There are lots of ‘half-truths’ about sales on social media, told by people who have some concerns about it. Take profit, for example. But which ones are true and why is Social Selling such a good idea?
- Buyers spend time doing research: I am sure there are some people, employed in purchasing departments, investigating what they need to purchase for their company. My experience tells me that most decision-makers do no such thing. They talk to the people they know and trust.
The link between online and offline cannot be clearer and that is where Social Selling builds bridges.
Our vision: Social Selling is THE link between online and offline because people buy from people.
- Buyers are well-educated and well-informed: Yes, they are, about many things. About you, your industry and the choices that are available to them. But when it comes to producing better results: not very. What buyers do have when they repurchase is experience because they have bought and consumed a product or service before. Previous experience is what drives future purchases.
Social Selling wins when sharing is your priority. It is all about visibility and adding value without any immediate return.
Our vision: Our Social Selling approach helps you create a digital presence that supports both online and offline visibility.
- Buyers spend time on social sites: Certainly, there are many professionals with buying roles who are engaged on social media. What you will find to be true, however, is that the higher you climb up the organizational ladder, the fewer people you will find spending time on social media.
Social Selling starts from the premise that your content adds value to the audience that is looking for it.
Our vision: Our Social Selling routine of 30 minutes/day focuses on network growth, network maintenance and creating visibility. They will lead to sales meetings.
- Buyers now control the process: If buyers knew how to get the results they needed, they would already be getting those results. When a buyer operates in the process, it is called a Request For Proposal. What you sell is thus turned into a commodity. This process will never serve you and it rarely serves the company. You can still control the process ifyou initiate it.
Social Selling is all about creating a symbiosis between buyer and seller. Conversations about value-adding content are the key to success for both parties.
Our vision: Our Social Selling approach ensures that you are in contact with customers and prospects and that you understand their needs. ‘Giving before Asking’ becomes your mantra.
- Marketing generates your leads: Marketing creates awareness. When things go well, they generate leads. The other half of this truth is that those leads will not be enough for you to grow your business. Sales is about opportunity creation as much as it is about opportunity capture.
Marketeers have no clue what Social Selling is. They think it is all about automation and content creation, but they often forget personal contact
Our vision: Our Social Selling approach hinges on the final goal (let’s be honest: it’s about sales) but we will work with marketing to provide you with the content and other components that give you the visibility needed to initiate personal contact.
- Marketing automation can nurture your relationships: Marketing can automate messages. Nurturing is something else altogether. You don’t nurture a lead. You nurture a relationship. Your prospects don’t have any relationships with anyone in your marketing department. When they have a need, it is not marketing they call. People nurture relationships with other people.
Social Selling is not about automation of engagement but it is about starting a conversation with your target audience. There is more than just downloads to capture email addresses.
Our vision: Our Social Selling approach does automate some steps (content curation, handshakes, etc.) but you have to make it personal and take immediate follow-up actions as well! People buy from people.
- Inbound is better than outbound: Inbound can be enormously helpful. But it isn’t better than targeting your dream clients, building relationships over time, developing a case for change, and winning your dream client in the end. Outbound still rules.
Social Selling is often seen as just inbound, but that is not the case. It is about having two-way conversations.
Our vision: Our Social Selling approach is simple: Account-based!
- Salespeople are only necessary to close opportunities: If inbound is not the Valhalla of sales and marketing does not generate leads, where do sales come from then? Right, salespeople! They convert leads into deals and get paid for it.
Many companies think that, by using Social Selling (the marketing approach aka “advertising”), they can eliminate salespeople. They think that salespeople only close deals, so they are no longer needed.
Our vision: Our Social Selling approach is all about sales and human transaction.
- The best salespeople should not prospect: Closers. Sure. But the person with the greatest ability to create value for their dream client should prospect and be engaged early in the process, where deals are won or lost. Saving the best salespeople for the very last part of the process, not allowing them to prospect, is a bad idea.
Many salespeople using LinkedIn think they are social selling and no longer have to prospect. Nothing lies further from the truth.
Our vision: Even if you don’t have to prospect, you need to fine-tune your prospecting skills by finding your dream customers. It allows you to grow and to win. You’ll find new opportunities there where you were not even looking. We believe in ‘Eat Your Own Dogfood’ and practice this every day ourselves.
- There will be fewer salespeople in the future: If your model is transactional, this is almost certainly true. If your model sets store by trust, value and caring, this is not true. In fact, there is already a shortage of salespeople with the skill sets needed to sell in businesses with these models.
Social Selling (through marketing) will never replace sales!
Our vision: Our Social Selling approach combines digital and traditional skills to get close to clients on the platforms they use.
As a conclusion, I would like to share my personal vision on the new salesperson with you so that we can have a constructive discussion.
IMHO these are the talents you will need:
- Articulating clearly what a dream client looks like
- Listening (online and offline) to your customers
- Developing relationships (online as well as offline)
- Adopting a ‘Giving and Receiving’ approach (i.e. being visible, building relationships and generating trust – again both online and offline)
- Engaging in conversation (online and offline)
- And yes, of course, being passionate about your product, service, customer, company, etc.
Over to you … What do you think of my statements and thoughts? Do you recognize yourself or do you think this is total nonsense?
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