According to LinkedIn, “Social Selling is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals. This sales technique enables better sales lead generation and sales prospecting process and eliminates the need for cold calling. Building and maintaining relationships is easier within the network that you and your customer trust”.
There is no doubt LinkedIn knows what they’re talking about when it comes to social selling but take a look again at the wording. The definition really only real talks about the Sales team and sales goals and I can’t help thinking this is a missed opportunity.
At Tribal we strongly believe that whilst Sales teams undoubtedly benefit from adopting Social Selling and embracing the opportunities that new technology is giving, to be truly effective at Social Selling, having the Marketing team involved and collaborating is the key to building better customer relationships and ultimately, delivering revenue growth.
The Role of Content in Social Selling
Given that 57% (or higher) of the buyers’ journey is complete before they even reach out to a salesperson and that nearly 82% of B2B buyers have viewed between five and eight pieces of content from their winning vendor, getting that content out at the right time and talking about the right things has never been more important.
What’s really interesting is how the C-Suite and decision makers view thought leadership content and in this infographic by Edelmen and LinkedIn, you can clearly see what a difference the right content can make.
The same study also highlighted that a third of respondents said that poor content removed a vendor from the process.
That’s a pretty good reason to align your Sales & Marketing teams as let’s be honest, Marketing are generally better at writing, or at the very least, supporting the Sales team on their content.
At a simple level, the process is a virtuous circle with Sales feeding in common questions and real problems their customers are facing (something the Marketing team will never be close enough to) and Marketing crafting content appropriate to the buying journey and ensuring that content is optimised, true to brand values and the best publication strategy.
4 Ways to Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment with Social Selling
However, all of this is only possible with teams collaborating closely. In a world where traditionally Sales and Marketing are not aligned, there are some challenges ahead in bridging the gap so here’s some ideas on how to start that journey:
1. Set Common Goals
Ensure your teams have the same goals. This may sound obvious but quite often, and perhaps understandably, they are measured on completely different metrics. Whilst it may be important to have some unique metrics, make sure there are common metrics that both contribute to.
2. Regular Meetings & Communication
Again, this is not rocket science but you’re never going to align Sales & Marketing if they’re not building relationships with each other. This needs a combination of formal and regular meetings to discuss strategy and updates but also think about having Marketing sit in on a customer meeting or call to hear first-hand what their problems are and to identify those common issues. Get Sales involved in the creation of content, so they can learn how the process works (and pick up tips on creating their own) but importantly, feeding into the content creates ownership and a higher possibility of the content actually being used.
3. Share Data
Now that you’ve got common metrics, it’s a good idea to have access to the same data. If you have a CRM tool like Hubspot, everyone having the ability to review what’s going on throughout the buyer journey is a great way to gain insights and understanding. I’ve also found that having people from ‘other functions’ looking at what the other one is up to can come up with great ideas that work for everyone (yes, along with the ideas that may not be so helpful..). At the very least, you’ll create a greater understanding of each other’s role.
4. Using Buyer Personas
You might ask why personas are needed but creating these together achieves a common understanding of who the customer is, what their problems may be and how to talk to them. Whilst traditionally a Marketing activity, without the involvement of the Sales team, they will never be accurate and are useful for the whole business.
Whilst there are more ways to align your Sales & Marketing teams, the really important thing to remember is getting them to appreciate and understand each other because the benefits outweigh any challenge.