There has always been a gap between sales and marketing, but more and more companies realize that closing this gap is mandatory for business success.
Marketing and sales are truly one word and aligning them strategically can completely transform a business, as both teams can seamlessly work together toward a common goal. They can focus on what matters, and together generate qualified leads and conversions that will help their company grow.
To get the most out of your sales and marketing, you need to become familiar with the sales and marketing funnel, because that’s the path that your customers travel through when they become aware of your brand.
Once you get the hang of it, you can dive into the synchronization of digital marketing and social selling as the most important activities for leveraging the sales and marketing funnel.
Understanding the Sales & Marketing Funnel
The sales and marketing funnel represents stages through which your prospects and leads go through to become your customers. It is made up of the following six stages:
- Awareness – Potential customers become aware of your brand after you promote it and show that your products or services could provide value.
- Interest – This is where your prospects are leads that are interested in your products or services and want to learn more about you, which is why you need to start building meaningful relationships with them.
- Consideration – This is where you deliver targeted, useful, and relevant content to your qualified leads to nurture them, and effectively guide them to the next state in your funnel.
- Intent – Once you know your prospects are interested in what you offer, you start directing them toward making a purchase by showcasing the real value of your offerings.
- Evaluation – Your leads are determining whether or not your products or services will satisfy their needs, which is why this is the stage where you need to truly compel them to make a purchase by convincing them that your products or services are exactly what they need.
- Purchase – This is the stage where your leads convert into customers. If you provide them with an excellent experience, they’ll fuel your sales and marketing funnel with referrals, so the process can effectively start once again.
Digital Marketing and Its Main Goals
Digital marketing is the process of promoting products or services using various digital media, both online and offline.
Therefore, digital marketing includes Internet marketing (SEM, SEO, PPC, and website, email marketing, online banner ads, social media, and mobile markets), and offline digital channels (radio, TV, digital billboards, and SMS).
Digital marketers have the goal of reaching their target audience via various digital channels and promoting their products and services to convert their leads into customers effectively.
They showcase the real value of everything they offer through the content they create and deliver, showing at the same time all the benefits that people will experience if they engage in their brand.
With proper strategies in place, and the right digital channels (those that their target customers are using), digital marketers guide their leads through the sales and marketing funnel, ultimately converting them, and increasing sales and ROI.
Those two increases are their ultimate goals, as they help them grow and attract an even larger number of customers.
Social Selling and Its Main Goals
Social selling is the process of using social media as a marketing funnel to interact with your prospects, leads, and customers directly. You communicate with them regularly to build trust and form strong relationships that will result in more conversions, customer loyalty, and growth.
If you haven’t yet, you should set up a social selling strategy right now, because it can help you reach a wider audience on a global scale. It will help you generate many more qualified leads and conversions, and forge strong connections with your prospects and customers, ultimately increasing your sales and ROI.
Social sellers ultimately want the same as digital marketers, but they’re focused only on social media. They are, after all, one of the types of digital marketers.
They want to connect with as many qualified leads as possible on social media and build meaningful relationships with them. They actively communicate with social followers daily, building trust with them, and guiding them toward the end of the sales and marketing funnel.
Social sellers do so by reaching their followers on an emotional level, responding to their comments and messages, always communicating honestly, and showing that they genuinely care about their followers.
Showing that they care about meeting consumer needs more than about making sales is what makes people trust them, and significantly increases engagement.
The Differences Between the Digital Marketing and Social Selling Approach
Digital marketing and social selling are quite similar, as both are focused on promoting a business and attracting qualified leads.
The main difference between them is that social selling is aimed at social media promotion only, while digital marketing extends to all the other activities for promoting a business both on online and offline channels, including social selling.
Therefore, social selling is a part of digital marketing.
Where Social Selling and Digital Marketing Converge
Social sellers and digital marketers meet at the process of content creation and the way they promote their content. Content is what compels people to engage in a brand and make a purchase. It’s the key to achieving the goals of all digital marketing and social selling activities.
