Today's guest post comes from Ralf VonSosen, who currently leads marketing for LinkedIn’s Sales Solutions business. He has been a leader in the world of CRM and Sales Solutions for over 15 years. He is passionate about the ability of technology to create more meaningful professional relationships that result in higher performance.
We know the backstory all too well.
Buyers are more technology savvy than ever. They’re socially empowered to gather and share information from numerous sources. Meanwhile, social media networks underlying this change have made personal and professional relationships richer, broader, and more easily accessible.
Despite all these changes, people still want to work with those who have proven they know what makes their individual business run and can solve their business problems.
That’s where social selling comes in. It’s a philosophy that can scale through technology and business rules, designed to engage in collaborative conversations that establish a sense of trust, while providing mutual value to buyers and sellers without wrestling control of the process from the customer.
But what does that mean for marketing? In short, social selling is tearing down the wall between sales and marketing.
Marketing is being redefined to empower sales in a social selling environment. What was once a linear process of marketing pushing inquiries and leads to sales, now becomes a collaborative and dynamic process where marketing and sales engage at more stages of the traditional marketing and sales funnel.
The result is a more collaborative selling process for sales and marketing, where both teams are focused on the same goals. To establish this kind of culture, each company has to tackle the following three phases:
The first phase is all about tapping into social data in order to find the right prospects to both market and sell to. This involves making more powerful, user-friendly company and prospect searching available within the organization, creating lists of high priority groups and individuals, and specifically refined lists for more test campaigns.
The second phase is about pulling from social media insights to make both the selling and marketing process more relatable. This involves using richer, behavioral information to create more relevant messages, expanding lead scoring and lead qualification to take into account additional data points, and assigning leading more intelligently so aspects such as social connections and proximity play a prominent role.
The final phase is all about execution, where sales and marketing go out and engage leads across social channels. This includes leveraging professional connections and introductions across your entire company, running shorter term micro-campaigns planned by sales and triggered by marketing, and scheduling campaigns around key sales events to produce more compelling campaigns.
Social selling isn’t just a sales phenomenon. It’s an opportunity for sales and marketing to work together to deliver more robust, pertinent campaigns that offer leads real value. LinkedIn’s VP of Marketing Nick Besbeas will dive even deeper into this with Eloqua’s CEO, Joe Payne at Dreamforce. Be sure to register for their session “When Social Marketing and Social Selling Converge” this Thursday at noon.