“Social Selling”: What Sales Can Learn from Marketing

“Social Selling”: What Sales Can Learn from Marketing

One of the main separators between sales and marketing is the medium through which each profession operates. However, that’s starting to change in modern business best practices. Encouraging a more collaborative approach between your sales and marketing teams can greatly improve your overall marketing efforts.

Once you’ve moved beyond the notion that one department is better than the other, you can shift your focus towards how each team can enhance the performance and success of the other. When you start thinking collaboratively, you will quickly find that both departments have a lot to offer the other.

One aspect of marketing where sales and marketing can come together is social media. Whether your company is B2B or B2C, nearly every decision maker has a social media account. This means that these free platforms are filled with nearly every one of your leads. If you’re keeping up with the times, you’re likely already active on social media. However, social media experts aren’t necessarily comfortable selling. Likewise, many sales people aren’t up-to-date on the latest social media trends and best practices.

This need for a collaboration between social experts and sales professionals created the new sales approach of social selling. The combination of creating an engaging sales dialogue on a platform filled with leads is a win-win. In fact, it’s reported that over 90% of the top-performing salespeople globally are using social media to get ahead. So, what exactly is social selling and how can you implement it into your overall marketing and sales initiatives?

What is social selling?

Simply put, social selling is when salespeople prospect for and/or engage with leads on a social media platform. This differs from social media marketing in that it is directly linked to gathering new leads and interacting with these leads with the goal of ushering them along the buying process.

For some companies, this could just be searching for relevant prospects on LinkedIn and sending them a direct message with a quick pitch. For companies with robust social selling campaigns, it would look a bit more like this:

  • It would occur on all social platforms
  • Social listening (actively searching for mentions of your brand/products/services on social media)
  • Guerilla efforts that attract disgruntled consumers of your competitors (ie: “Wow, we would never do anything like that! Here’s what we would do that’s better.”)
  • Reacting to industry relevant news in real-time (where appropriate to bring sales into the conversation)
  • Targeted outreach to ideal customers

Where can social selling occur?

If you’re operating a B2B business, the obvious answer will likely be LinkedIn. For consumer focused brands, it could be either of the major 3 platforms (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). The better you understand your audience, the more direct your social selling strategy will be.

What is more likely, is that once sales personnel are familiar with social selling best practices, they will utilize a combination of social listening and targeted engagement to spot the right moments for reaching out. This could occur while a salesperson is at work, or at night during their personal social media use. The beauty of social selling is that it feels organic, so there’s never a wrong place or time for it to occur, as long as the salesperson is authentically trying to help the people they are engaging with.

How should sales professionals navigate the social media world?

Well, a great place to start is your own marketing department. Within this department you’ll find social media experts, branding experts, copywriters and an analytics team that understands your company’s social audience and voice. You can gain valuable insights into how you can merge social media best practices with your sales knowledge to help engage social media users as leads and push them through your sales funnel effectively.

Generally, engaging on social media is an authentic dialogue that is more casual than a networking event or meeting (depending on your brand voice). It’s an opportunity to relate with your audience and show a little bit more personality than you would on your website. Conversations are short and punchy. If you’re having a direct conversation, try not to take more than a few minutes to respond in order to prevent the lead from losing interest. If you are responding to a mention, piece of industry news or a competitor, try to respond within a few hours of the initial post, otherwise you run the risk of getting lost in the void.

What are some other ways you can improve collaboration within your organization? We often find that even the most collaborative businesses struggle managing the logistics and information transfer of events and travel. That’s something our platform addresses by providing a unified hub for everything event and travel related. Find out more on our features page.


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