Can you gain a competitive advantage with social selling?
The answer is most definitely, yes.
In fact, we teach companies how to have digital dominance, where you shut out and lock out your analogue competition, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Before we can run, let's talk about how you can walk.
Let's pick off a number of the steps in the buyer's journey and see how social fits in with this.
Competitive advantage in the buyer's journey
In a recent response to one of my blogs Paul Denham said the following which is worth sharing. This is from the buyer prospective, as sellers, we need to be mindful of this and be there for buyers. It's modern selling.
"The non-linear progression of buying jobs is a group activity - where the informational needs of the different roles within the decision-making group must be met in order to move the needle.
Social selling is helpful in each of the 4 primary buying jobs
1. Problem identification
2. Explore Solutions
3. Requirements Building
4. Supplier Selection, but even more so in the
6. Consensus Creation
2 additional jobs that Gartner depict as always-on, 24/7 throughout the buying process.
Validation. “We think we know the right answer, but we need to be sure.”
Consensus creation. “We need to get everyone on board.”
Linkedin is particularly strong in helping buyers validate and gain consensus – it's rich in educational information from real people who've got credibility and can be consumed by buyers whilst off the radar of vendors.
This social activity of B2B buyers helps them put together a list of vendors they want to engage with (who have helped them complete their buying jobs and shape their requirements).
Only then will the shortlisted vendors' salespeople rightly deserve the opportunity to demonstrate their sales skills close the deal with serious buyers. And that is why it's essential to be active on social, sharing helping, educational insights."
Critical Competitive Advantage in the buyer's journey
I think Paul sums it up nicely. Critical to this is we know that buyers are starting their buying process on digital and therefore you will be able to get to them first and set the agenda. Or, if you are proactively prospecting on social (please don't connect and pitch, that's spamming people) then you will be creating the desire early and again you will be setting the agenda with your prospect.
For those that are not sure how to prospect on social, I highly recommend that you read Is social selling inmailing people on Linkedin?
The cold callers and emails are always in "catch-up" as they are always behind. How many times have you called somebody and they said, you should have called me 3 months ago, we have already purchased one.
But digital is noisy and crowded!
This is why you need a proven methodology that allows you to be different, to stand out, to content and build a network in a buyer centric way and why you need to create your own content. The more crowded the network (for example, trying to fight for your clients time in their email inbox) the more difficult it is to break through the noise.
The problem with cold calling is that calling people up annoys them, it pisses them off. This isn't the way to build a relationship. The other problem with cold calling is that it is time consuming and doesn't scale. Check out this blog.
The more crowded the network, the more reason why you need a methodology so that you keep and maintain the attention of your prospects. Remember we talked about digital dominance above.
As all the research shows from Gartner, McKinsey, Salesforce that your prospects are online, they are search for solutions to their problems, so go where your prospects are, not where they were.
Selling on social, is a team sport, like any sports team, you play a team game. Each other's position and content supports each other. Your CEOs post will explain your business culture, that will make a client want to do business with you, while your post about the business issues you can solve enables the customer to know that you can help them. The post from human resources about diversity, shows to the prospect that you business as the right culture. Etc, etc.
You surround your prospects and clients with the right messages and how you can add value. Not by spamming them in their inboxes or pissing them off by calling them, but in the environment where they live and work. On social.
The more you can command your prospective client’s time and their full attention, the more they will realise that you are the ONLY answer to their problem.
This is digital dominance.
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