CMO Sunday: Social Selling

social selling
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It seems that everything always comes down to attention span. There is so much content produced, brands need to do something different to rise above the noise. What can you do differently from the competition to keep your customers talking to you, and not the other guy?

Though there is still a place for physical meeting places, let’s face it… it’s an online world. If Marketing is constantly reinventing itself in the online space, why not Sales? We talk about being where your customers and prospects are, and that’s in digital channels.

 

What is Social Selling?

Social selling is the art of using social networks to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers that keep you-and your brand-front of mind, so you’re the natural first point of contact when a prospect is ready to buy.

It’s quite simply using online social tools to engage in the relationship-building strategies that have always been the foundation of what good sales professionals do.1

 

The Imperative

In a Forrester report for Hootsuite in May 2017 social selling has become a priority for Sales and Marketing leaders.

According to the study, 49% of B2B enterprises have developed a formal social selling program, and 28% are in the process of doing so.

Social selling is gaining momentum for these three reasons:

› Buyer journeys are increasingly complex. Empowered buyers prefer to self-educate, gain third-party validation, and rely on peers to learn about new products — and increasingly prefer to use social networks to do so.

› Companies need new ways to stay top of mind with prospects. Increasingly complex and lengthy sales cycles as well as more stakeholders involved in buying decisions require that B2B companies develop new approaches for keeping influencers and decision makers engaged throughout the buying cycle.

› Sellers and marketers see social as the dominant sales channel of the future. 36% of the decision makers in the study believe that social selling will become the default way to engage with buyers in the future.

Forrester Social Selling
Source: Hootsuite, May 2017

 

The Benefits

The great hope is that by meeting customers and potential buyers where they live on social they will have more meaningful connections, greater reach, and ultimately increased revenue.

The Forrester study showed that more than 40% of sellers and marketers believe social selling can help on four fronts:

  1. Enabling sellers to stay connected
  2. Extending their networks
  3. Enhancing productivity
  4. Increasing win rates
Forrester Social Selling Benefits
Source: Hootsuite, May 2017

Source: Hootsuite, May 2017

Approach

Social Selling really should be a top-down and bottom-up tactic, but what can you do? You don’t want to respond willy nilly to customer questions on social channels. You may not have all the answers, or even the right ones. You need a cohesive strategy that includes both listening to buyer signals, as well as providing relevant content.

The single most important piece of advice, is to be human. What you say matters.

 

 

 

1 Christina Newberry, Social Selling: What it is, Why You Should Care, and How to Do It Right, Hootsuite, 2017 https://blog.hootsuite.com/what-is-social-selling/

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Kris Schulze

Kris Schulze

Chief Marketing Officer at B2B News Network
Kris is a Certified Content Marketing Specialist with a degree in languages, and too many years of experience in marketing and media to mention. Kris has spent her career collecting knowledge in content and product marketing, writing, and working for some well known brands. She is the author of Welcome to Beansville, and In the Quiet Hours.
Kris Schulze

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