Blog Post Digital Selling Social Selling

Why Social Media Marketing is NOT Social Selling

When leveraging social channels to connect with prospects, are you using social selling techniques or are you performing social media marketing? Learn the differences and how both help your business grow.

The “digital age” has blurred the lines between marketing and sales. No longer are the two business disciplines in separate silos. They each still have impact and responsibility to generate revenue for the company, but now they are able to align and support each other more swiftly and efficiently by executing effective social media marketing and social selling strategies. When done right, they create a better experience for the buyer throughout the customer journey.

The digital age has created opportunities to connect and build relationships with buyers in ways that we never could before. But it has also caused some confusion between the sales and marketing departments within companies. For example, are social media platforms like LinkedIn®, marketing tools or social selling tools? Who is responsible for reaching buyers on social media? Who is responsible for the company’s presence on LinkedIn?

To answer these questions, we must break down the differences between selling and marketing on social platforms like LinkedIn®.

Sales vs. Marketing: How Each Uses Social Platforms

If we agree that Sales is converting your product or service to revenue and Marketing is the discovery, creating awareness, arousing interest and satisfying needs, where does each fit into your organization?

Alignment of #sales and #marketing creates a better experience for the #buyer throughout the customer journey. Learn each department’s responsibilities and how both support one another for successful #SocialSelling from @Susan_Segat. Click To Tweet

Marketing is a one to many communication model that attracts and educates buyers about your product or service from your brand’s voice. Sales is working directly and more intimately with individual buyers in an effort to convert them to customers based on the customers’ needs. Buyers today are more sophisticated and expect both sales and marketing communication with them to be personal, provide value and tell them exactly (and simply) what to do next, which is why the PVC Sales Methodology TM is a perfect template for sellers.

Both sales and marketing can provide value and request action but sales professionals have the unique ability to build relationships with buyers on a personal level.

So, if your marketing team is pushing content and lead generation posts on your organization’s LinkedIn® newsfeed, is that enough? The answer is No. And here is why. Both Sales and Marketing have their own specific responsibilities to the organization and while the behaviors are different the overall goals are not. They both want to hear the cash register ring but each has their own departmental objectives.

Social media networks like LinkedIn® have given B2B sales teams the ability to connect directly with their customers and potential buyers. The top-performing sales teams have discovered the power of using social media as a part of their sales strategy and it works in collaboration with the marketing team’s efforts to generate leads.

What Is the Difference Between Social Media Marketing and Social Selling?

Social Media Marketing is simply marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve your marketing and branding goals. This form of digital marketing includes posting text and image updates, videos, and other content to social media platforms that drives audience engagement and can be done by posting organically or through paid advertising.

Social selling is performed by salespeople and is the practice of leveraging social media channels to interact directly with their buyers. Salespeople will demonstrate knowledge of a buyer’s pain by answering questions and offering value-based content to address their business challenges.

Social MEDIA is one part of Social Selling. As the name implies, the other half is SELLING. That involves things like the sellers’ personal network, introduction and referral requests, sales outreach messages, and other skills.

Coach your sales team to build relationships first, educate second and sell third. Most decision-makers will not respond to “spammy”, impersonal messages. Pro Tip: Buyers don’t care about your products or services. They only care about how your solutions can make their own lives easier.

#SocialSelling is performed by #sales people and is the practice of leveraging #SocialMedia channels to interact directly with their buyers. Discover the difference between social selling and #SocialMediaMarketing from @Susan_Segat. Click To Tweet

4 Ways to Align Your Social Media Marketing and Social Selling Strategies to Increase Sales

1. Consistently Share Content on Social Media

When marketing publishes a post on behalf of a brand or individual, it is a broadcast–the casting of a wide net to a large audience in an effort to see who will bite. A well-executed post can elicit engagement and interaction between the participants.

The more interaction a post gets, the more likely an algorithm like LinkedIn® will put you in front of an even larger audience beyond what you normally reach. Sales teams not only support the marketing team and corporate brand when interacting with these posts by sharing, liking, commenting and replying to comments on the post but they also improve their own personal brands.

2. Find Opportunities to Have Genuine Conversations

On the flip side, sales professionals who actively engage in these interactions can find opportunities where they can continue the conversations in a more intimate environment like LinkedIn® messenger, email, phone, video or a face-to-face meeting. Your salespeople should know and understand how to execute and guide these conversations through the funnel on the appropriate platforms.

3. Have Authentic Interactions

Don’t just rely on your own brands’ content; sellers should be interacting on posts published by their network and prospects to increase their visibility and credibility. Those interactions should be authentic replies or questions.

I am often asked, “What should I say?” My response is always, what would you say to this contact if the conversation occurred on the golf course or at a networking event? You wouldn’t go into sales mode without questions to fully understand the needs of the buyer, would you?

4. Provide Sellers with the Right Tools

According to CSO Insights, sales organizations with higher than 75% social selling adoption rates have a win rate that is nearly 50% higher than those with low adoption rates.

But you’re not going to see those kinds of results with a generic “Nice to meet you…Can we chat for 15 minutes?” message on social. To achieve social selling success, you need to start with the “why” and to develop a game plan that utilizes actionable insights to help sellers find, engage, and truly connect with your prospects.

For your sales reps to achieve this level of success, they require the tools and training to be effective in executing social selling activities.

Aligning #SocialMediaMarketing and #SocialSelling strategies will help increase an organization’s pipeline and win rates. @Susan_Segat shares 4 ways to align these two strategies. #SellingWithLinkedIn #B2BSales Click To Tweet

Create a Digital Selling Program to Leverage Social Selling

As more and more buyers use social media for communication and entertainment, marketing departments will continue to deliver campaigns to the platforms of their ideal audience. Sellers can piggyback on those campaigns but will be most successful if they use social media for how it was intended…to be social.

Do you have a digital selling program in place? Learn our easy 10 Steps to Launching a Digital Sales Program to provide sellers with the tools, processes, and training needed to create more sales conversations with the modern buyer.

By Susan Segat

Susan Segat is the owner of Strategic Digital Marketing, LLC, a digital marketing consulting firm specializing in demand generation, website and social media strategy, and campaign management. She successfully integrates her extensive sales and Sandler coaching experience into creating marketing strategies to produce inbound leads through the website, customized content, email, video, social media platforms and PPC. She uses marketing tools and resources to align directly with her clients’ sales goals.

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