Sales directors and managers across the world are coming to terms with the fact that they need to work more closely with their marketing counterparts if they want to capture leads and turn them into loyal customers.
Marketing teams have been using social media for some time, and now it’s time to get social with Sales.
There are hundreds of posts out there saying that the sales model has changed and it’s all because of social media. I disagree. My personal opinion has always been that the sales model is about meeting needs and providing solutions to problems. If you know your customers and the sorts of questions, problems or issues they have then you can help them solve those problems. Sales should never have been just about numbers and how much you can sell in a week regardless of whether your product or service was going to be of any benefit. That’s one of the reasons I stayed away from sales in a previous working life.
I remember being at a meeting where we were told that at the end of it we’d be able to sell, sell, sell and overcome any objection that comes our way. We’d be able to sell any product to anyone. Not for me! I was out of there! Anyway I digress.
What I’m saying is that for me, the sales model as such hasn’t changed. You still need to meet a need, provide a relevant solution etc. What has changed are the tools and techniques available to get to know your customers and for them to get to know about you. That’s where the internet and social media has changed the landscape.
The days of someone asking for a recommendation from just a handful of friends are gone. Yes, we all still ask our friends and family if they know someone we’re considering using, but generally, if people have a problem, they research online to find a solution. If someone is going to make a purchase, they research online before buying. If going on holiday or trying a new restaurant, people research online before they make their decision about their destination.
Here are some interesting statistics from a Selz blog.
- Last year 80% of the online population purchased online
- 84% of online shoppers refer to at least one social media before they buy
- Almost half of all social media users read reviews and blogs beofre making an online purchase
Many people will make their buying decision without ever speaking to a sales representative from a company. That means your business needs to be in the minds of people when they are researching or making their buying decision. How do you do that? By making sure you know the types of questions, problems or issues your potential customers may have and addressing those needs.
Social media and content marketing, traditionally seen as the domain of marketing, need to be used by sales teams too if they are to connect with prospective customers and clients. Surely every sales person would prefer to call a ‘warmer’ lead than a cold one? Someone who may have already seen some information about your company, what you do and how you can help. Better still, wouldn’t it be nice if when someone has a problem, rather than going to the search engines or friends, they think of coming straight to you based on the information they’ve been seeing and reading?
That’s what social can do for sales. Using tools like LinkedIn combined with content marketing and other things are great for getting your name and brand known among your target market. But social needs to be done properly. You can’t just set your sales staff up with LinkedIn profiles and set them off blasting out sales ads. You have to have strategies, systems and processes in place for it to be effective. Most of all, you have to have some means of measuring the results. As a minimum you need to:
- Have an appropriate LinkedIn profile
- Join the right groups
- Have good, relevant content to share
- Know your customers (who they are, what their issues are etc.)
- Know where your customers are (on social media)
- Have a plan
- Put measurement in place
- Have a company social media policy in place
To help you get social with Sales download our ebook ‘ 9 Steps to a Winning LinkedIn Profile for Sales Professionals’ below.
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