Disclaimer: 'Social' is first and foremost about being engaging and social. I understand and appreciate this, as everyone should...
That being said, lets talk about a less fashionable 'S-word': Sales.
In the age of engagement, quality content, and the softly-softly social media approach, 'sales', along with its friend 'selling', has almost become a dirty word. Here's an article from the camp that believes sales has no place in the social media space.
But like it or not, most businesses still have to make money. And there are ways to tap into the great potential of social media to help boost revenue, without ruining the ethos of online community.
Here are three easy techniques for sales teams to take advantage of what social networks have to offer:
Knowing everything you can about potential customers helps provide the basis for creating more finely targeted sales pitches. Assuming your marketing department has already created social media accounts for your business, you should:
Basically, anything that reflects on your business and offers you the chance to engage with people who are showing an interest.
Listen! It’s tempting to jump right in and hijack conversations, particularly when people are complaining about your brand – but that’s a customer service issue. Instead, try to gauge what the public sentiment about your business is.
After identifying people of interest, try assigning a ‘lead rating’ to categorise who needs to be contacted, and in which order.
Keep records of your findings, particularly new sales leads, in your CRM system. If your platform already has Social CRM capabilities this will be a whole lot easier.
“Success with social in the sales process depends not just on using the tools effectively, but on capturing the results and relationships for long-term benefit to the organization.”
(Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks)
Once you have identified and rated persons of interest, and gauged general attitudes towards your business:
Reach out and join existing conversations with people who have shown an interest in your business
Work the leads previously identified carefully to nurture new sales leads
Let the client drive the conversation and continue to listen more than you speak
“Rushing into social-computing initiatives without clearly defined benefits for both the company and the customer will be the biggest cause of failure.”
Never forget that these days, although it's not accurate to say that you have no control, the customer has a whole lot more than they used to.
The infographic 5 powers customers have now that they never had before illustrates this shift perfectly.
As well as joining conversations, social media offers your company chances to start new conversations too. Social media is about building relationships and two-way conversation, so your sales team should use targeted messages to:
Invite comment on topics which can further interest potential customers
Share company news regularly
Project a more human face for your business
Show that your company maintains an active social media profile, helping to increase customer trust
“Over 62% of people polled in the UK held a deep rooted cynicism towards companies and felt that companies are only interested in selling products and services but not necessarily the product or service that is right for the consumer.”
These three tips can be implemented without any additional software or delay, allowing your sales team to get started with social media immediately. However to streamline the process and make sure that nothing falls through the gaps, a Social CRM system can keep track of interactions and lead ratings to streamline social sales efforts.