As social media has evolved, consumer behavior has changed, and sales have had to adapt. Buyers are hyper-connected to an inexhaustible avalanche of information via multiple devices and channels. In result, as well as constant technological improvements, customers are more likely to research a purchase decision without directly contacting a sales team. Allowing them to buy straight from the internet. This new trend is pushing companies to find new ways of selling. One way of doing this is by launching a Social Selling Program.
So what is social selling? Social selling is the technique of developing relationships as part of the sales process, using your social networks to find the right prospects, and build trusted relationships to achieve sales goals and foster better lead generation.
In a step-by-step guide, the Huffington post lays out a plan for launching a successful social selling program. We’ve identified the top three factors from their guide to help you create the best social selling program.
1. Identify The Objectives of Your Social Selling Program and Get Your Team on Board.
Social selling consists of using specific social networks to find prospects, build relationships, and sell online.
When launching a social selling program, it’s important you have a clear idea of your objectives. Well defined objectives give your team focus. These will differ depending on what you wish to sell online and who you are as an organization.
Once you have defined your objectives you need to bring your employees on board with your new strategy. Communicate with your team to share your ideas and newly defined objectives. Misunderstanding of your objectives from your employees could lead to an inefficient strategy that over time will fail to take off.
Once you’ve outlined your overall goals, ensure your team comprehends what they are, specifically how they can help you attain them. In order to do this, you will have to spend time mining data and information to help your team understand how to use tools like social media.
Social media is the easiest method for connecting with prospects. This is as it allows a company to share as much content as possible to a wide range of audience all over the world. Indeed, social media users when scrawling upon an article can choose to like, comment or share. This manoeuvre is a new version of “word of mouth” which alternately can be used to lead to sales.
Finally, you may wish to get your team onboard by creating a “launch program”. A launch program would give you the opportunity to present and explain your strategy in more details. This is as employees will be able to ask questions, communicate around the project and practice using social media as a sales tool. In addition, it usually makes sense to assign specific roles, like Project Manager or Content Creator. Having a firm idea of tasks can help.
2. Take Baby Steps
As established above when launching a social selling program, it’s important to consider that some employees may not fully understand what it is. That’s why it’s important you make social selling easy for them to understand and use. One way is to have a training program in place, to make them more familiar with social media, how to set up their profiles, and how to connect with potential customers.
Another way of doing this is by using a platform tool that will help them aggregate content onto themed channels. In other words where employees can easily share news and content with a single click of a button. Using such platform will help you generate company content, boost your overall online presence and help your employees get more engaged in sharing content.
After a while, when you employees have gotten used to the platform, you may suggest they start generating their own content. User-generated content (UGC) is essential when launching a social selling program as it will give you content variation.
3. Show Results and Stick With It
Be consistent. Don’t start and stop. While at first you may feel discouraged by lack of results and time wasting, it’s important you remember implementing a social selling program isn’t an easy process.
Indeed establishing your sales team as experts in their field takes time. The more you stick to it, the greater the chance you’ll have positive results. The more you practice, the better your team will become. And don’t forget the importance of evaluating results, such as satisfaction, knowledge retention, overall impact, and return on investment. Remember, just because your prospects don’t seem to be engaging with what you are sharing, doesn’t mean they’re not seeing what you are posting. Most content doesn’t get seen; so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get as many impressions or interaction as you wished. Practice makes perfect!
If there’s one thing to remember out of all of this is that: implementing a social selling initiative is a big step a company and a sales team. As long as you set clear objectives, take it step by step, and don’t back down; you will find that building a solid social selling foundation for your sales teams is a step worth taking.