Sales don’t look like they used to, nor will they ever appear that way again. Changes in the customers themselves are behind the effectiveness of individual sales channels — how they search, how they gain knowledge, and what expectations they have of today’s traders.

Even before the pandemic, we had to deal with situations in which the trader’s participation in the customer’s decision was very limited. And today? At a time when face-to-face meetings have been “frozen” or completely banned, meeting traditional sales targets can be even more challenging than just a few quarters ago.

What can you do to make your company take advantage of the opportunities offered by social selling? What are the benefits of decisive implementation of sales activities carried out in social media and in the so-called digital world? And finally, how important is the role of your company’s management in all of this? You will learn the answers to all these questions in the entry below. I invite you!

A TRADER AT THE CENTER OF INTEREST, OR WHAT THE SALE LOOKED LIKE “BACK THEN”

We all remember those times when the purchase process could not take place without the participation of a trader.At that time, all sales took place by phone, e-mail exchange, meetings, presentations and negotiations. As it is easy to see, the role of the trader/seller was invaluable.After all, without the seller, the client had no chance to find out about the offer, get to know it better, or finally be “convinced” to buy.

TRADERS INCREASING MATTER “LESS” AND “LATER” IN THE PURCHASING PROCESS, OR WHAT THE SALE LOOKS LIKE “TODAY” 

Along with the development of networks and the change in many human behaviours, habits and preferences related to the way of buying have also changed.

Currently, the role of salespeople has been largely taken over by the customers themselves and the content they use on the Internet. It is they who look for the best offers for themselves, and also make their own comparisons. As evidenced by recent studies (FORRESTER, 2017), they also expand their knowledge. Nearly 68% of clients prefer to rely on information from articles, guides, webinars or case studies, rather than consult other means.

Their relationship to “classic” traders has also changed significantly. Simply put, customers don’t trust them. According to FORRESTER’s research from 2017, as many as 60% of B2B customers do not want to contact sellers .Instead of talking to them, they prefer contact with people in whom they see an adviser, and not a person who wants to “earn” on them. This, in turn, is confirmed by the SALESFORCE survey from 2018, which indicates that as many as 78% prefer contact with trusted advisers rather than traders.

TRANSFORMATION OF A SELLER INTO AN ADVISOR

Here we are dealing with a change that is best seen in the area of social selling. Changing the perception of salespeople doesn’t mean that people don’t need them at all. Customers expect that a specialist will appear at some point instead of a salesperson. A consultant who, instead of trying to sell them “something”, will equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to make the right decision.

HOW CAN SOCIAL SELLING SOLVE SALES’ PROBLEMS?

  • 1: social selling builds trust in the eyes of customers

An active presence on LinkedIn (especially through publishing and thoughtful commenting on the publications of other portal users) is an element that builds a personal brand — also known as the “advisor’s brand”.

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If we add to it running webinars or co-creating other e-book materials, the trader has the opportunity to establish relationships in traditional sales with a completely different level of trust than before.

  • Post 2: social selling opens up new markets and can help secure your company’s future

In the latest research from 2020, GARTNER forecasts that by 2025, nearly 80% of contacts will move onlineTraditional “live” presentations and business meetings will be relegated to the background, and their role will be replaced by online business relationships.

Traders who take care of building their image on the web by then will be able to enjoy the fruits of their actions. They will be where their customers are already, and most importantly, they will build relationships with those customers.

On one hand, their work will become easier. Additionally, they will lay a solid foundation that works to their advantage in the future.

  • After 3: social selling in tandem with online meetings allows you to overcome limitations and scale the operation

The Internet has no limits. We can acquire customers, build relationships with them and guide them through the purchasing process from A to Z — without the need to show up at the customer’s office.

In such a situation, traders can work more efficiently, and above all, on a much larger scale of customers. One may be tempted to say that in a few years, investments in fleet cars (servicing costs and their regular use) may be limited.

Social selling requires a different approach. It requires emphasis on investing in actual people — their knowledge and skills. These, in turn, can even translate into business growth.

IMPLEMENTATION OF SOCIAL SELLING INTO THE REGULAR ACTIVITIES OF THE COMPANY.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE BOARD IN THIS?

New products are often met with resistance by people who are used to the current state of affairs and under no circumstances want to convince themselves to learn new techniques, tools or approaches to sales.

That is why the success of social selling depends on the “top” people —those responsible for managing the company. If you are a board member, you must know that the first steps in implementing social selling are yoursIf you do not take them, the probability “something” will happen from the bottom-up is really small.

The lack of social selling activities is a conscious deprivation of one of the sales channelsThis channel works perfectly around the world. In Poland, it is a kind of blue ocean, where there is still plenty of room for other companies. Including yours!

In the next article, I will describe 3 specific activities that you as a board member can implement to support your organization through digital sales transformation.

HOW DOES SOCIAL SELLING LOOK FOR YOU?

To what extent do you see the potential of social selling today?

Share your opinion! You can leave it here, in the comments below the article or click here to leave your comments directly on LinkedIn.