Evolution of Sales Methodologies & Social selling:
Starting from the concept of barter system that dates back to 6000 BC to the invention of currency, it brilliantly puts forth how one thing led to the invention of other. Form of persuasive selling evolved over the due course of time. From Barter system to product selling, from seven steps of selling to the AIDA framework, sales methodologies have evolved in order to adapt with the way buyers are buying. In 1937, Dale Carnegie’s self-help book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” became a rage and evoked many ideas which formed the bedrock of traditional selling throughout the 20th century With the changing technology and scenario, sales methodologies have been revised, recreated and reinvented over the years. Mainstream sales methodologies began to appear in the late 1970’s when technology was making its way into businesses. However, the real foundation of modern sales methodologies was pioneered in 1968 by Xerox. Xerox employees underwent a training to understand the real value of a winning experience by understanding the customers’ viewpoint and purchase decision. Model of feature, advantages & benefits (FAB) and unique selling proposition (USP) became a part of sales tactics in 70s.
The year 1988 saw the rise of SPIN model, which was used by sales professionals to improve the selling opportunity with the prospective customer. It focused on tactics to be employed that transforms a reluctant buyer to a willing buyer. Value Selling joined the league which focused on creating value of the product in the eyes of consumer even if it is expensive. The chapter further narrates the evolution of Challenger Sales methodology where the salespersons were not only entrusted to build relationships and win customer loyalty, but challenge them and make them acquire the offered product.
By the 90s, the World Wide Web had taken over the charge of bringing in evolutional changes.The new era of selling is digital and leverages social and digital channel to enable selling. The concept is knows as social selling that has transformed the sales methodologies of modern trade. Social Selling gives individuals an opportunity to tap and manage social media channels with the help of best social media tools to interact with prospects, answer the questions they may have and offer useful and insightful content until the prospect is ready to buy the product or the service.
Here is an infographic which explains how the social selling practice evolved:
What is social selling?
Social selling is all about networking and engaging with people - a process which starts with understanding your target audience and then conversing with them. It is not a replacement of the traditional ways of selling but leveraging digital and social media for selling. These conversations provide an opportunity to build relationships and effectively convert prospects into clients on social media; so that it may lead to conversations, networking and ultimately help you generate leads.
According to The Aberdeen Group’s report, published in Feb 2013, sales professionals who use social selling help best-in-class companies achieve a 16 percent gain in year-over-year revenue. That’s four times better than at typical companies.
Why is social selling important?
Today, savvy buyers are turning to digital & social media to find resources, and to look for influencers with whom they can interact. Through social networks, salespeople connect with prospects and offer them a platform to share content. The future of sales is a digital and social one, and those who do not adapt are at a competitive disadvantage.
That’s because today, 81% of prospects use communities and blogs to learn more about topics of their interest. 74% of decision makers use LinkedIn and 42% use Twitter. It’s in the space between the quantity and quality of information that social selling can give you a tremendous advantage.
According to data from LinkedIn, sales professionals who use SM for social selling are 51% more likely to exceed their sales quota than sales professionals who don’t use SM for social selling. Sales professionals who use SM for social selling are 3X more likely to crush their sales quota for the year than any other sales rep.
Major IT firms in the world have implemented social selling with great success. Oracle has trained its entire staff of 23,000 sales leaders in social selling, and, IBM reported a 400% increase in sales in the first quarter tied to its social selling pilot program.
What are the Habits of Highly Effective Social Sellers?
According to an independent research, it was discovered that about 75% of salespeople who frequently used social selling as a part of their sales method performed better than their sales peers and also exceeded the quota 25% more often than others. Giants like IBM attributed five times increase in their sales directly to social selling programs that they employed.
Following are the 5 habits to enable effective social sellers:
1. Sharpen your identification as a professional or a brand
This is not something you'll do on a daily basis, however if you would like to be an efficient social seller you would need to invest your time to ensure that your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other profiles are up to scratch and are robust representatives of your professional brand. You can read more on how to do that in the new Social selling book on Amazon: you are the key – Unlocking doors to social selling by Gaurav Kakkar and Apurva Chamaria.
