More and more companies today are putting Social Selling into practice, and as such the many benefits are becoming visible and trackable. Research in May 2017, from Forrester commissioned by Hootsuite, shows companies investing in Social Selling confirm that this is a new or additional way of driving sales and business and is perceived as most valuable.
What are the highest scoring benefits of implementing a Social Selling program:
- Expanding reach. Social Selling makes it possible to expand to a larger audience. It allows finding new contacts or DMU’s within both current and new customers. We know that nowadays 4-6 people are involved in the decision-making process of purchasing a new solution within B2B. Therefore being in contact with the CXO’s alone will not be enough anymore as they will rely on advice and guidance from other less senior people within the organization. Social Selling allows organizations to profile customers and find and connect with all relevant decision makers AND influencers.
- Staying connected with the buyer throughout the customer journey. These days most of the customer journey happens online (up to 60-70% for some industries), as customers do their research online and mostly independent of sales people. Through Social Selling both companies and Sales can stay connected and influence the buyer. They achieve this firstly by understanding what channels customers use to find relevant information. Secondly they create a presence on those same platforms by putting together a compelling profile and posting relevant content. Sales and Marketing should work together to build an onmi-channel approach including website, social media platforms, etc. to connect with customers most effectively.
- Increased selling productivity. The benefits of implementing a Social Selling programme include a more smart way of sharing success and best practices within the wider sales team. People learn from each other’s efforts in terms of what works well and what doesn’t. When they work in the same sector, branch or vertical, commonalities are often found. A digital way of approaching customers also allows companies to influence buying decisions early on in the buyer journey. Often there is no or little time to have many face-to-face discussions. Digital engagement allows Sales to stay top of mind with their current and future customers. It’s an effective way to continue to influence the buyer’s decision on which vendor to go for! By selecting a programmatic approach towards Social Selling, companies can achieve consistency and an ongoing Social Selling presence rather than relying on random acts of sharing.
- Higher win rate. Sales that adopt a Social Selling routine and apply social listening techniques know more about their customers’ challenges and problems. They have more meaningful conversations since they engage with the increasing number of contacts that flow from careful profiling and connecting. They tend to have more on- and offline interactions with current and new buyers because they create more inbound traffic. Put differently, when companies create compelling and captivating social profiles and share relevant and appealing content, they will inspire and attract or retain new and existing audiences.
Today’s B2B buyer preference indicates that applying a comprehensive Social Selling strategy and supporting technologies is essential for companies to continue to attract current and future customers. Social engagement is important across all phases of the buyer cycle and allows both B2B marketers and sellers to connect with buyers on their terms. A formal and comprehensive Social Selling program is key to sustaining success.
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Carola van der Linden is a marketer with more than fifteen years’ experience. She is specialized in social selling and social advocacy. This specialism is based on the successful implementation of a social selling sales program for a worldwide IT provider. LinkedIn regards Carola van der Linden as one of the top Most Engaged LinkedIn Marketers: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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