Social Selling Paper


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FINDING CUSTOMERS AND SUCCESSFULLY ENGAGING WITH THEM has always been a fundamental challenge for sales organizations. With an estimate 152 million blogs, 25 billion messages sent via Twitter, and 2 billion Internet users worldwide, social networks represent valuable prospecting and customer- relationship opportunities for sales teams around the globe.

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Social Selling Paper

  2. 2. DEFINING KEY TERMSTHE SOCIAL-SELLING LANDSCAPE WEB 2.0 – the interactive, information sharing, user-centered design and collaboration enabled by the World Wide Web. Examples include blogs, social media sites, Wikipedia and other wikis, andFINDING CUSTOMERS AND SUCCESSFULLY ENGAGING WITH THEM more. A subset of Web 2.0 is the “socialhas always been a fundamental challenge for sales organizations. With an estimated Web,” which refers specifically to social-152 million blogs, 25 billion messages sent via Twitter, and 2 billion Internet networking and content-sharing sites.users worldwide, social networks represent valuable prospecting and customer- SALES 2.0 – the use of technology, people,relationship opportunities for sales teams around the globe. and process to sell more effectively. Sales 2.0 methodologies and tools result in a However, the customer’s standardized, collaborative, and customer- ability to independently enabled process that runs through an discover and broadcast entire organization, leading to improved productivity, predictable ROI, and superior information across performance. a variety of social networking platforms CUSTOMER 2.0 – a smarter, more has in turn diminished a collaborative customer who uses Web 2.0 and Sales 2.0 technologies to research longstanding corporate products and services to make informed ability to influence and buying decisions. Customer 2.0 engages control the way products, with social media and listens to friends solutions, and services are and colleagues over analysts and reviewers when making purchase decisions. perceived in the market. The twenty-first-century SOCIAL CRM – the act of leveraging social prospect now has greater data from sources such as blogs, forums, access to company and and other social-media sites to engage the product data – including customer in collaborative conversation. peer reviews and referrals SALES INTELLIGENCE – dynamic, – than at any time in granular, and insightful informationhistory. As a result, the sales professional is no longer the keeper and disseminator of gathered from Web 2.0 sources, suchinformation; that role has been usurped by the ever-widening social Web. as social-media sites. Sales intelligence moves beyond “sales data,” which is static, editorial-based, and aggregate.“Buyers today can get through about 60 to 70 percent of the buying cycle before theyeven pick up the phone and call the rep,” says Greg Brush, vice president of sales and SOCIAL MEDIA – one of the foundationscustomer success at InsideView. of Web 2.0, used for social interaction. Social media includes all Websites that enable people to connect via the Internet,Accordingly, the sales organization that can leverage the tools of the information age such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, andand train its sales force to actively engage in social selling will be more likely to see blogs.immediate revenue gains and strengthen its capacity for sustained overall growth. SOCIAL SELLING – the intelligent use of social media, social CRM, and other Web 2.0In a recent survey performed by Jive Software, more than 80 percent of respondents tools and applications to listen to, connectacross a multitude of industries (including financial services, telecommunications, and engage with, and effectively meet thehealthcare, insurance, and software) reported quantifiable benefits of adopting social needs of Customer initiatives. (See figure 1)
  3. 3. FOLLOWING QUANTIFIABLE BENEFITS OF ADOPTING SOCIAL BUSINESS INITIATIVES:An OgilvyOne study also indicates that Figure 1: Survey Response from Jive Softwarethe B2B space is seeing major gainsfrom social selling: Among 1,000 salesprofessionals in the US, UK, Brazil, and 42%China, 49 percent believed social mediawas important to their success, and more 34%than two-thirds of the most successful 31% 27% 28%reps said that social media was “integralto their sales success.”A strategic approach to social media canhelp sales executives reach the twin goalsof increasing revenue and streamlining Idea Exchange Customer-Support Brand Customer Communicationteam efficiency. with Customers Call Volume Awareness Retention and IdeasMEASURABLE RESULTS AND ROISPECIFICALLY, COMPANIES THAT ENGAGE IN SOCIALSELLING GAIN THE FOLLOWING ACTIONABLE BENEFITS:• MULTIPLE WAYS TO REACH CUSTOMERS IN THE RIGHT PLACE, AT THE RIGHT TIME.