The increasing popularity of social media websites is not only changing the way we socialise with friends and family it’s also changing the way customers research, compare and inform their buying decisions.
This applies to both B2C and B2B sales and rather than seeing this trend as a threat, sales managers should see it as an opportunity to build relationships with your target customers.
What is social selling?
Social selling is the use of social media channels and web technology to enable you to understand your target customers’ needs and then to deliver insight and value to your buyer’s sphere of influence when making buying decisions.
Here are five key steps to use the power of social selling to win new business:
1. Identify Your Targeted Buyers’ Persona
Any professional sales process includes developing relationships. The first step to a good social selling plan is to identify key characteristics of your target customers and developing personas so you can understand how active they are likely to be on social media and which channels they use.
2. Intelligence is Key
Creating a strategy to listen and gather relevant intelligence, such as understanding your customers’ challenges and requirements, is critical to making a successful online connection and ultimately in being considered part of your customers’ sphere of influence during their buying process.
3. Establish a Content Marketing Plan
Now you understand your customer better, your goal is to reach out to target customers – nor “selling” but sharing quality targeted content to build and strengthen relationships. Some of this will be your own content, and you can also share things which you think would interest your target customers. Look out for our video about content marketing, coming soon.
4. Become a Trusted Authority
This doesn’t happen overnight. Set aside regular “social media time” to develop your sphere of influence and become a trusted source of information for your target audience. This is achieved by being active on the social media platforms your customer personas tend to use, putting useful information out there and being consistently helpful, approachable and engaging in conversation.
5. Monitor and Improve
Use tracking technologies to monitor the level of engagement with you and your content. Is it being liked or shared? Are your contacts increasing? Have you generated any leads?
Whilst many SME’s are starting to use social media, they don’t necessarily view it as a key part of their sales process. It can be, and a well-constructed social selling plan, which proactively helps customers through their buying journey will increase your chances of making sales. Forget cold calling – this is the “new” way of selling in today’s digital age!
If you would like to learn how to add social selling techniques to your business, please get in touch, or post a question below.