Be a goal-getter: How social selling can help you reach your goals in 2024 and beyond.
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‘Tis the season for merriment, but for many business minds, joy takes a back seat amid the holiday hustle. It’s not just the hassle of finding the right gift for the right person but also the professional pressure of budget planning. The procrastination grace period? It’s officially a thing of the past. Now is the moment to settle in, crunch those numbers, and lay the groundwork for your 2024 financial blueprint.
But what should you invest in to get the desired growth and results in 2024? Social selling should definitely be high on your to-do list, yet it’s more than a box to check off. Social Selling is a strategic powerhouse that can fuel your desired growth and results in the coming year. Yet, recognizing the need is just the beginning. How do you seamlessly integrate this still relatively new tool into your professional arsenal?
In the second article of our ReadyForSocial ROI campaign, we will give you the answers you need to successfully incorporate social selling into your marketing and enhance your content marketing and sales enablement playbook. Let’s dive right in!
Is social selling worth it?
Before delving into the nitty-gritty details, let’s address the burning question: Is social selling always worth it? In a resounding affirmation, the short answer is yes! And we’re not just throwing words; we’re backing this up with valuable insights derived from our extensive experience implementing and managing successful social selling programs since 2014. Our track record spans Fortune 500, DAX, and mid-sized companies across the US and Europe. Picture this: our longest-running social selling program has been weaving its success story since 2018, and our largest program boasts 1,000+ social sellers at a single company.
While social selling might occupy a fraction of your overall budget, its potential impact is anything but small. Executed adeptly, it can contribute incremental revenue and open doors to broader total value opportunities for your business.
Now, the million-dollar questions: How do you embark on the social selling journey? Where does the planning process commence, and what benchmarks should be etched in your strategy? These questions certainly demand attention and answers.
Like many endeavors, social selling unveils its full potential when approached with know-how. But what if time is a luxury you can’t afford to invest in becoming a social selling expert? The handy alternative is hiring a pro! This situation is precisely why we exist as a company – to guide clients, sidestepping costly mistakes and ensuring they squeeze every ounce of value from their business ventures. Because in the world of social selling, success is not just an option; it’s a strategic imperative.
Why should you consider social selling now?
Embracing social selling is not just about digitizing your business; it’s about evolving your sales force into a dynamic, digital powerhouse. The shift towards a more digital B2B buying process is undeniable, evident not only in the pulse of your own business but echoed in studies by industry leaders like Gartner, McKinsey, and more. This digital transformation isn’t merely a key player in driving sales results; it’s a game-changer in the talent landscape, too.
Consider this: New sales talent seeks assurance that they’ll be equipped with the tools needed to thrive in your company. Failing to offer a robust social selling program becomes more than a missed opportunity; it becomes a liability. While the impact may not be immediate, the foresight is crystal clear—come 2025, a social selling program will be a baseline expectation to stay competitive in your industry.
Being active and present on social media isn’t just a trend; it’s a strategic advantage. It positions you to engage effectively with prospects while providing your sales team with a powerful tool to elevate their performance.
Feeling convinced that social selling is the compass pointing to success in the future business landscape? Great! Let’s roll up our sleeves and craft a strategy that aligns with and propels your company towards the best results.
Your goals matter. Start with your ‘Why.’
While the essence of social selling revolves around salespeople leveraging their social media profiles to engage with prospects and shape their buying journey, the approaches taken by companies can vary significantly, driven by their unique objectives.
Each entity has distinct teams, aspirations, and goals in the diverse business landscape. Crafting the ideal program that seamlessly aligns with your company begins with understanding your ‘Why.’ Is your primary objective centered around building brand awareness? If so, are you targeting customers or focusing on attracting top-tier talent? Alternatively, are you seeking to amplify leads and revenue?
These pivotal questions serve as the compass guiding the creation of a robust social selling program. Before diving into the intricacies, having a crystal-clear vision of what you aim to achieve is crucial. Let’s embark on a closer examination of these essential considerations!
• Your focus is on brand awareness.
