Social selling is the big thing.
Get on social networks, connect with the right people and sell yourself, your products and achieve success.
But is it really any different to the normal sales process?
The really good sales people always started with good networking skills. They have the gift of finding, talking to and getting close to the people who can help them.
Mike Derezin, vice president of Sales Solutions at LinkedIn, believes social media has fundamentally changed the way buying and selling happens.
“It’s been happening on LinkedIn, this notion of social selling, since LinkedIn launched over 10 years ago,” he told Business Insider.
“Now I think it is coming to a place where it is becoming more mainstream.
“We’re seeing a critical mass of buyers. LinkedIn has over 313 million members and here in Australia we have over 6 million members. That’s north of 80% of Australian professionals.”
He says social selling is four activities:
- Creating a professional brand
- Finding the right people in the buying process
- Engaging with insight
- Building strong relationships
Linkedin has a system called Sales Navigator which measures each of those four activities for each sales individual on a social selling index. Everyone gets a score between 1 and 100.
“A lot of companies understand social selling but they have no idea how to measure it,” says Derezin.
There are an average 5.4 buyers in the buying process. That is more than five people who need to be convinced before a sale can go ahead.
Think of a sale to an IT department, where committees regularly scan new products.
Derezin says the big advantage in social selling is that a sales representative is more likely to hit quota, over achieve and to be promoted. Only they’re doing this online, wasting less time finding the right people to talk to.
“Cold calling is ineffective,” he says. “Selling the old way is: did you make 100 calls today? Bombarding people with phone calls.”
But isn’t social selling just old-fashioned networking but on a bigger scale?
“That’s right. It’s old-fashioned networking with the world’s largest professional network,” Derezin says.
“If you take the typical company, there is strength in all their relationships. I could have had dinner with my classmate from business school last night and one of the reps would have been trying to sell him and would never know that I had that relationship.
“So what we’re doing is facilitating old-school networking.”
Salesforce.com, the gold standard customer relationship management tool, has this to say about social selling:
“All selling is social. Always has been. Always will be.
“Before Facebook, before LinkedIn, before the web in fact, people bought from people in social ways. They asked for advice from friends, they gave their opinions over the garden fence and they wrote strident letters to manufacturers when products failed to live up to their promises.”
Today social has gone into overdrive.
More often than not, a potential customer will have done extensive product research, via blogs, product reviews or the product website, before making contact.
And those who become customers are more vocal than ever and have the channels, via social media sites and their own online voices, via blogs.
“They have the power to enact sweet revenge for any perceived failing,” Salesforce.com says.
But the opportunities are enormous.
Salesforce.com says: “One of the great things about social media is that buyers are far more open about their intentions than in the pre-social age. They signal them by posting comments on forums, asking their followers on Twitter and updating their status on LinkedIn.”
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