There’s a bit of head-scratching going on in marketing around social selling. You know, that way of using social media to leverage your prospects, build relationships (like the real world), improve and discover new sales.
The confusion arises from trying to answer a simple question: Does your organisation have an agreed upon definition of social selling? When 1500 senior marketers were surveyed, 56% said yes. Not bad, right? Not quite. What it does mean, is that a staggering 44% are unsure of what they’re doing.
The implications are simple. If you can’t agree on its definition, then surely, you can’t put the right sales targets in place, or know what the best metrics to use are? How can you measure what you don’t know?
Marketing can drive the initiative in terms of social techniques – where to prospect, and which content to drive the right conversation, but if there’s resistance from sales, the two groups will effectively be working separately in a time of change where they should be educating each other.
Alternatively, if marketing doesn’t fully know what it’s doing, how can they inform sales?
Sales and marketing need to be sharing knowledge. This could mean retraining your salesforce on how to use social media effectively. Give them tools to look like experts on the most relevant social channels.
Marketing can create content that sales can push out to add value to their social profiles, but the profiles themselves need to be robust with the right connections, sharing valuable insights and positioning as thought leaders that will build relationships at different points of the customer journey. Incentivise your sales team to stay connected for longer, to be more relevant – to follow groups and recommendations.
A very niche 11% do have lead generation targets in place, while a staggering 89% DO NOT HAVE ANY. The implications of this are huge. That’s like gathering hard-won leads and simply scattering them without following them up.
If your organisation isn’t in harmony about the definition of social selling, it makes answering the next question just as difficult a situation: Who owns social selling in your organisation? The majority of surveyed senior marketers (59%) believe that marketing owns social selling, with 13% saying it’s up to sales, and 28% believing it’s shared with sales.
Only 28%. Surely it should be 100%? Social selling belongs to both disciplines. If you can’t measure social selling, how can you help them understand why it’s useful and how to do it effectively? Why should they spend time social selling when they can’t measure its benefits?
However, even with the right tools available, there are factors limiting the ability of senior marketers to measuring the success of social selling. The biggest factor is simply, lack of time. Another (29%) is not having the data analysis skills needed.
There’s no quick fix, but by aligning marketing and sales, instead of residing in their own silos, they can share best practices, and invest in data and technology with a universally clear approach that will facilitate buy-in from sales, at the top.
Once that happens, who knows? There’ll fewer pain points and social selling can fully flourish.