Over the last few decades, the advertising industry, like so many others, has become the architect of its own demise. Suspicious consumers have become immune to yesterday’s sales tactics, but advertising’s loss is the marketing sector’s gain. Today’s strategy leans heavily towards establishing intimacy and connection. It’s little wonder that social selling is one of the sharpest tools in the box. Few other media let you connect as dynamically.
Put simply, social selling is using networks like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook to build relationships, but merely using a social network does not make you a social seller. To earn that title, you must leave your old-fashioned spamming strategy in the dark ages where it belongs and learn how to engage each client personally.
Marketing Does Not Equal Sales
Ninety percent of the world’s best salespeople use social media to reach consumers. That said, if you’ve abandoned your social media marketing strategy, you’re giving your sales team little to build on. While sales team's certainly should find and nurture leads via social networks, marketers must still establish target demographics, analyze lead quality, and give sellers data to inform their efforts. Vigilant reviews of buyer behaviour are a necessity or your conversions will lag behind your ambitions. Thought leaders lead by a startling 92 percent, so social selling requires you to become an expert in your field.
When Inbound Should Be Outbound
Social selling depends on two-way relationships between users and brand representatives. The inefficiency of spam doesn’t excuse you from your outbound efforts. It merely requires you to offer outbound selling when it’s welcome. A comprehensively sketched marketing funnel with data-driven profiles and targeting will help your team to approach leads with messages that inform, entertain, or add value even if they don’t choose to buy. Today’s sellers are grassroots social media users, and to function as such, they must have access to account profiles and patterns of interest. Inbound marketing should fill in the gaps between each stage of your revenue funnel.
The Role of Influencers
Much of Amazon’s sales success can be pinned to its use of unpaid salespeople—buyers who sell on the brand’s behalf through word of mouth. Ninety percent of executives ignore cold calls, so sales teams must engage real people rather than random contacts. Personalized engagement is time consuming, but there is a shortcut: marketing influencers are only too happy to engage your buyers. All you need to do is discover which buyers have social sway and engage them enough to earn their loyalty.
Using the Right Network
Business to business sellers should not spend all their time on Pinterest, just as decorating firms shouldn’t focus on LinkedIn. Every network has a unique stable of users and features designed to engage them. Your understanding of your demographic and brand identity should inform your choice of network.
Sixty-seven percent of buyer journeys are done online. You cannot afford to leave your sales team to cope with that much potential without the guidance of a reinvented marketing strategy that suits this vibrant medium.