Social selling is a powerful technique that plays an important role throughout the entire sales process from identifying, to connecting, building relationships and nurturing potential buyers through social media.
LinkedIn has arguably been the leading light in social selling, especially in the B2B arena, however over recent times we have seen an increase in organisations both B2B & B2C utilsing Twitter & Facebook to great effect.
In comparison to hard sales techniques, social selling is the process of leveraging social networks, to nurture, engage and provide continuous value and support to your potential prospects, so when it is time to purchase you will have influenced their decision. However it is important to understand that this takes time and effort, to quote the talented @amynettleton1 from her recent blog.
This takes effort
This takes time
This takes place before 9am
This takes place after 5pm
This takes place at the...weekend!
We think this perfectly outlines what is required to make social selling a success within your organisation.
Why invest in social selling?
Research by Forbes revealed that 78% of salespeople using social media perform better than their peers and recently IBM adopted a social selling approach which resulted in a 400% increase in sales. It is no surprise that social selling has seen a significant increase in popularity over recent times.
This diagram from Kissmetrics showcases how social media can influence every step of the sales funnel. By having a full understanding and appreciation for the role of social media within each stage of the process, you can educate your team to leverage these tools that are readily available to them.
So we know how social selling could positively impact an organisation…
Is social selling suitable for your organisation?
We recently listened to an podcast with Tim Hughes (Take a listen here…), an expert on social selling, where he answered the suitability question excellently…
“I’ve spoken to a lot of people, and quite often, at this point, people put their hands up and say, “Well, we’re not a big tech company,” or “We’re a consumer goods company,” or “We’re only a small company.” And I think this (Social selling) is actually applicable to companies big and small.”
“Because if you’re small, you don’t have the budget and, therefore, why not use technology as a way to punch above your weight? In terms of growth hacking, there’s things here that you could do to enable you to get leads with a very minimum amount to spend.”
We also think it is important to note, that social selling isn’t just applicable to B2B brands. With the fundamentals of social selling built upon person-to-person interaction there are many examples of B2C companies utilising this approach to great success.
Our friends at Aster Group are a great example of how to leverage social media to drive business objectives in a consumer-based environment. With a dedicated sales account and an energetic team ready to help at the drop of a tweet, their stellar work is clear to see. Check out their activity on Twitter here and read this great blog, which explains their philosophy in more detail…
So if leads are what you’re looking for, social media can help...
Where should you start?
- Personality – Corporate accounts on Twitter can sometimes feel intimidating and generic to individuals, sometimes a more personal approach is required. As this Harvard Business Review article highlights, it is vital that a salesperson has the ability to understand and share the feelings of another and this is no exception for your social media accounts. Explore how you can display empathy across your accounts, whether that requires individual representatives with dedicated accounts or opening specified channels, which focus on the social selling function.
- Listen – Of course listening is a key trait of empathy, but on social media it is also key in the early stages of the sales process to identify potential prospects. By tuning in to related conversations and/or accounts you can begin to identify where someone is on the customer journey and understand if it is the right time to begin a conversation. -- Bonus Tip: As well as focusing on keywords, phrases and competitors related to your organisation, think of potential triggers that may spark a new opportunity. For example, someone looking for a new gym buddy in the local geographic area could be enticed to your local facility with the offer of a free personal trainer for a trial period.
- Be prepared around the clock – As previously mentioned, social selling doesn’t just happen between 9am – 5pm. You have to be prepared to respond and help at the drop of a tweet. You need to consider how can your organisation resource this, or how can you ensure that if something comes in over the weekend, it will be picked up and responded to?
We hope this article and our recommendations will help your organisation to drive objectives through effective social selling delivery. Feel free to share your thoughts below:
CrowdControlHQ is the UK’s leading social media risk management & compliance platform built for enterprise. Our platform helps organisations to structure their social media teams to deliver around the clock and provides comprehensive listening functionality to cut through the noise on social media.