What is social selling and how has this concept impacted employee’s success?

This three-part series aims to unpack the new process of developing social relationships as part of the sales process. Through this series of articles, we will also discover how social selling positively impacts employee’s and companies.

 

Part one: The origins of social selling – what, why, and where

Part two: Social selling in action – the do’s and don’t

Part three: The effect of social selling – from the buyer to the seller perspective

 

Part One: The origins of social selling – what, why, and where

Gone are the days of building rapport over the phone. The 21st century presents a notion of free information flow. If you look for information, you will most likely find it. We now know more about each other than we would share on a first date.

The internet, this double-edged sword, has revolutionized the way we communicate by introducing tools such as e-mails, instant messaging, video calling and recently chatbots/chatrooms. All of this, deeply changed the skills needed to be a success salesperson. However, since the birth of social media in 1997, the internet has unlocked a new way of communicating: social selling.

Social selling in a nutshell: What is social selling?

The new phenomenon of social selling represents a game changer in the sales process. This selling technique can be defined as the use of leveraging relationships, connections and insights, readily available on the different social media channels, to build a better pitch and create a more real experience from the seller to the buyer.

While social selling and social marketing share the same primary goal of growing the business through increased revenue, the two are different and should not be confused. The main difference relates to ownership. Social selling focuses on sales reps, rather than marketers.
However, marketers need the support of sales reps and sales reps need the support of marketers. The diagram from an article in blog!t depicts their main differences well. Gain more insights from the article here

Why Social selling?

During the purchasing process, it is key for the salesperson to find a connection with the prospect. With that in mind and the rise of social media information exchange, the opportunity for the use of social technology has assisted salespersons in creating a quicker and more successful bond with the potential client. Examples of industry social technology leaders are:

  1. Buzzsumo
  2. Social Mention
  3. Crimson Hexagon
  4. NUVI
  5. Meltwater

Side Question: Is social selling a form of stalking?

This question on its own requires an in-depth answer as point of views can differ. However, the short answer is no. Social selling is defined by taking advantage of the information made available to the public on the internet by an individual, in order to create a better and more bonding sales experience with the buyer to eventually impact the company’s results positively.

Stalking, however, is a form of harassment. It is defined as a criminal act of illegally following and watching someone over a period of time.

Where is social selling taking place?

Social selling or originally known as sales 2.0 mainly takes place via social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and online magazines/blogs. Many companies and their sales teams mine data from these social media platforms, curated the data into useful information which helps them to create a more genuine sales lead. However, smart companies take advantage of social selling to increase their return on investment, by strategically interacting and sharing relevant industry content and building brand awareness. It is key to position yourself as a principal industry thought leader.

In our second chapter of unpacking social selling, we will expand on a practical topic: the do’s and don’ts when applying this concept to your sales process. On the one hand, we will explore some of the common practices that have made the smallest sales teams thrive in a pond of corporate sharks. On the other hand, we will highlight the interesting yet easy to do mistakes, which have sales teams burning valuable bridges or constantly having to play catch-up/fix on broken relationships.