Today, I continue to share thoughts about Hootsuite’s A Definitive Guide on Social Selling . Haven’t heard about it? Stop what you’re doing and go download it now. Don’t miss the main points of Part 1 of this review. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, check it out here.
Here is a continuation of some of the most hard-hitting and impactful points:
Social Selling allows Relevance
“Forrester’s respondents cited “Relevant context to connect with vendors” as one of the top reasons they use social networks for business, and 73% of them have engaged with a vendor on a social network. Providing relevant, well-targeted content is the best thing a sales representative can do when reaching out to a prospect. During the pre-purchase phases of their decision making, buyers value consumption of vendor content more than they value sales calls. They feel the most motivation to return a reach out when “The rep has provided me with some type of value in return for my interaction with them”, such as a webcast or whitepaper.”
If 73% of your buyers were to tell you that I’d rather read what you have to say on a topic and not get a phone call from you, what would you do? It’s a bit of a rhetorical question.
Social Selling is about guiding the buyer journey but doing it online. The data is bulletproof; your buyers are going online and if you’re not there sharing content of some kind, how in the world will you expect to make any sort of meaningful impact in their buying process? As I said in Part 1, you’ll force the conversation down the path of price and fulfillment, while your competitor is making it about ideas. While you’re pitching “solution” without understanding what your buyer may need, your competitor is busy showing the buyer that they have a problem and then custom-tailoring a solution around this.
Sales Has to Get in the Game
“In IBM’s estimate, 60% of companies will have adopted social business practices in their sales functions within the next two years. Unfortunately, in 2011, Altimeter Group reported an alarming lack of official social media policies within sales departments. Only 11% of companies had formalized customer-facing social media efforts for sales, compared to 82% for marketing.”
Chalk one up for the Marketing folks. They’ve been able to foresee the trends of Social Selling for quite some time and want to adopt. We see this in our daily lives as well, where Marketing are the ones who spearhead conversations around sales enablement and effectiveness.
As for IBM’s estimate, I think their prediction is pretty vague and I take it in two ways. One, if they mean that companies will have started to adopt social media in small and varying degrees in two years, then yes I’d agree with them. But if they mean that companies will actually roll out a well thought-out and deliberate plan of getting new meetings and customers using Social Selling, then I think they’re a little too optimistic.
Social Selling & the IT Purchasing Process
“In a LinkedIn-commissioned study in August 2012, Forrester found that social networks are a critical source of influence on decision makers in every phase of the IT purchase process. In each of the five phases of decision making, social networks influence nearly half of all IT decision makers involved in that phase”
This stat is meant to show you an example of social buying when applied to the IT buying process. If half of your buyers are influenced by Social in each distinct phase of the sales cycle, what do you think will happen if you’re not online?
That’s right: irrelevance.
The Hootsuite Guide
I encourage you to get this guide and have it marinate in your mind. In a two-part blog series, I could only touch on a few points that I found interesting. But, I’m sure, you’ll find many other parts fascinating. To go back to part 1 of this series click here.
The Bottom Line
Social Selling is different; not difficult. As a Sales Professional or Leader/Executive, it’s time you started to explore this world because your buyers are already here. Without change, as the years go by, you’ll start seeing that more and more conversations become about price and fulfillment, and less about value. You can start your social selling journey by checking out 10 Step to Building a Social selling Machine and 42 LinkedIn Sales Tips. To see some live tactics in action, feel free to book a call with me.