You might still be on the fence about social selling and whether it is right for your business. You keep hearing great things. You hear that your business will benefit from it, that it will set your business apart in the current digital era. Yet surprisingly, only 31% of sellers currently use social to sell, despite continuous studies proving that sales professionals active on social media outperform their competitors.
The fact is – social selling is still a relatively new concept in the business world. That said, today’s inescapable reality of selling means being social. Technology has transformed the way we buy, therefore, the way we sell should adapt to the changes too. Outdated sales tactics need to be replaced. Things are moving too fast today and the reality will soon be that sales people who do not choose to utilize social selling techniques throughout the sales process will suffer in terms of lead generation and revenue growth, and will ultimately be left behind. To not sell socially in today’s competitive environment is like leaving money on the table and walking away.
So we get it, social selling benefits business, but what exactly are those benefits? If you have been still struggling to see its value, let me outline the 5 benefits of selling socially through online networks and make your decision a clear one:
1) The sales cycle is reduced
It is a common pet peeve of sales people to wait around and wonder how long it is going to take to “close the deal”. They may have been wining and dining a potential buyer for months, and they are left scratching their head thinking ‘why isn’t this prospect taking any action?’
The issue with the traditional selling process is that you start off on the wrong foot right from the get go. Sure, your persistent cold calling and asking them please to come along to their company’s next event may have worked for your sales rep, but psychologically they have set your business up to be real losers in the mind of that prospect. Why? Because persistent begging on the sales person’s part makes the prospect feel as if they are doing them a favor being there. It places them in a position of ultimate control and with the view that your sales people should be running around after them. Think about it, would you expect a guy selling Ferrari’s to jump through hoops to convince you to buy their car? Not likely. This is because the Ferrari brand has value and the sales rep knows it.
With social selling, you can shorten the entire sales cycle and achieve more success. Online networks and Google has made the entire pre-purchase research faster and easier for buyers. Today’s tech savvy buyers make their decision before they even speak to a sales rep.
Therefore, if your sellers have successfully implemented social selling into their sales process by sharing valuable information and interacting with prospects on a human level, potential buyers may decide to do business with them even before getting them on the phone. This is because social selling gives value to your brand and establishes your company as an expert in the field.
In the world of social selling, your sales teams ability to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack through timely information and understanding is the key to success.
2) Generates new revenue opportunities
Businesses now have to look at new ways to generate revenue opportunities. In today’s digital world, the effectiveness of cold calling and banner ads alone to generate leads and sell their product/service is simply not cutting it anymore.
Social selling allows sales reps to get an inside look at what customers want and need. Reps can join social conversations on LinkedIn or Twitter and monitor what potential customers are saying about their product or service. By listening to prospects in need of a solution, sales people can more easily provide them with the information or service they are looking for. The new way of lead generation makes it easier for the salespeople to identify the most relevant customers along with their needs.
The important thing to learn hear is that social selling helps businesses meet and exceed revenue and sales goals. If you have not yet jumped on the new-age bandwagon of selling 2.0, you are losing out on the opportunity to identify relevant sales leads and influence the buying process.
3) Allows you to manage your online reputation
One of the greatest advantages that social selling provides is the management of your business’s image and credibility online. Numerous studies have revealed the enormous impact of online reviews on buyers’ decision to buy a particular product or service. For example, 65% of buyers feel the vendor’s content had an impact on their final purchase decision in 2015, according to SalesForLife. Online presence leads to online popularity, given, you promote it right. Building a positive reputation among social media prospects will help draw more interested people to your business. Having a negative reputation can directly affect your company’s core processes and success.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy from social selling for managing your reputation online:
• Engaging directly with prospects boosts your brand awareness.
• Establishing a trusting relationship builds likability in the eyes of potential customers.
• Allows you to track your competitor’s online activities against your business activities.
• Allows you to hide damaging content about your brand by pushing it down the search engine rankings.
• Instant notifications of customer feedback which helps you improve your product or service.
• Receive an immediate notification if your name is mentioned online.
4) Builds a better customer relationship
Think about it, if you were in the position of the potential buyer, who would you more likely do business with – the sales rep calling you out of the blue to tell you all about their new product, or the online advisor who shares valuable information with you when you express a need for help? We must understand that, ultimately, people buy from people. And social selling creates that better customer relationship. Establishing trusting relationships gives you and your business that unfair advantage in the world of sales.
It cannot be stressed enough that social selling is NOT about selling, it is about directly engaging and serving others in a deeper, more meaningful way. Your job is to become the person they want to do business with. Relationships are not built between “Connections;” they are built between people. Long term, buyers are much more likely to make a purchase from sellers they have a relationship with than from a semi anonymous name and profile.
5) Keeps your customers coming back
While new customers are great, returning customers are even better. For business growth long-term, it is crucial to maintain and build upon a base of loyal customers. This is where social selling becomes essential. Sales teams can use social selling techniques to stay on the radar of both recent customers and past customers. The secret is to keep them wanting to come back. This involves continuous and consistent engagement. Engagement through sharing their comments, direct messaging, and sharing useful content with them based on what they’re looking for. It means updating them about new exciting offers and information they can’t find elsewhere. Sharing consistent quality content with your target audience is the key to growing your community. That means leaving the sales pitch aside most of the time. Social selling is what keeps customers coming back.
For example, a make-up company could post video tutorials about which color eye-shadow to use to bring out blue eyes. Restaurants could share new recipe ideas that intrigue, while retailers could post critical reviews of the most popular products. It’s all about understanding the perspective of the potential customer. What would make you subscribe to updates and new content of a certain brand? What would keep you interested? Keep you coming back? It’s all about being creative. This type of content will help to build your social media community and turn new buyers into return customers.
So there are 5 benefits of implementing social selling into your sales process. Are convinced yet? Social Selling is not difficult. It’s different. It’s selling 2.0. Social selling is still a relatively new concept, one that is severely under-utilized by most B2B companies today. Give your business an unfair advantage against competitors by capitalizing on social selling and experience the benefits it can bring to your business.