Sales Marketing Alignment

True Social Selling

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Years ago a successful sales representative knew how to optimize their time by ‘reading’ their prospects.  A quick phone call would be made to colder opportunities, while a day would be spent golfing with a good bet.  The key to the salesperson’s success was interpreting the signals of their prospect, allowing them to focus their time when it was needed most, at pivotal moments during the buying process with those most likely to buy. 

But then things changed, as buyers started to research their purchases online, preventing the sales rep from deciphering the buyer’s intention from their physical actions.  So sales professionals reacted, spending their time pouring over online data, trying to understand what made a good buyer.   Because it was difficult to tell which online behaviors were part of the buyer’s decision path, sales couldn’t just focus their energy where there would be the biggest payoff.  And when they did reach the buyer, it was often after they had made much of their decision, leaving the sales rep to negotiate price and mail out a contract.  Marketing tried to help by scoring leads and only passing the ones that met certain criteria, but this still meant a heavy burden for sales, who had to look through pages of online data for the leads that were given to them. 

Sales is now ready to take back some of the control, with the evolution of social selling.   Social selling is the use of web 2.0 technologies merged with traditional sale strategies, enabling sales to prioritize their time again, and help serve as experts in the product selection process instead of just serving as negotiators.  But there are many misconceptions about its use. 

Misconception of Social Selling

True Social Selling

Sales is notified when leads visit your site

Sales is notified when a qualified lead does something interesting on your website

Sales can view a list of all of their leads in their CRM

Sales can sort their leads in their CRM by priority, allowing them to contact leads when they need the most attention

Sales can see all the companies that visit your website

Sales can see the companies in their territory that visit your website, and can access and import key contacts at those organizations into their CRM

Sales must go to multiple websites to find contact information

Sales can access Jigsaw, Demandbase, & LinkedIn directly through the tools they are already using

Sales must learn to go through all their lead’s web activity and email activity to identify the best leads and to figure out when to make contact

Sales is alerted when leads participate in interesting activities that indicate they are a hot prospect

Sales must learn to use new email tools inside their CRM or other external tools requiring training

Sales can use Outlook to reach prospects, and data is sent to their CRM, with enhanced information about opens and click-throughs

Email templates are kept in the CRM

Email templates are accessed  in Outlook

Sales must sit in front of their computer watching for interesting online body language from prospects

Sales can subscribe to receive Facebook style status updates for the prospects, companies, and actions they think are most important, allowing them to work on the go without missing an opportunity

Marketing tells sales when they need to work with a prospect

Marketing passes leads to sales, and, if needed, sales passes leads that need nurturing back to marketing

Sales must spend hours looking through information in multiple systems to understand what is going on with a prospect

Sales can use RSS to send all the different types of prospect information into one system, saving them time and effort

 

While sales may not go back to days on the golf course, with social selling they are able to go back to prioritizing their time, focusing on the qualified leads that will be the biggest sales earlier in the buying process.  This will not only cause for increased success, but increased margins and shorter sales cycles, making their contributions evident to the entire organization.