Marketing Automation and Social Selling
Social Selling is no longer a new buzzword, instead of introducing a completely new idea to people when talking about it we are simply discussing another technique for hitting targets. Marketing Automation and Social Selling are both far more powerful when combined with one another. With Marketing Automation now affordable for most SMEs it’s the perfect time to illustrate how the two go together.
Fully Leverage Your Content
When engaged in Social Selling you should be producing content to cement yourself as a source of industry knowledge. Whilst having this record of your expertise sit on your blog and LinkedIn profile is good actively seeking to spread it to contacts who will find it useful is better. Many pieces of content cover multiple topics and are relevant to different people for different reasons. Trying to direct contacts to all of your writings that they may find interesting manually would be a mammoth task. Utilising the powers of Marketing Automation and Social Selling you can determine what kind of content your contact finds most engaging and offer them more of that style of content in a timely manner.
Take Full Advantage Of Scheduling Options
Ensuring a consistent Social Media presence is vital to Social Selling. To position yourself as the font of all knowledge in your field you must routinely share great content. Some days that’s easy, you might find 5 great articles before lunch just by browsing your own Twitter feed. But this can’t be relied upon. Busy days happen, meetings happen, traffic happens! Scheduling your base Social Media posts days, weeks, even months in advance takes the pressure off you in your day-to-day routine and allows you to focus on crafting great posts ‘in the moment.’ Around events and product launches the ability to schedule posts across multiple platforms is invaluable. Having a Social Media plan before time that is mostly implemented before time minimises hassle during stressful periods and frees up your Marketing Team to react to things as they happen on the day.
Communicate On A Contact’s Terms
In 2016 many consumers expect to be able to contact a brand not only via phone and email but through any Social Media they have a presence on. Traditional wisdom says that there’s nothing more personal than a phone call. If a contact’s communication with you and your brand has been exclusively through Twitter or Facebook then why pick up the phone before using these channels?
A core goal of Social Selling is to ensure there are no more cold-calls, by the time you’re speaking to a contact they should be a warm lead. They should know who you are, why you’re calling and what you can do for them! Marketing Automation can help to ensure all contact is linked together and the ability to report end-to-end ROI allows you to see the value of every interaction. A simple Tweet or thank you message on Facebook may be the difference between turning a cold-call into a warm-call. Prove the value of Social Selling with Marketing Automation and gather insights into behaviour and trends as you do so.
Contact Behaviour is Visible
Key to the success of Marketing Automation is the idea of Personalisation. Without learning from buyer behaviour and adapting to it Marketing Automation is just a slightly better version of Email Marketing. When it comes to Social Selling a similar level of Personalisation is required. Whilst the thought leadership efforts are broadcast to the world in the same way when it comes time to connect with people you have to do so on a human level.
With the power of Marketing Automation you can track all of the interaction a contact has with you and your brand. Utilising this information you should tailor and target your communications with the contact.
- Are they visiting certain pages over and over again?
- Do they watch videos to the end but leave written articles half way through?
- Have they visited your pricing page recently?
- Do they frequently click-through but fail to convert at the last hurdle?
- Is one Social Media their main channel for communicating with your brand?
Speed the Sales Process By Aligning Marketing & Sales
Terms like ‘Social Selling’ and ‘Marketing Automation’ often divide the Marketing and Sales departments. Any mention of the word ‘Marketing’ and Sales are no longer listening, and vice versa. By encouraging everyone to be a Social Seller you have everyone invested in the Sales process. Even if Marketing aren’t directly engaged in Social Selling they should be creating content for your Sales department.
Bringing in a Marketing Automation platform with an inbuilt CRM means that everyone has all the necessary information you have gathered on a contact at their fingertips all of the time. End-to-end analytics help do away with squabbles over lead quality, sales-team efficiency and overall conversion volume.
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5 Disruptive Social Selling Tools
I’ve had the pleasure of getting my hands on a majority of the social selling technologies in the space. Of the many tools available, I’ve handpicked five of them to share today. Each of these technologies make sales teams more efficient and create ROI over time, while focusing on different problems in the sales process. Despite having some overlapping features and benefits, they do not compete with each other because of their specific problem-solving capabilities. These are the ones to watch out for.
