by Heidi Schwende, Featured Contributor
Using social media to align and integrate sales and marketing and improve your bottom line! Social selling…
NOBODY WOULD argue that marketing is an exact science. Okay some people might, but certainly not anybody who is successful because they’d know that marketing is a constantly evolving endeavour. What works now may not be as effective in the future – something that’s even more true in the world of digital marketing. So why is it, then, that selling – the end goal of marketing – is often restricted by a rigid set of rules that hinder any sort of natural development? The notion that the best way to sell is to sit at a desk reciting the same phone script over and over all day long is becoming increasingly archaic, yet the resistance to any change in this drab routine remains strong.
Another reason that sales teams might be stuck in a rut is the fact that within many companies, the sales force and marketing department are at war with each other. Despite being on the same ‘team’ and ultimately trying to accomplish equal parts of a shared goal, sales and marketing teams often feud. Whether it’s over splitting budget, price setting, or taking on tasks one side believes the other should be doing, the friction throws both divisions off their game. When things don’t go well, the relationship sometimes devolves into sales and marketing blaming each other for not doing a good enough job with their respective tasks.
At the end of the day, sales and marketing teams need to get on the same page. Selling, like marketing, would benefit from adapting along with consumers. Because whether you’re in sales or marketing, it’s not about what you want, it’s about what, where and how your customers wants to be sold on a purchase. If marketing is creating materials and framing the company brand in one way but the sales team is pursuing leads in a completely different manner than marketing intended, what do you think is going to happen? Nothing good, that’s for sure.
Using Social Media to Align and Integrate
One of the great things about social media once you get the hang of it is that it’s an escape from the mundane. For small businesses, social selling is an easy choice as it’s often the same people responsible for sales and marketing. But for those who are strictly part of a sales force, social media can be enjoyable, too. After all, social media platforms are essentially giant, perpetually running conferences; salespeople don’t usually miss an opportunity to network at a conference, so why is this any different?
Another reason that social selling is a good option for companies is its ability to bridge the gap between sales and marketing departments. Since it’s an area where marketing will be active, if sales teams are open to the idea of selling on social media, they’ll also become more aligned with marketing’s overall strategy (which can only be a good thing). Content marketing and social media engagement are an integral part of marketing strategies in 2014, so the more involved and aware sales teams are about these processes, the smoother the transition will ultimately be.
If you’re a bigger company, this is an area where it’d be a significant help if your sales and marketing teams could work together. Essentially, if these two departments are already aligned and integrated, this step will most likely already be complete! If your marketing team is on the ball, they’ll have fully developed personas and thus, content targeted at advancing each of these types of people along the buying funnel. By the same token, if the sales force is following along with the marketing process, they’ll have a full understanding of the various customer types and their challenges, requirements and questions.
A small business is probably going to have its hands full creating a full slate of targeted content for customers, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to publish material. Companies with a blog generate 67% more leads per month so if you need help to get it done, it’s going to be worth your while.
Two perspectives are better than one.
It goes without saying that if sales and marketing teams can truly work together in complete harmony, your company is going to achieve a very high level of success. Instead of the buying funnel being broken down into two areas of responsibility – sales does this and marketing does that.
As you’ll see , the path to mastering the art to social selling depends on the strength of the relationship between sales and marketing teams.
Here are the 5 steps to mastering the art of social media and social selling:
- Find and identify your market: Develop personas because all your customers are different.
- Gather Information: A little listening goes a long way.
- Create the Content Your Audience Is Looking For: Where sales and marketing intersect.
- Become An Authoritative Thought Leader: Be as helpful and insightful as you can.
- Measure and Analyze: Track engagement to gauge success.
And here are 5 Key Points to remember:
1. How to Find and Identify Your Target Market
- Develop specific personas for each of your customer types
- Determine where your customers are most active on social media
2. How to Gather Information
- Listen more than you speak, at least initially
- Build as many relationships as you can
3. How to Create the Content Your Audience Is Looking For
- Get your sales and marketing teams on the same page
- Align and integrate content marketing with social selling
4. How to Become An Authoritative Thought Leader
- Always be helpful and provide value, no matter what
- Keep creating and publishing interesting content
5. How to Measure and Analyze
- Track and monitor to gauge success
- Analyze results to measure quality of leads