Social selling is the next evolution of content marketing and social media. To help you understand this hot topic, it is essential to know (and master) the fundamentals. Social selling is a term that is being used more often, just like the term digital marketing. But what does social selling mean?
Social selling is half social media and half content marketing at its core.
Social selling is an evolution of marketing and a revolution for sales
The old sales model used to be about cold calls, qualifying leads, and sales demos. The new sales model is about education, social networks, and engagement.
Your sales team is looking for a partner in marketing to help with this transition toward being a digital and social business, and marketing is looking for more insight from sales on what works and what doesn’t, especially with the content a company produces.
Here is your A to Z guide to social selling.
Having a positive attitude with social media is a great place to start. If you think you will succeed in leading a social media program at your company or using social selling to find and engage clients and prospects, you will.
It is simple: you can do anything you think you can do. If you think you can master social selling, you can. It all starts with your attitude toward social.
It is essential to document your social selling program through a charter that explains the initiative’s scope, identifying an executive sponsor or sponsors, and a timeline to show what is or what is not working. You may want to interview people who are doing social selling well at your company.
It is also critical to have internal social selling champions, case studies from other companies and what your competitors are doing with social selling. All these ideas can help you build your business case for social selling.
Social selling can help your company better understand what content your sales team shares online.
“Content is the new currency for the modern sales professional“Jill Rowley, a social selling evangelist
As marketing understands what content the sales team uses with clients/customers, they can create more content that helps sales.
“Great content is the greatest sales tool in the world … period.”Marcus Sheridan, a digital marketing expert
With buyers consuming more content before they buy and consumers digesting more than 10 pieces of online information before making a purchase decision, your company must provide content that informs, educates, persuades, and retains your customers or clients.
Demonstrate your company’s robust and unique selling proposition online with your ideal group of customers.
“Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.”Theodore Levitt, author and professor at Harvard Business School
If you share your company’s insights via social media, you can have competitive differentiation.
“Instead of working hard to prove skeptics wrong, it makes a lot more sense to delight the true believers… they are going to spread the word for you.”Seth Godin
Companies that provide value and insights are winning their customers or clients over.
Luckily for marketers, social selling is only an evolution of their successful social media and content marketing strategy. Social media and content marketing have become critical to flourishing sales in today’s modern world.
In essence, social selling is a hybrid of social media and content marketing. Social selling is not just a tool for marketing, as shown by high-performing companies such as IBM, SAP, and Salesforce.com, reaping the benefits of marketing empowering sales with training and tools.
To make your social selling program successful, it needs to stick. Reinforcement and follow-up are critical to keeping the program on track. According to Aberdeen Group research, companies reinforcing post-training activities achieve better business results. Ongoing education and reinforcement are vital to the health of your program.
It is critical to have milestones and timelines in place. This could be included in your charter or strategy on a page we discussed earlier. They help with ongoing goal tracking and reinforcement, so your program doesn’t lose momentum.
Social selling helps salespeople do their homework on their clients and buyers. According to CSO Insights, 39% say the primary benefit of social selling is to reduce account and contact research time. Social selling is a great way to prove to clients and prospects that the sales and/or pre-sales teams have done their homework.
Too many companies keep their marketing and sales separated into two teams. They don’t connect with each other, nor do they have access to their data. This silo mentality results in a huge lost opportunity for these businesses. With the growth of digital marketing and marketing taking on more of the sales or buying journey, the term SMarketing — the process of integrating sales and marketing processes— is rising in importance.
Social selling will help salespeople keep their jobs.
Buyers are changing the landscape for sales and marketing. Buyers want advisors, not ready-made solutions. With the rise of the Internet and social media, buyers include more people in the decision-making process. Therefore, most buying cycles or sales cycles are getting longer.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
According to LinkedIn, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is designed and built for sales professionals to do social selling right. It helps sales focus on the right prospects to build relationships. You can purchase LinkedIn Sales Navigator on the enterprise or individual levels.
Marketing can provide their digital marketing expertise to the sales team who needs help in this area. Sales is becoming more like marketing, and marketing is becoming more like sales. Both teams are looking for insights on what works and what doesn’t. The sales team is looking for help with social media and their online presence. Marketing is looking for feedback on their marketing and lead generation efforts.
Social selling is a great way to keep up-to-date with the news of your ecosystem. This would include your partners, competitors, analysts in your industry, and clients/prospects. By following companies on LinkedIn, your ecosystem is now your LinkedIn home page.
Buyers have more power in today’s world, and their habits have changed because they can do more research online before interacting with someone. They can also ask more people about the products and services before interacting with sales.
For example, to get C-suite buy-in and build the business case for social selling, your initiative must start to not small with a pilot. The pilot should be long enough to collect information but short enough to not take up too many resources.
Research has shown the salesperson who uses social selling performs better than the salesperson who doesn’t. According to LinkedIn, social sellers create 45% more opportunities; social sellers are 51% more likely to achieve quota, and 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media.
Social selling is a revolution for sales. The old sales model used to be about cold calls, qualifying leads, and sales demos. The new sales model is about education, social networks, and engagement.
LinkedIn has a social selling index (SSI) is a formula to show how well your team has embraced social selling on a scale from 1 to 100. To improve your score, LinkedIn suggest you do four key things: 1) establish your professional brand or complete your LinkedIn profile, 2) find the right people to connect with and then connect with them, 3) engage with insights or share content and like/comment on other people’s posts, and 4) build relationships with your network, especially senior leaders and decision makers.
To help with reinforcement, explore some social selling tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
It is essential to see how other companies are taking advantage of social selling. LinkedIn and Sales for Life have good case studies for social selling.
Not everyone learns well through written text. Here is a social selling video on traditional selling vs. social selling.
Look at the growth of “social selling” in Google Trends. It is hot topic marketers, salespeople, and teams that support sales should be addressed at their organizations.
Xenagogy is a guidebook. If you are looking for a massive guide on social selling, I would suggest reading HubSpot’s sales professional’s go-to guide to social selling.
This is an old English dialect word for fishing and coming home empty-handed. In today’s modern world, social selling is ensuring that your sales team doesn’t fish and come up with nothing.
Marketers should be approaching social selling with zeal or great energy to pursue an objective. With more of the buying process happening online first, marketers should embrace social selling with enthusiasm because social selling will help them become better digital marketers and help the sales team become better at their jobs.
What would you add to this A to Z guide to social selling?
Are there some words that you like or dislike in this A to Z guide to social selling? Is there something missing? What other popular social selling terms would you add to A to Z guide to social selling?