As traditional sales process changed irreversibly, social selling has become one of the main approaches that sets sales teams up for efficiency by investing time and effort in what is most likely sales reps’ favorite part of the deal – the social aspect! The combination of cold calls, sales demos and qualifying leads falls short. While they are still important, the biggest shift has happened in the buyer’s journey; nearly 70% of it is done digitally. The most significant difference between social selling and traditional sales techniques is that while the latter brings mainly short-term results, social selling focuses on building strong and close relationships. If traditional sales process is a sprint, social selling is a marathon.
What is social selling? In short, it is selling using social selling tools. It is a lead-generation technique grounded in social media. The selling part hasn’t changed radically. In general, think of it as a softer sales approach. If a sales representative is not leveraging social awareness to increase her/his results, find more clients, build her/his network, etc. this professional is losing valuable opportunities. It is about appealing to and engaging with prospects (and customers) in an online environment. Each time salespeople login to a social media network to identify new prospects, connect with them and provide value by answering questions and sharing relevant content, it will be considered social selling.
Why is social selling the way to follow? We can’t ignore the significant growth of the audience in today’s world of digital media. Undoubtedly, cold calls lost efficiency dramatically. Numerous studies point out how buyer behavior has changed during the decision-making process, that is, relying on online search to decide on either partnering up or making a purchase. According to the research firm Sirius Decisions, 67% of a buyer’s journey is done digitally. Their research shows that online searches are executives’ first course of action (just like everyone else). Most market trends affect both B2C and B2B markets. Several B2B statistics are included in the list below, as many purchases are classified in this space.
To this extent, we ought to bear in mind that while sophisticated new sales tools are on the rise, applying them in existing processes and achieving their complete implementation can be challenging. Difficulties have arisen, particularly in the areas of training, integration and obtaining full value of the investment. As our sales team can’t live without it, training and support services will eventually mature as well.
After going over these shifts caused by social media, we simply can’t help but see the incredible benefits and power of social selling. Let’s take a close look at what the statistics are telling us!
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