Aligning sales and marketing in social selling.

During my recent speech at the Social Selling Conference, held at Warsaw Sheraton by Harvard Business Review Polska I was talking about how to synchronise both sales and marketing in order to achieve even double digit growth through social selling.

It is no longer a surprise to anybody that most of our customers, whether individual or business clients, spend a great deal of their customer journey in the internet.

What may be surprising is the scale and depth of this phenomenon. Nowadays even micro-decisions are search based. The new customer is self-educated and demanding. He wants a best in class solution of his problem and he wants it now.

In the traditional model of sales this may appear as a problem. But in social selling this is a huge opportunity for companies to be where their clients are and to assist them in their buying processes.

The key to successful social selling is the shift in our sales and marketing mindset. Instead of focusing on the advantages of our products we have to engage in dialogue with our Clients: be active on LinkedIN, Twitter, Facebook. Post relevant content, engage in conversations, be genuinely helpful, without clear intent of “pushing” the deal now.

As a reward, we will get loyal followers, who subsequently may turn into buyers. Which is also my personal case.

Overwhelmed by the possibilities of social media we often tend to overlook the fact that as much as we cannot push our Clients to buy, we still need to be efficient and generate leads.

Can social media be scalable then? Under certain conditions – yes.

To achieve it we have to be aware that there are different sources of leads and that these sources usually imply different characteristics of leads in terms of their scalability, urgency of need and probability to close the deal.

By consciously monitoring these sources we can establish our own optimal formula for lead generation and set our priorities for social selling possibilities.

Good news for all those who begin they journey with social selling is that it is manageable, once we have in place all crucial elements. The key pillars for a successful social selling plan are: good knowledge of our target clients, well described Buying Personas, well analysed Customer Journey, well defined monitoring of our activities.

What we need to do then is to divide the tasks between marketing and sales in order to optimally execute the plan. The marketing team delivers the fuel – content, articles, webinars, video. The sales team uses then the fuel to ignite the contact with potential buyers.

What both teams should always remember is that social selling is not about closing the deal, but as Perry van Beek said, “it is about opening the deal”.