Social Selling: Not just Millennials Mingling Online
During your last workday, how many times did you sneak a peek at your LinkedIn page, your Twitter feed or your Facebook timeline? Probably a little more often than you would like to admit. Staying in touch with friends is a basic human craving social media can temporarily satisfy. We all want to be social, stay in touch with our friends. But what if you could use this to also stay in touch with your customers?
Your sales team is the same (yes, they are also human 🙂). They usually have an extra yearning for human connection which they use for doing their daily work. So maybe we can empower them, or anyone who spends a lot of time on social media, as these evolving channels for marketing are one of the easiest ways to develop and maintain long-lasting relationships.
Rise of social selling
The digital transformation in marketing has been taking shape over a number of years and using digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps has become the norm across B2C and B2B marketing strategies. In fact, we’ve now reached a point where we need to focus on integrated campaigns combining digital marketing, traditional marketing and also traditional media relations and communications strategies.
Today we see the rise of social selling as an important tool to drive business leads. In our earlier post, we laid out some key fundamentals that are imperative to successful social selling strategies - flexibility, openness and not using social media as a broadcasting device.
Getting in touch with new and existing customers might sometimes seem a challenge, but it is done daily in different forms and ways. Traditional customer visits and meetings at industry events like exhibitions still prove to be very effective. But today we are also using social media and the most advanced technologies in marketing automation to reach out to customers. And for good reason! Most of us scroll through social media channels on a daily basis, and not only communicators but also executives, engineers and other professionals use social media to find the information they need to make buying decisions.
Get in on the act
The definition of social selling is simply the use of social media channels to make contacts, and maintain and develop relationships with prospects. OK – you could say, everyone has been doing this for the last couple of years so how can this drive leads for my business?
Analysts and CRM providers say a prospect needs 6-8 touchpoints with a company before even considering a purchase. Why not make some of these touchpoints a more authentic engagement with your sales team? This may even help them generate more information on the lead and establish a warmer connection.
Facilitating employees to access social media platforms, follow their business contacts and prompting them to post on (company) social media channels will help to create awareness for your company, build the company’s reputation and drive interesting conversations, as well as answer questions from potential sales leads. This, to us, is key.
In order to make sure that employees who contribute to selling via social media understand if their contributions drive interest and/or engagement, we believe in enhancing the sales strategy by tracking website visits and qualifying leads. Every company finds its own way of doing this. One way to track interest and identify potential leads is to work with campaigns and targeted landing pages. At EMG we work with Sharp Spring to automate our marketing efforts and track all leads/contacts and link to the specific team member responsible for that particular service or region. Here’s a list of some other tools.
While some of us may think online interaction with customers is reserved only for B2C companies, recent research shows that 68% of all business decisions are being made based on online research. Can we really ignore this great opportunity to engage with customers and prospects? Like the B2C market, the B2B market is changing; customers are expecting higher levels of service and commitment from their suppliers. Social selling and integrated marketing communications strategies can help to build trusted relationships and contribute to your overall success.
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