Social selling has revolutionized the way that we sell in the modern, technological era. Learning how to navigate this new tool, and understanding how to utilize it better, as well as knowing which pitfalls to look out for, is crucial. This article explores actionable steps to harness the power of social selling.
Social Selling Hype:
There was a lot of hype surrounding social selling when it first entered the business world. It was promoted as the next best way to increase sales, and as an overall shortcut to sell more, faster, with limited effort. In some ways, it has lived up to the hype, and in many other ways, it hasn’t. Part of this split has to do with regional changes, as social selling has been adopted differently in different parts of the world. All things considered, a lot of the salespeople haven’t accepted the fact that selling is about the conversation. This is part of why social selling has not lived up to the hype. It’s often thought of as a way to connect to many people, and not about connecting one on one to an individual buyer.
- With social selling, there is a tendency to avoid talking and connecting with people. A core component of successful selling – the conversation – has been left out. Social selling has a chance of becoming more successful if the relationship is reintegrated into the selling methodology.
Social Selling Evolution:
Social selling has transformed a lot since its introduction. Part of this evolution has come about as social selling has become more integrated. People have become more comfortable with the idea because they have experienced it personally. Today, almost everyone has been introduced to social selling as a targeted consumer. When you log onto your social media account, you see certain content or advertisements. If you click on the link, you might see the content come up again, or you might be approached through your social media to purchase. Social selling continues to change and evolve as the media networks change and evolve. Any time an algorithm changes or a new feature is added, it necessitates the evolution of social selling to maintain the alignment with the channel of choice. Shifting from being more marketing dominated, to being more sales dominating with marketing remaining a key contributor in supporting content. Marketing and sales alignment has long been a subject of discussion, and social selling has evolved as the field changes to promote more alignment between these two forces.
- If you are on social media, you have experienced social selling. This makes it easier to understand it from a sellers perspective because you have experienced it as a buyer. Examine your experience as a consumer to better understand social as a seller.
Tactical Selling Techniques:
- Start talking to people. If potential buyers do something with your content, start a conversation and maintain that relationship. When you talk to people, you learn how you can help them. If you know how to help them, you can generate a sale based on the value that you can provide to that consumer. It’s easier than ever to do this over social media because you can comment or send them a message, as opposed to the old days where you had to drive to their door to make contact with people.
- When you create content, create something that is useful for your consumers. If you are a company selling your product, don’t talk about the product, talk about the problems that could be solved by using the product. People will only engage when it’s beneficial for them.
- Find platforms to sell on that aren’t overrun with other sellers, but where buyers are still active. For example, posting links to websites at the end of news articles, or niche facebook groups.
Social Selling Evaluation:
With social selling, it can be difficult to evaluate results, both for salespeople trying to assess their own work, and sales managers trying to keep data and provide coaching. But, different people operate in different ways. Trying to measure social selling in the traditional way of counting phone calls and leads shouldn’t be on the agenda.
- Evaluate effectiveness by results and not just things like the number of calls made. Look at who sold what to whom, and make evaluations based on this measure.
- If a sales manager or a sales rep is trying to understand the effectiveness of social selling, measure the results, and measure the output. Have sales meetings where you review the content that gets a lot of traction, and the conversations you are having with clients, and discuss that and how to improve what you are doing to create more conversations and generate more interest among your target population.
The Future of Social Selling:
The future of social selling is based on how it is evolving currently. Looking at social selling in the present is a good predictor of what will happen in the future, and understanding what will happen in the future will help salespeople adapt faster and get ahead of competitors.
- Ensure that sales and marketing are aligned. The future of social selling relies a lot on the integration of these two entities.
- Be continually looking at new opportunities to do things differently.
- The current increase of chatbots will likely evolve to be more targeted.
- More niche social networks will emerge, creating new platforms for social selling.
Getting Started With Social Selling:
Are you ready to get started with social selling? There are some concrete steps that are important to take if you want to be successful.
- Identify your ideal clients and prospects, and find out where they spend most of their time on social media. This will help you target
the right platform to utilize, so you don’t waste time to share things and networking on a platform where your clients aren’t.
- Ensure that the salespeople and marketing people are talking to each other. This alignment is more vital than ever when it comes to
social selling because it requires a combination of expertise from both domains.
- Go to training, and then follow up those training with more coaching. People have so many ideas about how to sell online, but they’re
not always accurate. Learning about social specific selling will be of immense value, especially for those who are already using
traditional selling methods.
- Build your social profile. Get references from other people who are already established in the social selling arena.
- Always be connecting. Go onto the platform or platforms of choice and start conversations.
- Publish useful content with strategic intention.
- Ask questions to find out if qualifications want to become your customer. If they don’t, find out why, and use that information to
Information for this article was sourced from this webinar, hosted by John Golden, with expert opinions from Mic Adam, Edward van der Kleijn, and Lena Doppel.