Question: What’s the difference between contemplating dipping a toe in the social selling water and throwing yourself straight into the deep end with the full understanding that this is a long term game?
Answer: a global COVID-19 pandemic that turned the world of sales upside down overnight, but revealed new opportunities for sales in its wake.
Social media was already on the road to becoming a key component of many sales strategies but with COVID-19 putting an abrupt end to traditional face-to-face opportunities, its importance has magnified in a short space of time
But with marketing budgets under increasing scrutiny, how can you demonstrate ROI on social selling?
The truth is, with the exception of highly transactional sales, of course no one is going to close a deal on LinkedIn or Twitter, but I would argue that very few people actually close a deal at a trade show either. But having that face-to-face interaction and positioning yourself as a trusted advisor with a client or prospect at an event can be an important part of the overall relationship strategy, especially when working deals with long cycles.
Social is really no different. It just takes a lot less time than it would to stand at a booth.
You see social selling, as a term, doesn’t really do it justice. In fact you should absolutely *not* be focused on selling, but instead on *engaging* with your network. It’s about sharing information, insight or content that is useful or valuable to your customers and, in the process, positioning yourself as a thought leader or subject expert.
You can’t meet with a customer every week, but you can have a digital handshake with them or do a digital good deed for them as frequently as you want, so sharing useful content is a great start.
But rather like going to the gym for the first time with the end goal of losing a lot of weight or gaining a six-pack; deals don’t happen overnight. The gym takes work, effort and tenacity, and you have to be doing the right kinds of exercises to achieve the goals you’re looking for. It’s the same with social selling.
So think of social across the buying cycle in terms of influence. I spend quite a bit of time tracking social’s influence across the buying cycle on my deals, I think I tracked over 50 social touches over the course of the last deal I was involved in….which we won. I can’t point to a specific post, but the culmination of posts was the deal.
‘But I don’t have time to find the right content for all my prospects,’ I hear you say. Fear not – there are plenty of tools available to help you engage with your network at the click of a button. SoSell, our own app, uses AI to go through intent signals being gathered, understand industry trends as well as topics or key interests for a particular stakeholder and present that information in a timely manner for the user to share. It puts users ahead of their competition and takes less than 5 minutes per day!
Now that we are all working remotely, social selling – or engagement – with our customers and prospects is more important than ever. Sharing valuable content, without selling or simply being an echo chamber for your business, is more important – and competitive – than ever. Patience and persistence wins the race.