If you haven’t figured out why it is so important to get your business-to-business sales team involved with social selling yet, you probably have not been reading my blog page. But even if you are not concerned with the long term relevance and viability of your sales force, there is one huge reason you should be paying attention to this trend: your customers.
My Fortune 100 chief buyer said it all when she told me she was going to do business with the companies that make it easiest to do business with. Ease of buying was her number one reason to purchase. It trumped price and features! Here’s how social selling makes buying easier:
1. Enough with the emails and voice mails. Ask anyone holding a budget or in a purchasing department and they will tell you that vendors have ruined their ability to communicate with anyone. Their inboxes are so full of ‘opportunities to meet and learn more about each other’ that they cannot find legitimate messages from colleagues to discuss a current project. Even if the messages are well-meaning, they are still deleted because there is too much to absorb. The messages all blend together in importance and that importance is low.
Now consider how social selling saves the same buyer time. Content is placed into social channels where the buyer looks for ideas and information anyway. The sales force effectively joins the chorus of sources that the buyer uses already to make decisions.
2. Can you make this relevant for me, please? Clients are looking for help and ideas. Now that you are speaking to channels they can actually monitor, you can assist them with your ideas. This is especially true if your ideas are written in their language and address their problems. If your content starts with an understanding of the problems that not only their industry faces, but also that they face each day in their roles, you can make a difference. Too much content misses either one or both of these marks. It is not interesting to buyers and definitely does not help them improve their businesses with new technologies. You can actually stand out by being helpful.
So, what is at stake here? Social channels have become the de facto way for buyers to learn more about the market and how it can help them. Using social selling simply acknowledges this fact and places the needed information at the fingertips of the people who can benefit from it most: your customers. They will thank you for using this approach by including your ideas in their RFP’s and coming to you with specific and meaningful questions and reasons to meet. In fact, you will start to wonder why you weren’t taking care of your customers in this manner all along.
If you are all ready using these tactics, how has helped your customers? Do you notice you have a different relationship? What possible reasons are there for staying the course with old-school emails and voicemails?