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Social Selling

Social Selling: The Missing Link in Your Sales Strategy

Written by: Alex Rogers
Posted on: 06 Mar, 2017

92% of B2B sales cycles start online; 80% of purchase cycles involve advocates

In business, every sale starts with a conversation. Discovering the prospective client or customer’s pain-point, then convincing them that your solution is the best – and only – way to solve it, is the key to producing great sales numbers.

In the new era of digital sales and online communication, social media is proving to be a great tool to start these conversations for both B2B and B2C transactions. In fact, 30% of companies already using social media as a sales tool are out selling their peers by 78%. Sales Management Association’s research shows that

80% of sales professionals believe that the overall performance of their sales team would improve if they used social media and had a clear strategy to do so.

 

So, why are companies still lagging behind when it comes to social selling?

We decided to explore the challenges and highlight the best ways for companies to overcome them, as well as some lucrative opportunities facing businesses venturing into social engagement.

1. Lack of Interest

B2B researchers A Sales Guy, recently found that 92% of people delete spam emails and ignore calls from numbers they don’t recognise. These figures show just how hard it can be to even begin a conversation – let alone make a sale! However, social media communications are taking off and have already begun dominating in the sales field.

As social engagement increases, prospective customers are beginning to expect more online information – and more marketing. With this in mind, it is important to distinguish between following leads and building them – social engagement should be treated as a completely separate entity to direct marketing. After all, it is a relatively new phenomenon and as such, requires a new approach.

2. Lack of Strategy

60% of companies are still operating without a social selling strategy!

We’ve all heard the old adage ‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ – as marketers and business owners, we already know this to be true, so why are 75% of companies still operating blindly? We believe that a lack of solid measurement may be to blame, alongside a fear of using capital on what seems to be a mysterious, luck-based gamble.

Companies utilising social media as part of their marketing and sales strategy exceed their targets 23% more often than those who don’t, whilst 10.8% of sales individuals are closing more than 5 deals using social media.

This shows that social selling is clearly more than just talk; social platforms provide opportunities at each stage of the sales process from initiating conversation on Twitter through to sharing benefits on LinkedIn or expertise and insight on YouTube. The challenge lies in applying social media strategically, with each stage of the sales funnel is understood from a social perspective – fortunately, DSMN8 offers the tools to understand, strategize and measure the return of social engagement strategies.

 

3. Lack of Understanding

For many business owners or marketing teams, social engagement may seem like a passing trend, which may explain why so many businesses have not yet embraced the potential of a social media strategy – they just don’t know how good it is.

The truth is that social media marketing and a well-designed strategy has many advantages and presents many opportunities for businesses to stay ahead of the competition. These include the fact that the opportunity to take on board the desires of customers and provide them with the service that others are lacking.

Only 17% of consumers feel that companies are responding and communicating honestly with their customers – whilst 78% think that it is important.

These figures give businesses venturing into social engagement an immense opportunity to satiate these customers – improving the brand image, customer loyalty and beating the competition by miles.

Social media connections are a great way to start the seemingly elusive sales conversation.

Research shows that 77% of brand conversations are people asking for advice.

This is a great opportunity for brands to open up about their products and services and really engage potential customers. Further, by asking for advice, prospective customers are coming right out with their pain-points and needs, allowing businesses to come forward and say “We can fix that”.

So, we can see that social engagement is proving to be an effective sales tool, but how can businesses make sure that they get it right, from the start?

Consistent measurement, review and improvement are the keys to any successful marketing strategy – the same is true for social engagement. The businesses implementing social selling strategies successfully are those who constantly review and improve the tools and processes in use. This is the crucial difference between a business that is just socially ‘active’, and one which transforms social engagement into sales. To get good results you cannot rely on social media alone – a well-designed digital marketing strategy, including content, engagement and a solid return measurement system must be combined to see great things happen.

Connect with us @DSMN8Ltd for help with social media strategy, management and measurement.

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