Modern Consumers pride themselves on being informed. With easy access to information online, they can acquire a wealth of knowledge with the click of a button. Additionally, consumers are becoming increasingly independent. Studies show that most consumers are already 57% through the purchasing process before being contacted by a sales person. While 74% of B2B buyers conduct their research online before making a purchase. With an uptick in social buying, there is only one way to remain competitive in the sales game; Social Selling.
What is Social Selling?
If you have a LinkedIn profile, professional Twitter account, or Facebook Business Page, the chances are that you’ve already engaged in the basics of Social selling, possibly without even knowing. But what is social selling?
Social selling is the practice of using online social tools to build a relationship with consumers. It consists of using social networks to find prospects, and build relationships to achieve sales goals. With the ultimate objective of engaging buyers on a continual long-term basis. The key is building and maintaining meaningful relationships, which is far easier when using a network that you and the consumer trust.
Social selling not only allows you to actively communicate with clients and accounts, it also helps you monitor your prospects. Giving you the ability to determine the opportune moment to reach out and follow up.
How does it work?
Savvy social sellers pull in prospects by sharing, posting, commenting on, and liking third-party articles as well as branded content. Effectively executed social selling requires a more modern approach to closing a deal than the traditional method. It also helps that many potential customers are already engaged in social buying. If you take social selling and flip it around, what you have social buying. It’s when your potential clients are using social listening and social research tools to find potential vendors. In fact, IDC found that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of executives use contacts and information from social networks as part of their purchase process.
In a traditional setting, digital marketers drive brand awareness and generate leads. This is done through a combination of content creation, organic interaction, and paid social media campaigns. Sales teams then take these leads, nurture them, and eventually close deals. In this method, a clearly outlined handover from Marketing to Sales exists. However, social selling inter-connects lead generation and the closing of deals. Marketing and sales teams activity on social media has to be aligned from start to finish. Otherwise, your initiative will fall short.
So how can you bring together your sales and marketing teams? Through the exchange of information and open communication. Marketers, for example, can help sales teams by collaborating on content creation and curation, and identifying influencers and thought leaders. In turn, sales teams can assist marketers in tailoring content to their business needs, and adapting messages to specific target audiences.
Social Selling: Stick With It
If there’s one thing that doesn’t sit well with all sales teams, it’s the fact that social selling doesn’t always deliver immediate financial results. However, sticking with it certainly pays off, with 72.6% of sales professionals – and 90% of salespeople – using social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often.
And now, with the increasing number of millennials in the work force, the figures change even more. 78% of just millennial salespeople are using social selling tools and 63% of them say those tools are crucial or extremely critical to their sales performance.
The challenge of providing varied and valuable content that draws in prospects and fosters long-lasting relationships is something marketers understand and are well practiced at addressing.
Sales teams, however, are competitive by nature. So why not engage them in social selling by injecting a bit of healthy rivalry? Gamification is the perfect tool to drive social selling. Not only does it spur sales teams on by encouraging them to compete against each other, it also allows you to optimize social selling activity by prioritizing the content that ties in with current marketing campaigns and impending deals.
Three Keys to Remember when Social Selling
- The power of employee advocacy is limitless. Buyers are more likely to be trusting on a network they are already familiar with, and with someone who shares similar interests and connections. Buil your employer brand, employee advocacy network, and encourage employees to be active on social media to create a more trusting environment for future social selling.
- Content is king. Creating and sharing content that resonates with your target community allows you to connect on a more personal level. It demonstrates that you understand what they are looking for and have something original to offer. Make sure to create original and intriguing content, or share trusted sources’ content, to make you seem more approachable and credible.
- Timing is everything. Choosing the right moment to make initial and follow up contact is crucial to attracting, rather than repelling, business. Jumping the gun and being too persistent can be off-putting.
Social Selling is the art of making your prospects an offer they can’t refuse. It is the fusion of the Sales team and Digital Marketers, working together to achieve collective sales goals. It’s a tool that everyone has access too, but takes skill and collaboration to master. Most importantly, when done right, social selling provides a way to authentically communicate with your community, and ultimately boost sales.
Sociabble is the leading provider of social selling software. Our unique platform organizes brand, third-party, and user-generated content onto themed channels. From these channels, users can share on social media and track subsequent traffic and lead generation.
Available natively for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, Sociabble features include gamification, newsletters, calls-to-action, advanced analytics, lead tracking, and individual performance dashboards. The platform also integrates with a number of CRM, curation, listening and retargeting tools, including Office 365, Salesforce, and RadiumOne. Used in over 60 countries, Sociabble’s client base includes companies from multiple sectors including; energy, tech and communications, finance, government, education, and media.
Contact us to find out more about the Sociabble and our social selling platform, or to arrange a demo.