Social selling will be a key sales strategy in the future. You don't have to take my word for it. Just take a look at how the term has grown in popularity over time, according to Google trends.
While there are still plenty of sales teams out there producing results from more traditional methods — cold calling and other interruption-centric strategies — we have seen the industry as a whole steadily trend toward a more social approach to selling.
There are a few reasons for this. First, social selling produces better, more consistent results as you build your credibility and following over time. Second, it's a more natural sales process that buyers and salespeople alike enjoy because it is devoid of the high-pressure scenarios that make traditional sales strategies uncomfortable at times.
But let's dig deeper into why those two things are real, and why social media selling is the future of digital sales.
Social Selling is a Process, Not a Tool
Although we often refer to social selling as a tool, social selling is a process. It's a series of steps that lead to a more valuable engagement for both parties. Those steps include:
The "tool" in selling is your social skills and your ability to understand your prospects' position. Social selling is all about genuine interactions and providing fair value to your customers, not leveraging new tools and gimmicks for incremental boosts in success.
Social Media Selling Places Focus on Relationships
Social media selling can feel a bit awkward at first because it eschews traditional acceptable sales tactics built around the assumption that you don't have time to create real, genuine relationships with prospects over time and instead uses tricks and gimmicks to mimic the building of that relationship in a fraction of the time.
Social selling focuses on a few key areas, drawn out over weeks and months instead of hours and days:
Social selling naturally pushes sales reps to educate their prospects slowly over time, while focusing on the specific ways that they can provide value to that particular subject. Every engagement is tailored to their needs — not some sales script that offers the best conversion rate.
A Better Understanding of Customers
One often overlooked benefit of social media selling (and one of the reasons why it will continue to grow into its role as the future of digital sales) is that it helps sales reps to understand their prospects and customers on a personal level. Because social selling encourages engagement and discussion between agents and prospects, they learn more about the people they are selling to.
When you understand your customers, you learn about the different intricate issues that other organizations deal with as they relate to your product. Then, you can position your product as the solution to their exact problems. A better understanding of your customers results in a better sales experience for both the buyer and the sales rep. At its heart, that is why social selling has snowballed over the last decade as social media has emerged.