This post originally appeared on LinkedIn on April 25th and is authored by Greg Hyer.
You know that cousin you see every year at the family reunion that brags all the time about how he’s making money hand over fist? You’re left thinking about how the heck does he do it and why does it seem like you work twice has hard has he does. That’s kind of like Content Marketing’s relationship with Social Selling. Someone in Marketing is making content and putting it out there all over the place hoping for someone to engage with it. But the Sales person is using that content to hook their prospects, navigate the buying process and closing deals.
In B2B Sales, there aren’t many cases where content marketing does all the selling and Sales is never involved. Most B2B products and services need Sales to be the expert and guide the buyer by helping them become educated on what they are purchasing and presenting potential solutions.
Just about every B2B sales engagement requires content from Marketing. Prior to engaging with Sales, your buyers are using content to self educate. Some experts have even gone so far to say that 60% of the buying process is over before a prospect engages with Sales. This presents an interesting challenge for Sales when it does come time to help the buyer navigate the buying process. One challenge would be determining what path is the Buyer on when they contact Sales?
If the organization is sophisticated in it’s Marketing Operations, there’s a chance they’re using marketing automation tools to capture and measure prospect engagement with Marketing’s content. Sales should seek this information out either directly from the Marketing Automation tool or if integrated, via the CRM. It’s critically important to know this information. There’s a contextual element to Social Selling and without it, the engagement could go wrong.
In addition to reviewing the prospect’s engagement metrics, social sellers should always be uncovering their prospects social profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. The information found here will help the social seller direct the buyer as they navigate the buying process. Keep in mind that these social networks contain information that the owner has given you (and everyone else) permission to see. There for you should use it to create a contextual engagement.
When you put this all together, content, engagement metrics and the prospect’s social profiles, the social seller becomes the right person to enable the buyer to buy. This makes social selling, B2B content marketing’s money making cousin. So, what should you do next? Take a close look at how your sales team is or isn’t practicing social selling and make the necessary changes so that it helps them meet and exceed their sales quotas.
Here’s a thought to ponder. Mike Drapeau, of Sales Benchmark Index, points out that on average Sales people only reach 60% of their quota attainment rate. He predicts social sellingwill help sales people grow the QAR to 75% over the next six years. If you were told that social selling would help grow sales by 15% wouldn’t you be doing something about it?
So, why are you keeping your sales people from using social selling?