With over 3.8 billion active social media users in 2020, businesses are finding more great ways to connect with their customers. Social media gives us a quick and easy option to share ideas, get information, and communicate with like minded individuals.
Companies that are lacking a presence on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are missing out on tonnes of opportunities when it comes to yielding results from their inbound marketing initiatives. If you’ve ever wondered what social selling is and whether it’s something you should be doing, we’ve got the insights you need.
Social media networks have allowed businesses to connect with their customers on a much more personal level. And that's what social selling is all about. It's the process of getting to know your prospects and customers through social media platforms where you can easily interact with them and build a steady rapport based around shared interests and topics.
Inbound methodology promotes the growth of your business by creating enhanced customer experiences. Social selling is part of this initiative as its role is to enrich the interactions that leads and prospects have with your company online. Your sales reps should be encouraged to engage with customers by frequently commenting, liking and sharing their posts. This activity helps to put your brand on the customer's radar, without specifically pushing a product or service. Social selling is a lot like lead nurturing, in that it's not a quick win tactic. Your team will have to build trust-based relationships that slowly encourage the buyer to consider your proposition.
It's important to distinguish between social marketing and social selling. Both mechanisms rely on social media platforms to gather data and reinforce relationships by supporting the customer in the research phase of the journey; however, there are distinct differences.
Social media marketing falls within your broader content marketing strategy and focusses on targeting your ideal audiences at the right time. Social selling, on the other hand, is the more personalised outreach that sales reps conduct whereby they engage in conversations that lead to meaningful and regular interactions. Social selling works at each stage of the customer journey because it allows your sales reps to humanise your brand and offer specific support and advice to customers. These efforts can lead to more exploratory calls, quick upsells or upgrades, and more opportunities to strengthen existing relationships.
If you could start doing something right now that would boost your pipeline volume by 18%, would you do it? Of course, you would, and that's precisely the kind of results that sales teams are getting by incorporating social selling into their inbound sales strategy.
Customers are tired of cold outreach; in fact, 90% of decision-makers say they never respond to that kind of communication. The modern buyer's journey has given customers the autonomy to research and review their potential purchases online – 74% of business buyers do over half of their research on the internet.
By leveraging your relationships through social media, you are adapting to the digital medium through which your prospects prefer to communicate. Buyers want authentic interactions and helpful communication rather than hard-sell sales tactics that offer very little value to them. As part of your sales strategy, it's essential to cover a wide range of channels so that you don't miss out on key touchpoints with your customers. Remember, if you're not out on social media talking and educating your buyers, your competitors will be.
Social selling isn't just a pipeline development strategy, however. It is also a means of increasing retention and preventing churn. If you're not nurturing relationships with your existing customers online, you may miss out on opportunities to address new pain points or answer questions that will help them gain more value from their customer experience with you.
Social selling is a fantastic tool that all sales teams should take advantage of to enhance their customer relationships and find new opportunities. If your sales reps are already engaged in other activities, it may be tricky to get them on board with a new initiative, but once they see the results from social selling, it will become a regular task on their to-do list.
The first step to getting buy-in for your social selling strategy is to involve your leaders. When your executive team actively participates in social media and engages with customers through the different platforms, it becomes easier for the rest of the team to follow this example.
For social selling to be a success, it's also essential to have full alignment between your sales and marketing departments. Marketing is the backbone of your social selling strategy, and it's this team that will be responsible for measuring engagement with your content and outreach campaigns as well as creating digital assets that sales teams rely on for their own sales processes. Sales leaders should take steps to encourage social selling by holding regular meetings and coaching sales reps to help them feel confident when utilising this method. Furthermore, your business needs to have the processes and technology to support and enable this initiative. But it's not enough to simply have the knowledge and tools for social selling; sales reps need goals and targets to work towards.
Sales leaders must define success for sales reps. Will achievements be measured by the number of appointments booked, the number of messages sent, or the number of opportunities created? It's important to have a framework that sales reps can refer to in order to keep motivated with their social selling initiatives. In our Digital Sales KPIs Guide you will find a variety of possible key figures and KPIs.
At BEE Inbound, we work closely with our clients to build comprehensive inbound strategies that also leverage the power of social selling. We'll help your sales team generate more leads that fit your ideal buyer persona and turn into profitable long-term relationships. To learn more about inbound sales and social selling, download our free Digital Sales Guide here.
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