What is Social Selling?
Using your digital universe to connect, build credibility and close business
Social Selling Introduction
One Sales Kickoff, right before the pandemic, I sat in the back of the room, eager to hear the next session. It was an expert on “Social Selling”, and using the digital landscape to augment your sales methodologies. Now, granted, at this point the sales force was a mix of the “old” and “new”, and most sales reps were not leveraging the social stage for anything. We were an enterprise software company, and as the speaker took the stage, the salty AEs at the back of the room had a variety of expected reactions: eye rolls, comments, instant phone retrievals and emailing. The session was some great content, and I took away a number of key items that helped set me up for success in the coming change of the world. I think the pandemic was a huge wakeup call for most: the selling motion changed. Without travel, the road warriors used to visiting customers quarterly and engaging prospects in person, were forced to shift strategies and adapt.
Customers Prefer Digital Engagement
The customer sales engagement motion has also changed. There is so much information online, and buyers are now almost at the trigger point when you get contact. They typically have 1-3 finalists in their quest for a solution, and the sales cycles are compressed and frantic (for us).
So I would argue, to stay competitive, you need to have the ability to move in parallel with the prospect on their digital journey as an organization and a sales rep, ready to engage digitally, and have the best information at your finger tips to take advantage of that first contact or touch.
What is Social Selling?
So, this begins a set of posts to discuss social or virtual selling, and how to stay ahead of the game. As always, let’s start with a definition, to all get on the same page. Below is a paraphrased LinkedIn definition of Social Selling:
In a nutshell, social selling is a strategic approach used by sellers to connect with and build relationships with prospects via social networks and through digital channels. Social selling has evolved into virtual selling in recent years driven by the pandemic, as sellers increasingly use sales technology and sales tech (rather than just social media) to connect with buyers. Social selling and virtual selling enable salespeople to develop trusted relationships, increase social credibility, and ultimately achieve their sales objectives.
Connecting with potential customers in both B2B and B2C markets has replaced outdated selling tactics as technology and communication methods continue to advance and change. Cold calling and other older sales techniques lack the convenience and personalization of social and digital selling, and consume valuable resources. Using your brand’s social media channels and the sales & marketing tech stack to actively engage and connect with prospects can help you and your organization meet your sales goals.
What’s Next in Virtual Selling?
Next post I’ll expand on the topic and go into some detailed technologies that can help us as sales people leverage technology to be a grand catalyst for sales and exceeding targets. In the meantime, if you want more, you can work on expanding your digital footprint with a Guide for Sales: Tips for LinkedIn.