• A PUBLIC FORUM TO SHOW ITS WILLINGNESS AND ABILITY TO SOLVE PROBLEMS FOR CUSTOMERS WHO EXPRESS DISSATISFACTION WITH PRODUCTS OR SERVICES.• THE ABILITY TO IDENTIFY CUSTOMER NEEDS AND WANTS AND SOLICIT FEEDBACK ON PROPOSED INITIATIVES AND CHANGES TO PRODUCTS AND SERVICES.From the customer’s perspective, social networks not only offeran easy and viral way to spread the word about brand-relatedexperiences, they also serve as easy entry points for researching orreaching out to a company.It stands to reason, then, that B2B companies and sales executiveswho lack an established of companies that have taken a proactiveapproach to social selling and seen significant ROI.
  4. 4. Thanks in part to the leveraging of social networks like blogs and Twitter to 5 TIPS FORempower employees to deliver a superior customer-service experience, onlineretailer Zappos was able to scale its business from zero to more than $1 billion in LAUNCHING A SOCIALgross merchandise sales in less than 10 years. SELLING INITIATIVE:Cisco executed one of its top five product launches in the company’s history solely 1. EVALUATE WHAT YOU’RE DOING. through the use of social media. By targeting Many people on your team probably platforms that its customers were already already use LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, using (including Facebook, Second Life, etc. Take stock of how you’re currently connecting with and listening to video-conference services, and blogs), Cisco customers, and see what seems to be drew 9,000 people to its product-launch working. Where are you successfully event (90 times more attendees than in the engaging and building relationships with past). prospects and customers? Sparked by its “Will It Blend?” viral video 2. START BY LISTENING.campaign (which has so far received more than 134 million views on YouTube Just as you wouldn’t run into a cocktailalone), Blendtec was able to increase brand awareness and lower cold-call party and start shoving your businessresistance for its sales force. Since the campaign’s launch in 2006, sales have card under everyone’s nose, don’t jumpincreased 700 percent. on Twitter and start jabbering about your business. Instead, listen to what yourAs of June 2009, Dell had attributed $3 million in revenue to the launch of its @ target market is saying. Get a sense forDellOutlet Twitter account and successful engagement with its followers (currently who your customers’ mouthpieces aremore than 1.5 million). The company estimates that its global reach on Twitter (via and their communication and interaction styles.targeted accounts such as @DellHomeSalesCA and @DellnoBrasil) has brought inmore than $6.5 million in revenue. 3. SHARE INFORMATION. Create a way for your team members to share information internally. There FUTURE SUCCESS are a variety of CRM-compatible tools to facilitate the tracking and sharing of information companywide. So if at a trade show your marketing manager meets a prospect who loves to rideThe change in buying behavior that has been ignited by the social Web will horses, that information can be enteredcontinue to evolve, and the need to master social selling will continue to grow. into a collaborative database and used toBut the measure of social-selling success is not in how quickly one can leave the strengthen ties during follow-up calls.old behind; it is in how well one can use existing sales principles to adapt to a newarena that offers a very powerful and efficient way to engage customers, shorten 4. COMMIT TO THE PROCESS.sales cycles, and increase revenue. In the end, the right mind-set is just as important Building relationships online is notas methodology. Sales executives who embrace social selling will win more something you can do all at once. Realize you may not see the payoff right away,opportunities to maximize the growth potential of their sales team and company. and commit to three to six months before you evaluate your efforts.Social selling is constantly evolving as more and more companies recognize theimportance of social media on sales team success. To learn more about how social 5. COMMIT TO EVOLUTION.selling can revolutionize your sales department and significantly increase win rates, Your team’s social-selling skills will needvisit InsideView’s Social Selling University at to evolve with the Web. Prepare to invest time and effort in updating your social- selling strategy, learning about new tools, and keeping skills sharp.