Social Selling

Say hello to Social Selling. Selling has evolved over the past few decades. Many sales professionals believe that the new way to sell is Social Selling. If you look around, most of your friends, colleagues, family members, entrepreneurs, VC’s and not to miss your potential customers are on various social networks. Social networks can be easily used to establish trust, thought leadership, market know-how.

Social selling is no longer an option but a go-to strategy. If done right, it can help you to build trust for your brand, company, establish credibility, hire great talent and get customers.

An article in Gartner says

Digital CRM technologies that drive growth and elevate the customer experience top the list of CEOs’ priorities for the next five years. Data and analytics tools that facilitate consistent, contextual interactions across all communications channels help provide market differentiation.” — Gartner

The Cold Sales Era
Sales has traditionally been social. Earlier people used to get references before they bought products, references from family, friends, neighbors. If the product was good, reference was passed on, if the product didn’t live up to the expectations, possibly send a snail mail to the manufacturers. There was no “fast” feedback loop.

This was the era when Sales people used to

  • Cold Call
  • Cold emails
  • Solution Selling
  • Separate Sales and Marketing
    Cold Calls and Cold emails are back in the cold storage. Most people don’t pick up calls unless they know who is calling. Cold emails mostly go to one’s SPAM folder or even if lands in the inbox <5% get a response.

Era of Social Selling
Social Selling has have a huge impact on speed of sales because potential customers have access to online reviews, social feedback, tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest. Though the speed of sales have increased, the same has also impacted the feedback loop. If people don’t like the product they don’t hesitate to voice it out on Social Networks, write emails. Many brands have used this as a marketing tool with quick response to agitated customers and this works well for both the brands and customers.

  • Social Selling
  • Engaging Conversations
  • Team Play
  • Challenge Selling
    The new sales playbook, requires social selling with engaging conversations and selling as a team.

Social Selling

“Social selling is the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process. Today this often takes place via social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, but can take place either online or offline.” — Wikipedia

In Social Selling, your Social network becomes your pipeline. The more you network on Social platforms, stronger is your relationship and bigger is your pipeline. Successful Sales Professionals, share problems and solutions on Social networks and engage with industry leaders.

We just covered WHY we need to be Social.

How can you achieve the same?

  • Find the people you want to engage with on Google/ LinkedIn/ Facebook/ Twitter.
  • Most people have already built their networks on Google/ LinkedIn/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Phone book. How do you make that work for you?
  • Set Google Alerts for companies you wish to follow to stay on top of it.
  • Interact Regularly. Out of sight is out of mind. How do you know when was the last time you interacted (unless of course you maintain a XLS sheet)
  • Be authentic. People are smart and see through you. By being authentic you get authentic people who follow up and help you engage better.
    At Relatas, we help busy sales professionals
  1. Engage better with their already exiting Social networks.
  2. Have engaging conversations with your contacts based on what they are saying.
  3. Get Social Intelligence from Social Noise. Select which contacts’ social feeds you wish to see.
  4. Relatas brings all your interactions on a single platform and tells you when you are losing touch so that you don’t.

Engaging Conversations
You can sell better if you engage better. No one wants to be sold to, they want engaging conversations. People like it when they have engaging conversations which lead to sales. Take the example of a car dealer, he knows you are not going to buy the car when you reach the dealership the first time. He starts to engage with you and starts to build a relationship so that he can educate you better. Once engaged, selling becomes a lot easier as you are not trying to directly sell but provide a solution through intelligent conversation.

Social Selling — Build the relationship

You can only have engaging conversations if you know about your prospect.

  • How do you know your prospect better?
  • What is the person saying, what is his profile like?
  • When did you last engage with your contact?
  • How often do you engage with your contacts?
  • Are you engaging with your prospects/ customers on the right platform?
  • Have anyone in your team interacted with anyone in that company?
  • Have you interacted with them in the past? When did you drop the ball?
    In the new age of Social Selling, the sales professionals start engaging with their prospects on Social Networks. As the opportunity takes shape the engagement slowly moves from Social Networks to traditional emails/ calls for confidential data exchange. That doesn’t mean that the social engagement takes a back seat; successful sales people keep the engagement on Social networks alive.

One of the things is to be authentic. You can get many twitter followers but will they engage with you. If you are authentic, people will follow you for who you are and will listen to you.

You have already built your network on Google/ LinkedIn/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Phone book. How do you make that work for you in the new era? At Relatas,we help busy professionals engage better with their already exiting Social networks.

Relatas helps you to have engaging conversations with your contacts based on what they are saying
Relatas also helps you understand who within your team or organization has interacted with the contact or anyone else in that organization
Relatas tracks your interactions to let you know how often you are engaging
Relatas helps you have engaging conversations with the contact by providing right insights at the right time

Team Play
According to a recent study there are an average of 5.4 buyers / deal. Decisions are taken collaboratively. If it was difficult to sell to one individual earlier, it became more difficult now. Thats when selling as a team also plays an instrumental role. The divide between sales and marketing is diminishing very fast. In the new era, the whole organization becomes your sales team, everyone contributes in one way or the other.

As mentioned in Part I, of this 4 part series, you and your team engages with the customer on various platforms.

  • How do you keep track of
  • Who interacted when?
  • When was your last conversation with anyone in that company?
  • Which team member had the last conversation with the company?
  • Has the proposal been sent?
  • Has the follow up happened?
    When selling as a team, as a sales leader you need to be on top to make sure the ball doesn’t get dropped at any point. At Relatas, we help you and your team make sure that the ball never drops.

Relatas tracks your team’s conversations to let you know
Relatas lets you know which contact/ customer is falling off radar
Relatas tracks your tasks with your team members

Challenge Selling
This is the final part in my 4 part series. The Sales Champions have a deep understanding of the prospect and their business and are capable of challenging the right person. They are capable of showcasing contrasting views to the decision makers and influencers. This only works if one has the right inputs/ data about the contact and the company one is selling to.

One needs to understand that “Challenge Sale” is not hard sell or challenging the customer on everything. It’s about challenging a concept/ idea/ need. Challenger educates the customer. Its not about features and benefits but more about value proposition and insights. Bringing more ideas on the table on what their competitors are doing or what could save them money or make them grow faster. There are high chances that you might not make the sale, but equally high is the probability that the customer starts respecting you for your thoughts and that you are not another “yes man”.

How to challenge?
Challenging is not about being aggressive but being assertive.

  • Research on the prospect
  • Know what they are saying on Social media
  • Follow blogs — Understand what the person is saying and the thought process
  • Challenge the idea and not the person
  • Have data to back your claims
    In some ways Challenge Selling contradicts the basics on Relationship building or Social Sales, but that’s not how it should be looked at. You can build the relationship by being assertive and challenging. When both Challenger and Relationship builder come together, that’s when we start winning.