Cracking The Code Of Social Selling
Yesterday I braved the sweltering New York City temperatures to attend an equally heated discussion at the SiriusDecisions Social Selling Forum.
It was a great conversation. Sales and marketing personnel from ADP, Pitney Bowes and SAP, among others, shared their challenges, current initiatives and questions centered on social selling.
Jim Ninivaggi, Service Director, Sales Enablement Strategies, who led the event, noted that what we’re doing in the B2C world as consumers—like using social media and mobile to make more informed decisions — buyers also are doing in the B2B world. This is changing social selling.
The bottom line is that social is a largely untapped goldmine for not just B2B companies, but for marketing and sales reps, particularly. While many companies use social often at the top of the funnel, it also can be sued throughout the journey from cold to close — and beyond.
And as VP and Practice Director of Technology Jonathan Block noted, social media doesn’t lose effectiveness later in the buy cycle — if anything it becomes more important to other initiatives.
The group discussion was particularly interesting, as we talked about using social media to accomplish a number of different things including:
· The engagement points with B2B buyers, and how they are increasingly empowered upon their first interaction with sales.
Salespeople need to adapt to this shift, and understand directionally, what the buyer is interested in and what the buyer is interested in so they can more efficiently facilitate the discussion, and provide value that helps the buyer understand why they should continue the dialogue, and ultimately make a purchase.
· The organizational structure of social media, and how a lack of centralized ownership has led to an absence of strategy.
To the earlier point, changing sales engagement dynamics calls for a shift in the sales approach, and while most marketing sales organizations have recognized the seismic shift, many have done little to adjust.
· Applying the SiriusDecisions customer buying lifecycle framework to social strategy.
It’s critical for companies to understand the buying cycle stages, such as education, solution and vendor selection, to determine how social is used in each, as well as the most appropriate engagement resources that salespeople should be providing buyers.
· The role of social analytics and the need to provide the sales force with training on how to optimize their usage of the tools.
Social monitoring tools can effectively provide powerful market and competitive intelligence. Monitoring should be proactive (research-oriented) and reactive (defense-oriented).
· Governance & policy providing an effective social execution framework.
If you’re going to call your company social, everyone in the organization has to be “socializing,” or leveraging social media, but you can’t expect everyone to know rules without implementing formal policies to help employees leverage social effectively.
-Amanda F. Batista
Continue the social selling conversation by following the #sdforum hashtag on Twitter.