Social selling is so much more than a simple prospect mining tool for salespeople to use in their spare time. While companies may feel squeamish about encouraging their sales force to leverage social content, it’s effectiveness is undeniable.
Companies who don't see the value will quickly be left behind in the next few years—for many industries, the early adopter phase is long gone.
The sales process itself doesn’t change with the addition of social selling, but using it as a data mining tool has the power to speed the customer’s journey through the traditional sales funnel.
The social sharing landscape provides the perfect opportunity for sales people to tune into their customers and potential customers’ needs, wants, goals and frustrations. Companies gain valuable insight into customer behavior by using social technologies. In fact, nearly three-quarters of businesses use social content to enhance their ability to reach customers.
Moving a prospect through the sales funnel depends on a salesperson’s ability to foster a relationship with the decision maker. Doing so becomes much easier when they can access the information the client shares on social selling.
Social Networking Creates Fast and Free High-Quality Propsecting
Traditional research methods are expensive and slow. Technologically advanced research tools like SalesLoft and InsideView give a sales professional valuable insight into how their potential customers are connected.
Following job changes and profile changes in LinkedIn is a simple matter of setting up an account at JobChangeAlerts.com. Twilert sends automatic alerts when specific preset search terms are used on Twitter, eliminating the need for manual searches when prospecting. Sales professionals can also use HootSuite to monitor Twitter and follow certain lists of users.
Social Sharing and Content Has Been Proven To Work, Time and Time Again
Every successful salesperson understands that nurturing relationships with current customers is the key to ongoing sales and referrals. Fostering loyalty by identifying common ground and providing value sets a sales force apart from their competition.
Customer-facing content that is relevant to the ideal prospect naturally attracts the attention of a company’s target market. Establishing this base of knowledge with a customer-core sales approach means putting the decision makers’ and various stakeholders’ perspectives first. Carefully curating this content to meet the goal of providing the ideal customer with a valuable source of information is no small task.
Only 19 of organizations report that their internal processes are aligned with their customer’s journey. 54% report that they are mostly aligned. It takes time to make the successful transition into meaningful and accurate customer alignment. The process is worth the effort, though. There’s a direct correlation between effective customer-facing content and high-level customer relationships.
Covering every phase of the customer’s journey throughout the sales funnel is essential. In a customer-centric company culture, customer-facing content will inspire the audience to think about their problem differently and perhaps consider a new approach. In the awareness phase, there’s a unique opportunity to show the customer a vision of their future success while providing value.
During the buying phase, social content helps to move the customer through the funnel by positioning the company as the best option. The vision for success must be carefully curated to match the buyer’s expectations.
Building a framework for future business and referrals is crucial a sales teams’ success. The customer’s ongoing challenges are the priority when curating social content. For the sales team, reaching their point of contact’s direct supervisor helps solidify the relationship between the two companies and guard against inevitable changes in a customer’s roles and responsibilities.
Industry-specific news feeds help salespeople curate content that is relevant to their customer base. It’s simpler than ever to establish trust and carve out a position of authority in a niche market by finding and sharing content. When customers feel that their salesperson understands the inner workings of their world, they share information freely.
Social Tools Help Companies Facilitate Internal Communication and Collaboration
Using social tools to enhance communications, share knowledge, and collaborate is where the real potential lies. The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) conducted a series of studies that indicate a potential increase in the productivity of highly skilled knowledge workers, such as salespeople, of 20 to 25% with the full implementation of social technologies.
Two-thirds of the potential value of social technologies manifest as an improvement in communication and collaboration within the company. While the average interaction worker spends one-fifth of their working hours searching for information or trying to figure out which of their fellow employees can help them solve a problem, companies who use social technology internally experience a significant drop in the time spent searching for information.
Collaboration within the company, conducted over social channels, is searchable. It becomes a valuable living document that other employees can use to quickly find the answers they need to move on to the next task. Faster internal communication increases productivity immediately, and social channels offer a solution that employees already use in other ways, so the transition is seamless.
Receiving the value of social technology requires organizations to fully commit to a change in their culture. An increase in trust and an open and honest conversation about how to leverage the power of social technology to benefit the customer and eventually, the company is a great place to start.