As Social Selling begins to penetrate the sales leader’s mindset, questions around applicability remain unanswered. Most Social Selling chatter is highly focused on top of the funnel activity to help spark new dialog and conversations with prospects in the market.
But the implications for social are much more profound and meaningful.
Sales professionals from all verticals and functions can integrate the principles of Social Selling within their existing sales strategy to increase results.
From a 30,000 foot view, let’s begin to dive into each of these facets to reveal impact and business benefits.
Build Rapport With Prospects
Building rapport with prospects is routinely tied to the success of business transactions. The challenge is that this important skill is hardly taught. Intuitively we realize this has much to do with finding common ground, building consensus and driving conversations from this foundation.
Given the dramatic changes in buyer behavior, building rapport using traditional means has become increasingly, if not outright, difficult. Attempting to build rapport at the top of the funnel, in grabbing prospect mindshare, through email and phone is…well, we all know how most of these interactions go. The data says that 92% of all executives delete e-mails and voicemails right away.
Social Selling is uniquely different when done correctly.
Using social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter, sales professionals can begin to drip insights and helpful information. Used as an additional channel in your sales process, it can help with opening doors faster. Various research studies from LinkedIn provide evidence of pipeline, revenue and quota attainment being positively impacted by implementing social into the sales process.
Create & Nurture Relationships Through Social Selling
Rapport building naturally leads to organic creation of relationships. But social can help in impacting the nurturing of existing relationships as well.
Relationships are inherently solidified through value. Sales leaders, you’ll rejoice at the fact that 74% of the time buyers will choose sales professionals that were first to add value. Yes indeed, your battle to convince your sales team of this seemingly obvious fact now has concrete data behind it.
The question you need to be asking yourself now is are my sales professionals providing enough insight to prospects in the market? If your answer isn’t yes, social should be used as a part of your sales process to amplify relationship-building at scale.
The modern buyer (which includes you I presume as well) demands access to information to make informed decisions and your sales professionals. They choose to partner with sales professionals who are willing to provide insights along the entire journey. Proof of this is now quantifiable and can’t be ignored. When 1500 B2B buyers were asked what attributes they seek in sales professionals on LinkedIn, they unsurprisingly ranked thought leadership with 92%! Well-rounded relationships also impact new business opportunities.
Let’s use this as a segue to discuss retention and churn.
Figure 1: Social Selling impacts three various stages in the sales process: building rapport, nurturing relationships and retaining clients.
Improve Retention and Reduce Client Churn
Despite the market’s move to the subscription economy and SaaS-based models, the case for retaining existing customers and reducing churn rates for all organizations has never been stronger.
The scale in technology innovation has reduced barriers to entry in many key verticals. Competition is abound and protecting your core has become progressively crucial.
Gartner research reveals that 91% of marketing leaders believe that in two years they will be competing primarily on the basis of the customer experience. A poor customer experience is about more than bad customer service; it also includes unplanned and unmanaged account management.
So what’s the application of Social Selling in this area?
Quite simply, it’s about finding more mobilizers and champions in each account. The more this can be done, the likelihood of churn decreases. The ability to consistently add insights to existing clients to find more business opportunities is one of the most under-utilized aspects of social.
The Bottom Line
All areas of sales have the potential of being impacted positively by Social Selling. Since we are still in the early days, this vision will take time to execute. But, there are some bleeding-edge companies who are experimenting with using Social Selling across the board.