Raising brand awareness, as well as generating and converting leads, is all about building trust. Sharing high-quality, unique, useful, compelling content that is relevant to your target audience’s pain points is precisely what helps you build that trust.
It helps you humanize your brand, and give it a personality that your target audience will want to get to know better. It’s what helps you stand out in the vast sea of competition, and inspire brand loyalty and advocacy.
To achieve all this, you need to synchronize your social selling and digital marketing teams. When they join forces, they can identify and address customer pain points, generate qualified leads, convert them, and nurture and retain customers.
The most crucial assets to leverage to achieve the goals of both teams include:
- Blog – Your blog should be your target audience’s go-to source for relevant and useful content that will address their pain points, and provide them with ideal solutions to their problems.
- Images – Images tap into people’s emotions and convey strategies and concepts much quicker than long articles. You should enrich your blog posts with high-quality, eye-catching, relevant images that will perfectly match every piece of content.
- Videos – Videos have the power to influence people’s purchase decisions, especially when it comes to testimonials. Apart from customer testimonials, you should also create promotional videos, explainer videos, brand videos, product review videos, event videos, webinars, and any other type that works for your brand.
- Infographics – Using infographics in your content strategy will help you increase engagement, and establish yourself as an expert in your field. They’re eye-catchy, easily digestible, shareable, and linkable, so they’re great for driving more traffic to your website and increasing sales.
- eBooks & Case Studies – Offering eBooks and sharing case studies will also help you paint the picture of a credible professional who knows exactly what they’re talking about. These assets make people trust you more, and even help you become a thought leader. What’s more, case studies provide proof of the quality of your offerings, as they show facts and visuals on how your services or products have improved someone’s life.
- Social Media Posts – Social media posts increase brand awareness, drive more traffic to your site, increase your online visibility and SEO ranking, improve your lead generation and conversion rates, build brand authority and thought leadership, personalize and humanize your brand, and inspire brand loyalty and advocacy.
How Digital Marketing and Social Selling Teams Utilize Content
Every successful digital marketing and social selling team should consider the three primary stages of the buyer’s journey to create quality content. Here’s what each stage requires and how both teams utilize content.
1. Awareness Stage
At this stage, your potential customers are becoming aware of a particular problem or need. They start searching for solutions to their pain points, which is where you come in.
Your digital marketing team can attract those potential customers with interesting and useful blog posts, educational content, infographics, eBooks, research studies, and anything else that will provide them with relevant answers.
Your social selling team can further guide them through the sales and marketing funnel with social media posts, social discussions, and CTAs.
2. Consideration Stage
At this stage, your potential customers know exactly what they need, but they want to weigh all their available options before committing to a particular brand. They start comparing brands and prices so that they can make the right choice.
This is where your case studies, comparison blog posts, explainer videos, and expert guides come into play, which is what your digital marketers are responsible for. It’s your social selling team’s job to regularly share them on social media, along with webinars, interesting facts, and useful FAQ pages.
3. Decision Stage
Here, your prospects make their final purchase decision, so providing them with brand-specific content that highlights your value proposition is critical. You can leverage product demos, product comparisons, product review videos, testimonials, case studies, etc.
Your digital marketers should create those assets with the target audience’s needs in mind, while your social sellers should share them on social media, along with compelling CTAs to effectively convert your leads.
Sales Enablement Tools & Software
Sales enablement tools help nurture leads, increase their engagement, and boost sales and revenue. They’re also perfect for aligning your marketing and sales teams.
The best sales enablement tools you should utilize are:
- Content creation tools – Bloomfire
- Email tracking software – Mixmax, SalesHandy, Hubspot Sales Software
- Automation and tracking tools – Marketo, Fileboard, Act-On
- Appointment scheduling and reminder tools – Calendly, FollowUp
- Workflow integration software – Marketo Sales Connect
As you can see, synchronizing the digital marketers and social sellers on your team leads to better results. It raises brand awareness, increases traffic, attracts the right kind of audience, increases interest and engagement, converts qualified leads into customers, and boosts sales and ROI.
Once your digital marketing and social selling teams join forces, you’re on the right path to growing your business.