Social Selling Is The Future For Acquiring New Clients
As more and more methods traditionally known are being made redundant, social selling has become the new buzzword, for approaching the market for new clients. In what turned in as a new phenomenon in 2010, is now becoming the main method by which sales leads are being generated, clients bases expanding, and even client engagement being undertaken.
According to report on social selling, sites like LinkedIn will become a major tool to engage and sell to prospects especially using the LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which doesn’t need training to use, and the mobile app makes it rather easy to approach prospects and existing contacts.
According to CRM Search, “Social selling is about applying the information available in social channels to aid your sales strategies and pursuits. This information includes prospect or customer social comments of all types, including questions, frustrations, concerns and inquiries, and tends to be both candid and desirous of a response.”
From using social media as a selling vehicle, to lending a more humane touch to the process, is something which will take social selling ahead in the future, as also implied in the BS report by author and VP of Strategic Marketing at HCL Technologies, Apurva Chamaria. It also mentions that if the so called human touch goes missing from the entire process, it obviously becomes a point of failure, because human beings (customers) do business other human beings (service providers or sellers), and not companies.
In fact, just relaying preconditioned sales pitches, in social selling sends across a negative message about the brand which says, that the company views each customer as a transaction point, and not as an individual who needs a particular value proposition to be interested and engaged for the product or service.
The other big change as witnessed in social selling is, the central factor looked at in all business decisions; the ROI. Social selling is not what will convert to immediate sales, but since there will be interactions taking place, it will be used as a forum to come up with an ‘attribution model’, which will monitor these interactions to the money and resources invested in the process, and determining the appropriate ROI. The entire sales process needs to be about encapsulating the major take-away points in order to convert the social selling process into a successful one.
But in order to make social selling effective, there is indeed some fine tuning needed, some of which are listed below.
- Social listening: Like social selling, social listening is about using social networks to generate leads, solve issues, and build onto your sales process. There are a whole bunch of socializing tools and forums like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc there are full with messages about customers speaking about their experiences and giving almost real time feedback on their experiences. That itself could be a goldmine for prospecting, but looking at the sere volume of tweets (200 million daily for companies and services), it might be a bit tough, but tools like LeadSift, NetBreeze, and Radian6 exist, which use advanced technology like locations’ tagging and NLP (natural language processing), to ensure that the most meaningful and relevant part of conversations are picked up, to be able to convert into more successful deals.
- Event triggers: There are many triggering events which can judiciously be used to turn sales processes into more engaging, and consequently positive. If prospective clients have undertaken a round of venture capital funding, which helps them expand a certain way, or puts them in a better position to buy a product or service, a congratulatory messages, or a wish to just engage with the prospective customer could pull of surprise leads. There are Intelligence tools like InsideView, Lattice Engines, OneSource, and Zoominfo which are useful to keep a track of such similar events in context, and then provide information to be used in the future for selling.
- Contact Intelligentsia: After the information gathering and initial prospecting has been done, and a engaging relationship formed with customers, the details from the interaction ought to be a very useful tool in the entire sales process. Information about preferences on product and service sales, positioning in the customer life cycle, future planning, and even willful information about event triggers, could actually be used to personalize and a more effective sales plan for customers. Tools like HubSpot’s Social Inbox, are known to be particularly effective in this regard, and could help schedule future communication and sales processes.
The entire process of social selling goes into further details, much of which can be derived from the points just mentioned. However, it would be useful to note that Social Sales in indeed the future, but traditional sales methods will be an accompaniment, crucial to the process of engaging and selling to the customer.
After engaging at a social level, other methods such as adding relevant videos and other multimedia elements, or holding events like live podcasts, or even offline events can add to the whole sales process. In fact, the right way to look at the process would be to using social media or social sales as the base for the processes to take place offline, in the customer building and engagement process.
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