By now, you’ve probably heard that marketers are pretty fond of social media. According to HubSpot, 56% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their social media spend in 2013. But what does the customer-facing sales team think?
Despite the fact that ‘social selling’ is a pretty popular concept right now, there still seems to be a good chunk of salespeople out there that remain reluctant to embrace business to business social media as a sales tool. Why is this?
In a business world where the average buyer is now 70% of the way through the decision-making process before they even engage with a sales rep, it’s just crazy to ignore the potential of social media on the buying process.
At its core, marketing is about education and influence, and marketers should view the task of onboarding their sales teams no differently than any other campaign they run. As marketers, we need to do a better job of selling B2B social media to sales.
Here are 4 ways that marketers can make social media easier for sales teams.
1. Social Media Training & Onboarding
Getting started with social media can seem daunting at first, especially for salespeople in traditional industries.
This step is all about change management. Marketers need to provide both initial training sessions and ongoing support to salespeople as required. As a best practice, every onboarding session should provide the sales team with a 360-degree view of social selling, starting with why social matters and culminating with account set-up and industry best practices. Who should salespeople follow? What keywords should they target? What tools should they use to monitor chatter? How should they engage? What should they avoid doing?
2. Set Objectives
Setting objectives for the sales team is a great way to make social stick. However, trying to boil the ocean is the quickest way to fail.
When setting objectives for social media, start small. Set weekly, monthly, or quarterly activity goals for sales reps that escalate over time. Measuring shares, posts, likes, RTs, and followers is a great place to start for a new user. Over time, you can shift these activity-based objectives into goal-based objectives, such as inbound leads and booked meetings.
3. Develop Easy to Follow Processes
Marketers must develop easy-to-follow business to business social media processes that can be easily integrated into a salespersons average day. For example, a daily LinkedIn company page update or tweets from the corporate account followed with an email reminder can help keep social selling top of mind for busy salespeople.
4. Work With Sales to Identify Content Opportunities
Here lies the true opportunity for marketers. By creating a strong feedback loop with front-line salespeople, marketers can gain insight into what prospects really care about, what works and what doesn’t. Involving sales in this process can not only increase the accuracy of the information, but also help to establish a sustainable content program in the long-run.
Ultimately, integrating social media into the business to business sales process should be a key objective of forward-thinking startups and growing B2B organizations. If you’re a marketer looking for help getting your sales team onboard with business to business social media, I’d love to talk about your challenges. Feel free to reach out to us over the phone or through email anytime.