2. Share pertinent content
Between the hours of 7am – 9am and 4pm – 6pm is statistically the best time to share content on social media. Effective social sellers share relevant content with their network on a regular basis. Ensure that you are following a couple of good channels, influencers, and publications. Pulse, on LinkedIn pushes relevant news on to your home page – where you'll be able to select which articles to share.
3. Stop procrastinating
Effective social sellers use their time effectively and understand specifically who they have to speak to and the best way to approach them.
4. Build confidence over time
Part of building trust is first of all making certain that your profile represents you as a competent sales professional. However, it takes quite an excellent profile to build trust. Sharing relevant data is essentially a key component, however, what extremely helps is investing your network for warm introductions. An independent research found around 85% of B2B decisions begin with a referral! To actually build trust consider how you’re connected. Rather than reaching out cold to an opportunity, it is actually worth requesting a shared association or workmate for an introduction.
5. Follow up
You shouldn’t just ask for an introduction or send a customized InMail and expect the magic to happen (although in due course it may). Keep checking “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section on LinkedIn when you’ve reached out to a colleague for an introduction or have sent an InMail directly. Ensure that you are aware if your prospect sneaked a peek at your LinkedIn profile - this could be a trigger to follow up with them. Once you have got to interact along with your potential prospect, it’s worth sending a customized connection request.
Are there any tools which can be leveraged for it?
Social selling tools space is very crowded and one should be very careful while selecting the tools. Among the various tools, our favorite include:
· LinkedIn Sales navigator
Please visit the social selling tools for more details.
While the above tools can be used by an individual, at the enterprise level one can use LinkedIn Social selling index measurement to track the progress of enterprise in the social selling space.
Are there any kick starters which can be leveraged for it?
5 ways to kick start your social selling journey:
Hardly a moment passes by when we are not suggested to follow someone on Twitter or like a page on Facebook. The escalation of social has reached vast proportion. With this hyper-awareness comes a certain sense of urgency for most entrepreneurs to have the presence of their businesses on social media.
However, this urgency and desire to be present on social media is irrelevant until complemented with appropriate tactics and being more than just being present on social platforms. One way to do this is using social media to bolster revenue growth, particularly through a tactic known as "social selling."
The behavior of the consumers is drastically changing with the evolution of the internet and social media. They are now actively seeking out data on the internet before making a decision instead of conventionally relying on just a single medium for gaining information – the traditional salesperson.
Approximately 33% of the population on the planet is present on the social media. Statistically, a typical consumer looks at 10 different pieces of content on average before making a purchase decision. Also, it has been observed that the people are more likely to make a positive purchasing decision if they have been recommended by their peers for the particular product or service.
This should be sufficient to elucidate why having a proper social selling strategy in place is vital. Here are a few tips to help you kick start your social selling journey:
- Ensure that you introduce your sales team to the premise of social selling. Have them spend time in extracting useful data and information to understand how and why social media would be useful to connect to the potential buyers better and eventually lead them to success.
- Being consistent is a key to spark an image about your brand and keeping it ignited. Consistency in the frequency of posts, in the brand guidelines, messaging tone etc. are likely to gradually elicit a greater response from the audience. It is plausible that the response will not be 100%. Notice how seeing blue, green, red and yellow together reminds immediately of Google and Microsoft? With so much information out there, if you can persistently deliver solid content which reflects your brand then you will be front of mind when buying decisions are being made.
- Having your ear to the ground is crucial. Keep a watch out for content that’s helpful for your consumers. Typically, the content ought to be on topic and with some smart tips or actionable things. Note that these may also be vital for future prospects.
- Always make sure the customer knows what the next step is. If the post is about a product or service, ensure that the messaging is clear as to indicate where the customer should head to, to know more about the proposition or to purchase it. Don’t leave your prospects in the dark.
Benefits of Social selling:
1) Social selling helps create the personal brand for the Social seller. This is an investment which will help sales representative throughout their life
2) It is great alternative to Cold calling which is considered to be intrusive and inefficient
3) Social selling enables better leads generation and sales conversion rate is much higher as compared to traditional ways of selling.
4) Social selling amplifies productivity. As per Forbes "79% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers".
Social selling success stories:
Below are the case studies related to technology giants which have utilized social selling. Click on the picture to read the case study
For any help related to social Selling, please contact @gauravkakkar82