Since the rise of social media, mobile technology and an online world in which access to information is all but unlimited, the sales process has taken on a whole new appearance. Consumers are now able to connect with sales teams on social networks but, before they do so, they want to know that those sales teams will teach them something- and not just the price of a product.
As for brands, they are no longer able to win consumers’ trust (and even hearts) through advertising alone; they must pull them in through the provision of expert advice and thought-provoking content. In this regard, sales and marketing teams must work in tandem to create and curate content that resonates with buyers. The way to do this? Social selling.
Sales and Marketing: Please Mind the Gap
What do digital marketers do? They drive brand awareness and generate leads through a combination of content creation, organic interaction and paid social media campaigns. Sales teams, meanwhile, must take these leads, nurture them and close deals. But in a social selling context, the handover from Marketing to Sales no longer signals the end of content provision- in fact, it’s not really a handover at all.
In order to execute social selling effectively, there must be no gap between Marketing and Sales. Though their respective objectives- lead generation and closing deals- are quite different, they are inter-connected when it comes to social selling. It so follows that the activity of marketing and sales teams on social media must be aligned from the beginning to the end of the social selling funnel.
Savvy social sellers must pull in prospects by sharing, posting, commenting on and liking third-party articles as well as branded content. Marketers can help sales teams in this respect, by collaborating on content creation and curation, and identifying influencers and thought leaders with whom it is worth connecting. 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 most certainly pays off. Again, this is something marketers understand and are well practiced at addressing: the challenge of providing varied, valuable content that draws in prospects over time and fosters long-lasting relationships.
So how do you involve sales teams, who are often so driven by tight deadlines and short-term business goals, in long-term social selling initiatives?
Sales teams are competitive by nature, so what better way to engage them in social selling than by injecting a bit of healthy rivalry? Not only does gamification spur sales teams on by encouraging them to compete against each other, it allows you to optimize social selling activity by prioritizing the content that ties in with current marketing campaigns and impending deals.
If The Godfather Did Social Selling
Don Corleone is famous for saying, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Now, social selling has nothing to do with the sort of dodgy deals to which he was referring. But it has everything to do with making your prospects an offer they can’t refuse. Forget push marketing; on social media, you must pull prospects in through the promotion of expertise and the provision of value in the form of content.