What is Social Selling and Why it is Important?
As digitalization impacts marketing, innovative marketing techniques leveraging technology are emerging. One of the sales strategies that has emerged as a game changer in recent times is “social selling.”
What is social selling?
Social selling implies searching for prospects, connecting with them, understanding them and nurturing them with the help of social media channels.
Social selling is a technique of selling which helps sales personnel to target prospects and establish a rapport with them. Social selling can be said to be the “final nail in the coffin for cold calling.”
Social selling is not just limited to finding leads and building relationships with them but it also entails understanding your leads and connecting with them at the right time.
For this, it is important that the marketer listens to his leads carefully and is alert to their needs. This will enable him to identify the best time to start a conversation with them. And, this will avoid unsolicited conversation when the lead is not interested.
Reasons to use social selling:
In today’s world, buyers spend a lot of time on pre-purchase research on the product/service online.
They look for answers to their queries online or ask their peers or online sources. If marketers network with the buyers on social platforms, they can build relationships by addressing the issues the buyers may have.
- Stats reveal that 61% of the organizations that used social selling in their marketing strategy experienced a boost in revenue.
- Social selling makes the sales process faster.
- Social selling has simplified prospecting which is considered the toughest part of marketing. Buyers reveal a lot of details through social platforms such as LinkedIn. And, these details can be effectively leveraged by sales teams for prospecting through social channels.
- Today marketers can get a lot of information about their buyers such as their need for a specific product/service, their preferences, their pain-points, etc. This has saved a lot of the time of the marketers which would otherwise have been spent on researching about the lead.
- Social selling enables you to retain your customers. This is because you can maintain contact with your recent and past customers in a non-invasive manner. The marketing team can build long-term relationships by sharing customized content and answer specific queries of their customers.
Now that we are aware of the significance of social selling in the current market scenario, the next important thing is to train your sales personnel in social selling.
Organizations now include a social selling training program to equip their sales teams to leverage social selling effectively.
Social Selling Program entails:
1. Define Objectives
Define the goals you expect to achieve with the social selling program. For instance, do you plan on shortening sales cycles, or generate leads or any other specific goals you expect to achieve? Establish your goals and metrics.
2. Make Teams
You will need to make teams assigning responsibilities and goals to each individual. To implement social selling effectively, the sales and marketing teams need to work in cohesion.
3. Establish the Guidelines
Social selling has its own set of dos and don’ts. Make sure that your team has an understanding of all the social media rules and regulations prior to setting forth their strategy.
4. Train the Team
Train your team on how to create expert profiles on pages such as LinkedIn, etc. The profile should be optimized for the relevant keywords and should be approachable to a lead. Train your team on how to conduct searches, post updates, networking, etc.
Train your team on how to leverage social selling tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Flip Boards, Google Alerts, etc.
5. Content Creation
Conduct research to find out the type of content your audience engages with, the keywords they search, and how they search for information. Using all these inputs develop a content strategy that is aligned with the needs of your audience.
The significance of posting quality content can be understood by the fact that 65% of the buyers feel that the vendor’s content has an impact on their purchase decisions. (Source: Demand Gen Report)
6. Pilot Run
Based on the training received, let the team develop a strategy and undertake a pilot run. A pilot run will give an idea of how the strategy is performing and it can be tweaked for improvement before implementing it for the entire business.
Compare the output of the pilot run with the established goals in step 1. If the pilot run gives the desired output then it can be implemented in the strategy, if not you will need to analyze where the team is lacking and help them improve.
Social Selling is not a one-time training process, on the contrary, it is an ongoing process. You will need to keep updating your team of any new developments.
Besides, it is also necessary to review the performance of your team from time to time. Also, you will need to equip your team with any new tools in the field of social selling. For this, it is recommended that you conduct regular meetings with your social selling team.
The buyer’s journey has undergone a complete transformation in the digital age. The buyers make informed buying decisions by researching a product/service on the internet. In fact, 75% of B2B buyers use social networks to make purchase decisions.
(Source: LinkedIn). The right time to connect with the buyers is this decision-making stage because this is when you can influence their decisions. Social selling training empowers your sales team to identify these timings and network with leads through social platforms.
Hence, it is an important marketing strategy and including a social selling training program for your team is essential for the success of your business in this competitive marketplace.