• Aleksander Mitrovic

Social Selling - Influence the customer's buying journey


Social Selling customer journey

There is a tense silence in the office. All sales representatives are sitting at their desks, staring at their monitors and typing with concentration on the keyboard. The sales manager walks through the rows with a smile, looks into the CRM system and is satisfied that none of the colleagues have any appointments today and are not on the road. He leans back contentedly in his chair and is happy that his new strategy is working. Sounds strange? At first glance: yes. It may seem even stranger when you see what the sales reps are doing at your desks: they revise their profiles on social networks, create blog entries, comment on posts, and prepare their own posts and tweets.



Change in the decision-making process


However, if you take into account that the information and decision-making behavior of customers has changed radically in recent years, the behavior makes sense. Customers cover around 60% of their decision-making process before they even speak to a sales representative from a potential supplier. Google calls this phase before the first contact "Zero Moment of Truth" (ZMOT).


In these 60%, they use all kinds of Internet sources to find out about possible solutions and approaches to acute problems. Discussions on social networks play a crucial role in this. Around three quarters of buyers look for information in their own newsgroups (for example on LinkedIn) and nine out of ten decision-makers start their decision-making process on the Internet.



Customers cover 60% of their decision-making process before speaking to a salesperson.



Whereas in the past salespeople were often able to directly influence the customer's first decision-making phases, their options are limited today at first glance. It is important to position your company as relevant in the ZMOT. This is where social selling comes into play. But it's not about using platforms like LinkedIn to write to potential contacts now instead of calling them. Then there will be no applause from the customer and social selling will fail.



What is really important in social selling? Basically, these 4 levels must be observed:


  • Position the “I” brand

  • Find the right contacts

  • Approach the contacts with solutions and expertise

  • Build strong, resilient relationships




Social Selling funnel




Position the “I” brand


First of all, a meaningful and sales-relevant profile should be created. In many cases, however, profiles look more like a résumé and are ideally suited as a basis for a job application. They hardly provide any tangible benefit for potential customers. Chances of positioning yourself as an expert through your profile are largely unused. Before starting the first postings and discussion contributions, you should first become a member of relevant groups and, above all, “listen”.



Find the right contacts


The right contacts must be identified and selected based on the respective market development strategy. One contact per company is often not enough. According to the Gartner Group, 7 people are usually involved in decision-making processes in companies (size: 100 - 500 employees). There are enormous opportunities here for social selling: To quickly obtain transparency about the possible decision-making structure of the customer via the social networks.



Approach the contacts with solutions and expertise


The power of social selling can then develop fully, if not haphazardly information, digital image brochures or similar. to be posted to the contacts. The good social seller, analyzes the contact persons, understands their challenges and then places valuable information precisely. He uses a combination of e-mail, in-mail and telephone. In order for this to work successfully and, above all, in the long term, close cooperation with marketing and possibly other areas is essential. Marketing must prepare exciting articles, posts, reports, etc. for sales and thus ensure sufficient material that the individual sales employees can use. Conversely, sales must feed the relevant topics back to marketing.



The good social seller analyzes the contact persons, understands their challenges and then places valuable information precisely



Build strong resilient relationships


Only those who maintain their network and stay in regular contact will be remembered and continue to plant themselves as experts in the customer's “relevant set”. Of course, not every post or comment will come across a needs situation with the customer and generate business. That is why perseverance is also important when it comes to social selling, and persistence pays off here too.




Is your own organization fit for social selling?


Social selling is very likely to fail if left to the creativity and willingness of each individual. Like any other sales strategy, social selling also needs the necessary framework conditions to get started. “Social Selling Days” - as described at the beginning of the article - should not be uncommon, but should of course be part of the sales force's activity planning. Key figures on the number of contacts, “likes” in postings and comments, tweets, etc. must be integrated into the company's key figure system.


The following test points help to determine to what extent your own organization is fit for successful social selling:

  • The company has a social selling strategy

  • Sales know how successful social selling should be

  • The company has KPI's to measure social selling activities

  • Other departments (especially marketing) are familiar with the social selling strategy and know how to provide optimal support

  • The sales executives coach their employees' social selling

  • Social selling is part of the regular performance reviews

  • Social selling is discussed at sales meetings


You often hear that customers are not yet ready for social selling, are not even represented in the networks or do not want to. Certainly the generation of baby boomers or Generation X as “digital immigrants” still find it difficult to distance themselves from the classic approaches and to immerse themselves in the unknown world. Such "alternative facts" are quickly sought to justify their own rigidity. But in times when 95% of decision-makers ignore classic "cold calls" and 75% of buyers prefer virtual contact, you should get involved in new approaches and increase your social selling index. Social Selling Index? Yes, there is; google it. PS: Google was only founded 20 years ago.



Do you know your sales force's social selling index?



We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Book a call with us now.

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