Beyond social media marketing: Should your sales team go social?
When it comes to social selling, businesses almost always find themselves conflicted. In this post we talk about what contributes to the debate over the utility of social selling and how it is much more than social media marketing.
Imagine this. You’re a hotshot rising marketing star at your company who believes dearly in everything that is holy about social media marketing. You’ve also managed to convince all the managers above you that utilizing social media in order to improve sales is a great idea. So you implement social selling techniques and then you wait, hoping for brilliant ROI that will prove you right. However, the amazing returns you expected never come.
Selling through social networks or ‘social selling’ has been talked about incessantly in the recent past. Most of the conversations revolving social selling involve arguments and opinions on the usefulness, or the lack thereof, of social selling. Here is what you need to know about it.
Social selling is not the same as social media marketing
Here’s the simplest explanation to how social selling differs from social media marketing. In social media marketing, marketers use social networks to promote brand awareness and weave the brand story in ways that appeal to target audiences. Whereas, in social selling, sales professionals utilize social networks to build and maintain relationships with prospects and customers.
What social selling can do for your business:
Shorten the sales cycle
When sales professionals take to social media channels, it eliminates the trouble of the physical tedious search for prospects. On social networks the reach is manifold, which in turn enhances the process for the sales team.
On social networks, users are upfront about their preferences and dislikes. This little detail goes a long way in helping out sales teams when they have to identify leads. This way the targeting is likely to be much more accurate, less time consuming and have better chances of conversion.
Selling is inherently social. Any sales professional will tell you that establishing and maintaining a good professional relationship is crucial to making a sale irrespective of whether it is a one-time sale or a repeat sale. Social networking lets businesses manage relationships effortlessly, facilitating quick responses, faster problem resolution and consistent communication.
When social media hastens processes for sales professionals, they enjoy improved levels of productivity. For better performance, businesses integrate social media accounts to their CRM solution in order to get a comprehensive understanding and improve the relevance of their communication.
What social selling cannot do for your business:
Even though there are benefits to going ‘social’ with the selling process, organizations often find that it is rather limited in its utility. Many businesses mistakenly believe that social selling is a comprehensive approach in itself. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, it is only a technique to enhance the selling process. A survey conducted by Introhive, a relationship capital company, revealed that 77% of reps and managers felt that social media did not contribute to the closing of deals.
What this essentially means is that the whole idea of social selling needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Think of it as the frosting to your entire sales process. No point in having just the frosting without a cake, is there?