Social selling is one of the hottest buzzwords in marketing right now. In just a few years the concept has been taken by sales leaders and placed at the forefront of the increasingly dominant idea of digital selling. But what exactly is social selling? And how is it different from digital selling, if at all?
Social selling has to be understood as a concept within the larger field of digital selling. It’s primary focus is on meeting the buyer as an equal, with the most obvious platform being on social media. Social media has become an equalizer of sorts, bringing both brands and consumers to the same level, allowing consumers to reach businesses easier than they ever have before and for experienced sellers, making customers and sales the easiest to reach that they ever have been.
Social selling sees the buyer as an informed consumer, one who has done their due diligence and have an understanding of what they want through their personal research online and through their social media networks. The seller is able to meet them on this platform, subtly positioning themselves as a leader in the consumer’s interest and guiding them along their path, keeping them informed and eventually influencing their purchase when they are ready to buy.
There are three ways that a social sale is executed: insights selling, which comes through presenting yourself as an informed source and giving a consumer knowledge about your field through blog posts and things of that nature; referral selling, in which a consumer is influenced by knowledgeable sources and taste-makers in the field; and trigger selling, which is when a consumer is ready to buy and the work done by social sellers will be reflected.
All three of these styles of social selling are intertwined, as sellers must develop themselves as an insight seller to gain a role in referral selling which will make its biggest impact when it’s time for trigger selling. In short, by utilizing your content and social media prowess, you will be able to guide the buyer through the process and become the first place they look when they are ready to buy.
While social selling is one of the most talked about terms in sales today, it is only a wing of what is becoming the increasingly dominant field of digital selling.
Digital selling is the process of using your digital clout as an asset in increasing sales. Social selling is an important component of digital selling, but it shares its influence with approaches such as a high quality sales process, presenting yourself in a high quality manner online, a strong digital database and customer relationship management.
Digital selling brings all of these fields together into a cohesive marketing strategy. By organizing content into a structured environment where each aspect props up and strengthens each other into a close-knit presentation that will draw in consumers from all digital spectrums. This is a result of the blurring of lines between marketing and sales, where content and research are now combined with sales in the digital selling process.
As sales directors evolve with this medium, they are creating departments that pinpoint a specific consumer group and crafting content to appeal to that group, as opposed to the old style of mass marketing that attempted a strategy of reaching all. Today experts try to analyse the digital footprints of their consumers and tailoring a marketing approach that will suit them in an effort to engage buyers.
So while social selling is an important aspect for driving sales and building business, digital selling contains social selling in a cohesive strategy that will combine all digital fields as marketing and sales continue to intertwine.