A New Way to Think About Social Selling
“Selling through social channels (social selling) is the closest thing to being a fly on the wall in your customers, prospects and competitor’s world.” – Jim Keenan The Rise of Social Salespeople
You may be wondering how social selling is different than traditional sales and marketing methods. For starters, it’s not buying a list of leads and cold calling everyone on the list. It’s not disruptive selling, where you simply send out a series of marketing messages, lead-generation offers, or coupons and discounts. Social selling is:
Identifying and targeting prospects through social media
Building trust with current customers through social media
Engaging in conversations
Creating mutually beneficial relationships
It’s common for established companies to feel hesitant to go social. Companies, just like people, are creatures of habit and it can be a challenge to try something new. The biggest hurdle to using social outlets is lack of understanding. Most people just don’t get it. These three key facts will help you be become the “fly on the wall” and be successful at utilizing social networks:
1. Social selling requires shared responsibility
Both the sales and marketing team should work together on social initiatives. There will probably be resistance from both sides. “It’s not my job!” is a common mantra. This attitude is typically rooted in a lack of understanding about the importance of social media in modern marketing and sales. For many salespeople and marketers, there remains the perception that tweets and Facebook posts are just for fun; they aren’t for serious purposes.
For companies who decide to embrace this new kind of selling, the actual challenge comes in simply figuring out how sales and marketing should collaborate. Resolving the issue of cross-team collaboration for social marketing purposes comes with a huge ROI. According to research from the Aberdeen Group, annual company revenue can increase by as much as 20 percent when there is healthy alignment with sales and marketing. Training, clear communication, shared goals, are all a great start when it comes to getting these two teams to work together.
2. Social selling is not lead scraping
It is a common delusion among salespeople that you can scan posts on social networks and find leads by identifying anyone who might mention needing your product (even in passing). With a list of names in hand, you simply find contact information and there you go, you’ve got a long list of leads from Twitter or Facebook. While this is a nice idea, this is not how social selling works.
Un-selling is something you will hear a lot about when discussing social selling. This is pretty much the opposite of a sales pitch. Sales pitches don’t translate well to social media. Instead, this type of selling involves being more responsive and much less about outright selling. Listening, responding to comments, offering useful information—these are all part of un-selling. Think of your role as more of a consultant and less of a salesperson
Relationship building is at the core of social selling, which is based on establishing trust and offering value. Most salespeople already have this skill; it just needs to be honed. When you really break it down, the traditional sales process is about just that—relationships. For many marketers, this should also be good news because social selling is based on building brand trust. These are sales and marketing models you should be comfortable with by now. It’s only a matter of extending those ideas to a new platform—social media.