course; whether it be increasing brand visibility, supporting content marketing or handling customer service enquiries. However, the role and influence of social in relation to the sales process has not always been considered key.
As the impact of social becomes clearer (we have the increasing use of analytics and insight to thank for this – see our recent blog post on measurement) and as businesses become more fluent in its use, it is clear that social media can directly support sales.
Still a relatively new concept in marketing-land, ‘social selling’ is defined as the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process. As simple as that.
We are marketing our wares in a world where customers no longer wait passively for marketing messages to be served up to them, and instead can take to social media channels to research a product, suss out a company or engage with a brand. Crucially, it also means customers can see and hear exactly what other people are saying about it the service or product in question. So it makes perfect sense that social now has the potential to play a very large role in the overall sales process. But…
Social selling shouldn’t be thought of as a quick-win, and it is unlikely to be much help in terms of the closing process. In traditional sales terms, social selling is a form of lead nurturing. Forming a relationship via social media is the same as one built face-to-face, in that it takes time, requires you to build trust and credibility with the individual.
Social tools allow you to share useful content (the modern day equivalent of popping a brochure in the post!), answer questions and present solutions that demonstrate your knowledge, all the time building a dialogue with the prospective customer. Sales people who embrace social media and consider it not simply as as an extension of their email contact list but as a valid sales database and tool, have much to gain.
There have been some impressive figures published to support the effectiveness of social selling as a valid approach to sales. LinkedIn claims that those sales people who use social selling tactics create ‘45% more opportunities and are 51% more likely to achieve target’. Of course, the giant of the social-media-for-the-professional landscape is bound to say that, but it’s not hard to take these sorts of numbers seriously. Following news of Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn (read the official word on this here), its clear that the giants of the tech world see that the role of social in the B2B buying cycle is of strategic importance.
If you would like to discuss how to make better use of social media tools for your business – including how you can encourage your salespeople to Get.Stuck.In, please get in touch. We’d love to help.