A newfound method that sales representatives leverage in this modern technological era is that of social selling. Social selling is when sales teams utilize social media to find and connect with prospects and provide valuable offerings to them. It requires the understanding and nurturing of sales prospects and is used to develop a meaningful relationship that infuses a sense of brand loyalty in the targeted prospects. This way, sales reps ensure that their brand is the first that comes to the mind of the customers when they’re ready to make a purchase.
The goal that these sales teams look to achieve is to keep buyers engaged on a continuous, long-term basis. Social selling has successfully replaced the monotonous, mundane, and, mostly, the fruitless task of cold calling in a manner that actually pays off. Sales reps bring value to the table for prospects by answering questions, replying to comments, and sharing content from the point of awareness to consideration and up to when the prospect is ready to make the purchase. Social selling is a relentless business development method and is considered to be the new sales model or, as some people like to call it, sales 2.0.
Why Should Social Selling Matter to You?
Well, why shouldn’t it? Social selling works! It’s been tried and tested and has proved its doubters wrong each time. Considering a brand hasn’t implemented the social selling technique as yet, they’re missing out on a huge chunk of what they can achieve. Mentioned below are the exact reasons for businesses to inculcate social selling into their process.
High Time Brands Started Building Real Relationships with Prospects
As a former business development and sales professional, it’s safe to say cold calling is not really effective. For one, the prospect is already on the defensive when they get a call from an unknown person, wondering how their contact information reached the caller. Most cold calls end up with the prospect saying they aren’t interested in the offering, and even that is a long shot because most cold calls go unanswered.
Marketers make use of social listening tools that allow sales reps to identify new prospects that are already either talking about their brand, their competitors, their offerings, or just the industry in general. With the knowledge about the preferences, pain points, and so much more, sales teams create meaningful prospect and client engagement and enhance relationships.
Prospects Prefer Social Buying
To start off, let’s give the term ‘social buying’ a definition. It’s quite simple actually when prospects buy a product/ service that results from social selling, it is known as social buying. Similar to sales reps and marketers using social listening tools, buyers also make use of them to get a better understanding of potential vendors before deciding on a particular vendor.
This comes as a freebie to brands that make use of social selling. If a brand isn’t making use of social selling, it won’t show up on the client’s radar. It’s simple, if a brand isn’t actively utilizing social selling, it won’t show up while potential customers research potential vendors.
Forget about Competing if You’re Not Social Selling
Let’s be honest, a brand that leverages social selling to increase its conversions and profits is almost certainly slated for a better revenue outcome than brands that do not. That’s how the marketing industry works these days, and businesses can either learn from it early on and use it to their advantage or figure out the hard way.
Brands must ensure that they go hand-in-hand with the technology and not go down fighting it. In the case of certain brands not utilizing social selling, the sales representatives of that brand must be one of the first to point this out and get the management to acknowledge the resourceful characteristics of social selling.
The 4 Pillars of Social Selling
Most clients these days are brand conscious and look for vendors whom they can trust. A professional brand is one that actively participates in its respective sector and, therefore, renowned, which leads to an increase in prospect communication and inquiries.
While cold calling required research only for a contact in a company, social selling requires more details than just a contact. Social selling tools give brands information regarding the preferences of a prospect, which is used by the sales teams to find and connect with prospects more efficiently than traditional sales methods.
Leverage Content to Engage
Sales reps must position themselves as subject matter experts by providing relevant insights and opportunities, which is only possible when they stay up-to-date with prospect news and identify new contacts in their prospects. These reps share industry-relevant content, comment on news alerts, and build their brand’s image with each of their social media activities.
Relationships Are Key
Sales representatives are often accused of pushing their agenda of making a sale with everything they do. Social selling is here to change that a bit. Instead of being a pest to prospects, sales reps need to build trust with their prospects by sharing their views, which will help the client in the best possible way by providing information that is relevant to common pain points. They must prioritize their focus on the needs of the prospect and later, selling.
The Importance of Social Selling
To demonstrate how important social selling is, here’s a fact that’s bound to get every brand and sales rep absolutely hooked.