Some of our clients with this focus build a social selling program similar to a light, early-stage employee advocacy. You have motivated employees who post positive thoughts about their workplace, mixed with company highlights such as product launches or events (basically employee advocacy). When employee advocacy gets a bit more sales-y by focusing on more product-related content and your salespeople evolving into your advocates, you start crossing the line to social selling. Let’s call this “easy employee advocacy.”
• Your focus is on leads & revenue – where social selling starts.
Most of our clients aim to focus on lead generation and revenue maximization. This approach is typically considered social selling in the proper sense of the term. You engage your salespeople in sharing often pre-prepared content—a mix of original and third-party sources—to project thought leadership, start conversations in the marketplace, and build relationships with customers and prospects. Don’t forget that you can extend such a program beyond sales, but that’s material for another article.
• Your focus is on account-based sales & marketing.
Even if you already have a rigorous account-based sales and marketing approach, including various tailored campaigns and customer journeys, you can still use social selling to your advantage. Leveraging social media can enable you to get deeper into your accounts, develop new buying centers, and connect strategically with decision-makers.
What do you need to reach your social selling goals?
Now that we’ve explored the spectrum of program types, let’s delve into the critical task of determining the specific program that aligns with your business needs. Certain fundamentals are non-negotiable: a team of qualified individuals, comprehensive training, and top-tier content, all seamlessly integrated with the right technology, especially if scalability is in your sights. But how do you elevate these essentials from mere prerequisites to strategic advantages? How can each step in the process synergistically enhance the next? Join us for a closer examination of the essential components needed to propel you toward your goals:
• Easy employee advocacy.
To get started on the right foot with your easy employee advocacy program, you must identify the suitable people in your organization. What makes them the perfect match? They need to be happy about where they are, feel motivated to be (more) active on social media, and be willing to use their personal social media channels to talk positively about your company.
In B2B, LinkedIn is an excellent place to start. Depending on your target audience, you may add other networks, but focus on one first. If your team isn’t social-media-savvy, you might have to invest more time in training. But no matter how much knowledge they already have about social media, give your team basic guidelines regarding the messaging around your business.
Often, your social media advocates will create their own content to share with their networks, including topics like a typical workday or an event they are attending. Still, sharing specific content you’d like the public to know with your team can be helpful. Possible topics could feature a product launch or other company news. Making the content available through your intranet, email, or social media company page helps your team quickly share it on their personal social media profiles.
• Social selling to drive leads and revenue.
You need to get more organized to create a proper social selling program that can drive leads and revenue. Following are some of the most critical steps you need to take to tap into social selling’s full potential:
- Get buy-ins from your sales leadership and cooperation from your sales team, or at least a champion in your sales organization willing to try this out with their team.
- Train your sales team on social selling, covering the basics from how to create a compelling social selling profile to how to interact with buyers on social media.
- Provide content to help your social sellers become experts and influence buyers in their decision-making process.
- Invest in high-quality technology (content distribution or social selling tool) that makes finding and sharing content easy and efficient for your salespeople and provides you with the necessary analytics.
- Evaluate success, steer the program, and be available for the sales team for questions, motivation, and ongoing training (this is typically a resource in your marketing team or a partial resource with your vendor’s support).
• Account-based sales & marketing approach.
The steps to get the most out of your account-based sales and marketing approach look similar to creating a professional social selling program. However, this path requires a few additional action points:
- Focus on deeper integration into your systems (such as CRM).
- The system needs to be orchestrated with your other sales and marketing activities that you have in place to address these customers.
Get started with your social selling journey.
Fantastic! You’ve now grasped the fundamentals of seamlessly integrating social selling into your business to elevate your content marketing and sales enablement.
If you ponder where to kick off, which program aligns best with your goals, and how to take that inaugural step on your social selling journey, here’s our advice: Embrace social selling primarily for the incremental revenue it can unlock. As you navigate this path, perks like enhanced brand perception and increased appeal to top talent will naturally follow.
In our upcoming editions, we’ll delve into crafting a social selling program designed for success, elucidate the art of building a compelling business case, and guide you on measuring the tangible value it brings to your organization. Keep an eye out for more insights coming your way!