In the “during Covid era”, organisations have had to work in complete uncertainty vis the environment, politics, economics, market, and customer. Most organisations, world over, are persistently trying out strategies that may help them to emerge from the quagmire.
Fortunately for some key functions, the strategy is clear and already available. For instance, sales – which drives growth, value, and sustenance – needed immediate alignment to the changed environment.
Social selling was already appearing on the horizon for some industries, before Covid 19 disrupted lives. And now it needs to be adopted, post haste. by most industries as the non-negotiable way of selling.
Interestingly, customers and businesses have long been “Social Buying” before sales professionals started to recognize this shift. Social selling had been one of the critical skillsets that sales professionals needed to learn and pandemic has brought sharp focus on the need to develop, social selling processes and skills.
What is Social Selling? Why is it Important?
As per Christina Newberry (Hootsuite 2017) “Social selling is the art of using social networks to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers that keep you—and your brand—front of mind, so you’re the natural first point of contact when a prospect is ready to buy.”
Simply put, it involves the sales organization harnessing the power of social media to be able to find and nurture prospects
Social selling is a critical skill because as per a LinkedIn research: Social sellers attract 45% more opportunities than their peers and are 51% more likely to achieve their sales quotas!
Key tips to keep in mind for social selling
Maintain sales discipline
Like all types of selling, social selling requires sales professionals to maintain a certain level of discipline. It is very critical for the sales organization to identify specific lead generation goals and break them down to daily/weekly social media engagement targets. The lead actions and measures and lag measures must be crystal clear. When conducted randomly, social selling will NOT produce any results!
Support your sales team to build an online presence
Being present on social media is very different than having an online presence. Most sales professionals in India have still not build a personal online presence on social media platforms. At best, most people are using these platforms to follow or like their customer base. Developing a strong online presence requires us to invest time in building a personal brand on the type of expertise we can offer.
Know your target audience
Spray and pray strategy of sales never works. You waste too much of your valuable organization time and energy by not being focused on “who to sell to”. In social selling, it is very critical that your sales professionals are clear about various “customer avatars”. Defining your target customer as specifically as possible is a critical success factor to social selling!
Teach your sales team “tricks of the trade”
While sales professionals are expected to be “street-smart”, several sales professionals are not “digitally smart”. They may face several barriers such as irrelevant search results, low connection acceptance rate, low visibility to posts, etc. Early success is critical in confidence building and therefore, it is crucial to teach for sales team some relevant tricks of trade to help them face the frequently encountered challenges
Learn what campaigns really are
While most people use the words social media campaigns a lot, not many truly understand what they are. Campaigns have several touchpoints and these touchpoints are connected with a powerful storyline. It is critical to educate your sales force on various types of campaigns and how to leverage them effectively
Don’t forget the Sales Managers
While some organizations have started to take initiative to train their front-line sales professionals on social selling, it is equally critical to focus on Sales Managers. Front line sales professionals may get excited about social selling, but it won’t become a long lasting practice till their own supervisors don’t adopt it.
To summarize, social selling is a critical sales capability, while COVID has accelerated the need for this capability, it was becoming increasingly crucial for sales organizations to adopt this!