Jamie Shanks from Sales for Life conducted a study of more than 200 companies and no lesser than 45,000 sales representatives. According to Jamie’s social selling study, “For every $1 invested in social selling, the ROI is $5.”
That’s 5X the initial investment. WHAAAA…!?
Businesses and marketers took to social media to sell their products soon after its advent. More recently, however, brands and marketers have gotten to more scientific and data-driven methods to increase sales with the help of social selling tools. 78% of social sellers outsell other marketers who don’t utilize social media.
Marketers can choose which professional network they prefer for their sales prospecting, but irrespective of the platform, social selling is a powerful sales tool to have in a brand’s inventory.
How to Socially Sell
- Identify prospects and the social media platforms they utilize
- Create a professional, trustworthy brand
- Come up with original content and share complementary content to affirm the credibility
- Follow and connect with the right users and potential customers to extend the network
- Curate a list of companies that you want to follow
- Turn on notifications for when prospects join LinkedIn
- Actively participate in LinkedIn groups
- Increase brand awareness by contributing to existing conversations
- Provide value by sharing relevant content
- Sales reps and marketers must position themselves as industry experts and interact with targets
The Best of Social Selling Examples
While social selling is a really powerful sales method, most marketers do not know how to utilize it efficiently. In fact, only one out of every four marketers is fully aware of how social selling is to be carried out and the set of benefits that come with it. To improve this number, here are the marketers that got into one out of four spots and their individualistic modes of leveraging social media.
While PeopleBrowser tried to pitch a sales proposition to Gerry Morgan, the Head of Social Media at SAP in North America, Gerry kept putting it off. The reason behind this was the approach PeopleBrowser utilized, the same old cold calling and persistence. To get around this obstacle, Travis Wallis, the PeopleBrowser VP, sought a rather unique way. Travis connected with Gerry via social media and started an off-topic discussion with him. While this wasn’t direct, it created a relationship with the client, and Gerry prioritized the call with PeopleBrowser over others.
Blog consulting is one of Rich Brooks’s offerings as a Web Marketing and Social Media Consultant. To get going, Rich joins a LinkedIn group and posts a rather intriguing question that attracts his ideal prospects and starts a conversation. Just as casual and easy as it can get!
Douglas Karr’s (Seemingly) Helpful Act
This portrays what any LinkedIn group is for, really. When a member of the group posts about a problem she faces, Douglas simply helps her out. By doing this selfless act, it makes the person want to know more about the helper, and the easiest way is to check the helper’s LinkedIn profile.
Social Selling Tips
- Leverage Google alerts or other social listening tools to be notified of happenings about prospects.
- Pay close attention to posts that have a high number of comments and utilize this space to understand pain points.
- Get existing customers that are satisfied with the brand to write testimonials. 79% of people trust testimonials and online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Keep track of brand mentions by existing clients and customers to know more about their perspectives.
- While keeping up with social media can be arduous at times, brands must ensure to post at an average of three to four times in a span of 10 to 12 days.
- Make a note of which post gets the most engagement to know more about client and customer interests.
- Stay up-to-date with everyday developments to know about what to speak with clients and customers by subscribing to informative blogs and websites.
- Go old school, but with just a little help from modern tech. Go through specific stakeholders’ LinkedIn profiles and find a common connection. Request to be introduced for a hot lead.
- Start blogging with quality content to attract the correct audience. While this isn’t necessary, it certainly goes down well with audiences.
- Once sales reps are done connecting with and have a stable relationship with their prospects, they must look to take the connect offline by offering to get on a call with them.
Social selling, without a doubt, will help brands sell more and grow. It shouldn’t be mistaken as a one-time activity and must be utilized along with the existing sales prospecting techniques that a brand already makes use of. Of course, it may be difficult to get started or maybe even to get it right the first couple of times, especially if one is new to the whole social media mumbo jumbo, but the benefits clearly outweigh the challenges. And since competitors, prospects, and customers, all make use of social media for business. It’s high time your brand does too. It’s simple, either embrace social selling and watch sales skyrocket or ignore it and watch the sales of your competitors go up.