Social selling: by now you’ve certainly heard of it, but you may not be entirely sure what it means. Is it the same as social media marketing? (No.) What about social media advertising? (Nope, that’s something else altogether.) So just what is social selling?
Chances are, if your firm already has a social presence, you may have already participated in the social selling game.
The industrial B2B environment has undergone a fundamental shift. A good sales person will always seek to ensure their pipeline is filled with the right prospects, however, today’s social-seller will establish credible relationships in advance while simultaneously promoting themselves as thought leaders and influencers in their niche.
Today’s buyers are now in control and likely to conduct research and proceed far into their buying process before contact with your sales team is made.
This means you need to take control of the sales cycle; for your well-informed prospects no longer entertain calls from sales unless it suits their interests. When you begin to train your teams, don’t forget about aligning the marketing department. Did you know 50% of sales people ignore marketing leads?
However, Marketo, marketing automation software provider, tells us a well-synced marketing and sales team stand a 67% increased chance of closing business, a statistic not to be ignored.
You need a slick, joint coordinated effort between the two departments and the technology that your firm uses will be the glue that holds it all together.
Marketing blogger, Jack Kosakowski suggests, “Dissecting your sales process and identifying the gaps,” and, “Killing the noise”.
He elaborates, “Noise is a productivity killer that MURDERS a company’s bottom line. It’s the day-to-day stuff like researching contact details, updating the CRM, or missing intelligence altogether because you’re using multiple technologies that don’t speak to one another.”
Accenture’s 2013 Sales Performance Optimisation Study is still relevant when it comes to sales revenue and robust customer relationships.
Key takeaways include:
- Integrating internal processes and handoff points between the two teams
- Aim for a single customer-centric ‘experience’ by integrating sales, marketing and service
The “experience” to aim for will be based on all interactions and thoughts the customer has about your firm mostly gained online.
If your sales teams need to generate their own leads in greater frequency as studies indicate, should they not be perceived as influential leaders? Should they not be social sellers?