Although the field of social selling is still relatively in its infancy, many inside sales teams are adopting—or already employ this remarkable strategy. There is however, undeniable room to grow and improve when it comes to enacting strategies within the social selling framework.
Currently, the focus for many social sales teams is purely on social media strategy. While a strong social media plan will benefit teams working on social selling, social media strategy should be the foundation of your efforts, not an after-thought or final step.
Remember, social selling is all about connecting with individuals, not with (or through) individual networks. Even though networks are the avenue through which connections are made, the relationships that are forged are larger than any one individual network.
While most social sales teams only target social networks, the broader digital landscape is becoming more social over time, partly thanks to the efforts of marketing teams who are helping to push the boundaries of what can be done in the digital world. The evolution of the landscape is inevitable, and this change is approaching whether you recognize it or not. Instead of allowing fear to diminish your efforts, you can harness this change, and the great deal of opportunity to capture growth it provides. Here are four ways you can use these coming changes to your benefit:
- Social proof: People want to see examples of social proof (evidence of what other people think) when they research a product. We're not just talking about proof on social channels either. This means marketing teams must work on integrating testimonials, review sections, discussion areas, and other social elements into their marketing efforts. This creates new territory that your teams can (and should) be monitoring, such as product review websites, feedback sections and forums.
- Bigger data: You might not realize just how much data your organization has about your current and potential customers. There might be sales records, lead queries, service interactions, partner data, potential hire data, and other data your organization collects. As the tools to process this data spread out through companies, you can start to find the relationships within the data and apply it to your sales efforts. This lets you harness this information to provide incredibly personalized sales interactions. Right now, marketing is generally the only department making use of big data, but sales departments are obvious beneficiaries as well, with the sales process becoming even more social and personalized.
- Cross-team collaboration: Social selling is a great example of how the borders between marketing and sales departments are slowly eroding. Social media strategy often starts in the marketing department of a company and then moves to sales teams when the benefits are established. Sales has a lot of lessons to share about personalized interactions as well. Having the two teams work together in collaboration can help avoid wasting time through duplicated efforts while zooming in on the most effective best practices.
- Going Beyond Social: It's our final belief that social selling will give way to new approaches in digital sales. Social media has provided a great foundation but it's not the end. More channels of communication open each day that operate outside the traditional social networks that allow sales professionals to be more personal and develop a real relationship with prospects and clients. Determining how to best use these to engage with and nurture your prospects in the broader digital landscape will become increasingly important.
As the broader digital landscape continues to evolve, and the barriers between social selling and digital strategy continue to thin, the best opportunity for organizations is for sales and marketing teams to work more closely together. There might be some resistance to sharing the credit for revenue targets initially, but the potential success of both groups working together is much larger than operating individually.
Check out our eBook below for more on how your marketing and sales teams can work together.