Even if you’ve heard the term, you may wonder what “social selling” really is. Social selling capitalizes on a human tendency to listen to close friends, relatives, and trusted peers for product and service recommendations.
This phenomenon is completely revolutionizing how sales teams sell. It’s out with the old and in with the new.
Why You Need It
There are many different reasons why you need to switch to social selling if you haven’t already. In 2016, the Harvard Business Review reported an astounding 84 percent of business-to-business sales start with a peer recommendation or referral. The customer is already primed and ready to start the purchasing process.
CSO Insights reported that, in 2016, companies that made this technique a priority improved their sales rates by 16 percent. While it may not seem like much, it’s part of a large and growing trend.
The Big Question: How?
As the effectiveness of older techniques such as cold calling and email continue to decline, you’ll have more limited success. The time to prioritize new sales tactics is now, before these older, “tried-and-true” techniques become any less effective. Adopting more effective selling techniques is in everyone’s best interests!
So how can you make it a top priority in your company?
Create Great Content
Remember today’s consumer is often self-sufficient. The accounting officer searching for new software is going to do some careful research, create a list of recommended products, and survey her colleagues and peers before she ever makes contact with your sales team.
She’s already somewhat familiar with your products and services before she reaches out to your sales team, but only so long as you’ve been creating consistently great content for her to consume.
Great content helps you build the foundation of a relationship with potential customers. You provide insightful information or tools they need and want. Over time, they learn more about your products and services. When the time comes to make a purchase, they think of you first.
Enable Your Sales People
Your sales team needs tools at their disposal to close a deal. They need training to know how to use the latest app or CRM software. You’ll need to provide them with both so they can do their jobs effectively.
If you can’t quite convince your superiors of the need for social selling in particular, think about aspects of sales enablement you might be able to convince them of. Will a training session help your sales people leverage social media or use a new program more effectively? You might get that worked into the budget more easily. A new CRM, a program to create great content and sales guides are also valuable tools with high returns on investment.
All of these things contribute to sales enablement. In turn, your sales people can use their new knowledge to implement more effective techniques.
It’s difficult to fix a problem if you’re not quite sure where the problem exists or what it looks like. It’s one good reason to use metrics to keep track of your success.
Metrics tell you how successful (or unsuccessful) you are in implementing a strategy like social selling. If you’re not meeting your goals in certain areas, learn why. Survey your sales team members and ask what they need from you to succeed and meet or exceed these goals.
The keen insights provided by the data you gather can help you learn how to improve your strategy.
Get Better Results
If you haven’t already prioritized social selling, this is the time to do it. Use the simple strategies outlined here to get your team on board and guarantee more commitment to putting social selling first. It will pay off big time in the long run.
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.