In the modern, digital age, social selling has emerged as an increasingly important area of focus, allowing businesses and individual employees to form more meaningful relationships with customers and significantly improve their sales performance. However, many organisations are still not making the most of social media as a sales tool.
At present, according to CSO Insights’ research, world class organisations are two years ahead of average performers when it comes to social selling implementation. In this article, we take a look at some top tips, so that you can improve your social selling strategy and catch up with the best in the field.
1. Start Immediately!
The first important point to make regarding social selling is that you need to start adopting and/or prioritising this practice as soon as possible. The best organisations have already been using social selling for several years and its rewards are becoming increasingly apparent.
In 2016, 65 percent of world class organisations were taking advantage of social selling, compared to 30 percent of all respondents. The gap between the two groups actually increased between 2013 and 2016. Back in 2013, 33 percent of world class businesses were using social media in this way, compared to 12 percent in total.
2. Implement Social Media Guidelines
It is important to understand that, when social selling is being carried out, even when your salespeople are using personal social media accounts, they are representing your business. Their conversations and the sales skills they demonstrate on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, whether positive or negative, reflect back on you.
For this reason, unless your organisation is incredibly experienced in this field, you need to implement social media guidelines, which will tell employees how to behave and things to avoid. The CSO Insights 2016 Sales Best Practices Study found that 71 percent of world class organisations have successfully implemented such guidelines.
3. Target Your Content Directly
One of the best ways to improve social sales performance is to adopt a carefully planned approach to sharing content. Rather than firing out content left, right and centre, with little consideration for its audience, try to target specific pieces of content towards the specific individuals or organisations it is most relevant to.
“You’d be surprised at how many people just publish, inconsistently, and don’t have a direction for their content,” says Richard Young, in an interview with Adaptive Business Services. “When writing content I’m thinking about a specific organization or person. I’ll then use that content as an introduction point or to stay in touch.”
4. Integrate Social Selling Training
In the CSO Insights Sales Enablement Optimization Study, social selling training was found to be ineffective in many organisations and it was ranked as the training service with the greatest need for major redesign. In total, 64 percent said either their social selling training was in need of improvement or full-scale redesign.
Part of the problem is a tendency to treat social selling training as an add-on, once other sales skills are developed. In reality, social selling training needs to be much more integrated than this, and it is essential that social selling is not relegated to being supplementary Facebook or Twitter tool training.
Social media is now so important to businesses, but its uses extend beyond customer service and into the field of sales and B2B relationship building. By adopting a social selling strategy, issuing clear guidelines, integrating social selling training and targeting content more strategically, you can vastly improve results.
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