KiteDesk: Sales Productivity Platform
KiteDesk 2.0 was just released last week. I was one of a handful who were offered an early look. One thing that truly intrigues me about KiteDesk is the simple fact that the technology allows you to find contacts on any web page and, in a single click, import their contact data into the CRM.
KiteDesk seamlessly pulls clean data from Fliptop, Netprospex, ZoomInfo and Full Contact. The UI is super clean, and it is extremely easy to navigate. It is a great solution for small to midsize companies from 5–500 employees.
Benefits It Offers:
- Automates data importing from social channels
- Connects the dots between a company’s social connections
- Prioritizes and scores hot prospects and customers on social
rFactr: SocialPort – Push Button Social Selling Technology
rFactr is one of the only true “social selling” platforms geared solely towards social selling sales teams. This technology is fairly simple to use and is key to getting your sales team to share the right content, at the right time, to the right person with one simple click on a link. Marketing can set up content and send it as an email to the sales team, which can click a link inside the email and post it to their social channels within minutes. The company just did a partnership with Forbes and is adding new features monthly. They mainly play in the enterprise space, but I don’t see why mid-market or smaller companies couldn’t get value out of the solution.
Benefits It Offers:
- Eliminates the manual process of content sharing
- Gives insight into where and how your content plays best, leading to revenue
- Increase in engagement—right message, right person, at the right time!
InsightPool: Social Relationship Intelligence Platform
InsightPool is already known in the social media marketing space as one of the top platforms for social drip campaigns. They just acquired another company and now have a solution focused strictly toward sales. Their UI is super clean! In a nutshell, the platform focuses on finding targeted prospects, customizing engagement, and tracking dollars and cents related to social engagement and deals closed. They practice what they preach and leverage their own platform to engage. Add them on Twitter, and you will see what I mean.
Benefits It Offers:
- Identifies target audience on social
- Identifies buying signals and scores potential buyers
- Increases effective engagement, leading to more conversations offline
Nimble: Social CRM – Relationship Intelligence
Nimble, in my opinion, is the future of what CRMs will look like for most companies in the next two years. It is super easy to navigate and allows you to pull data in from any social profile within seconds. Not only can you pull in the data from the social profile you are searching in, but you can also pull data from all of a contact’s social channels into one lead record. It streamlines the manual process of searching different social profiles and inputting data into CRM. It also tracks all of the social engagements within the contact record as well. You can see the lead contact history within the social profile, instead of having to into the CRM. Nimble integrates with Salesforce as well, which allows you to push all the data into the Salesforce when you’re done. This solution is targeted more towards small–midsize companies but could be used at the enterprise level.
Benefits It Offers:
- Streamlines sales efficiencies by living everywhere
- Pulls data from all social channels into one contact record
- Tracks all engagement history
Marketing Automation Software
Social selling is a continuum. You begin by creating and fostering a relationship online, and at some point, it has to go offline. This is a chasm a lot of sales reps just can’t seem to cross.
Marketing automation is crucial for social selling because it gives visibility into all behaviors of a prospect once the conversation goes offline. These behaviors include website page visits, landing pages, social media assets, and a lot more. Social selling is a soft art/science which involves more time on the front end to build the relationship and discover a need before going straight into a targeted sales process.
Marketing automation allows sales reps to get a real-time pulse and automate email to educate the prospect and keep them engaged based on what is important to them. This nurturing is essential for having sales success. The channels you use to develop a lasting relationship with a prospect shift, but the point is to use the appropriate technology to help you generate and grow the relationship throughout the lifetime of your customer.
I recommend Act-On Software for marketing automation. Full disclosure: I work for Act-On, so I’m admittedly biased. But we’ve just released a feature that’s a game changer for anyone practicing social selling. Act-On Anywhere is a Chrome browser icon that lets sales reps see the real time “activity history” of any contact in real time within any of the social media platforms. For example, say you’re reviewing someone’s profile on LinkedIn. Click Act-On anywhere, and if that person has a history with Act-On, you’ll see it all. This eliminates the process of going back into the CRM.
Benefits It Offers:
- Real-time visibility at all times
- Automated communication through the sales process
- Access to account history in social media
All of these solutions fix different problems in the social selling sales process. Make sure you assess where your gaps are first before buying any new technologies. Look at the process, and then align the solution that will be the best to fix your process. Happy social selling!