How the digital age is transforming the traditional salesperson

The rise of social media has vastly impacted consumer behavior. As a result, sales teams must adapt their strategies accordingly in order to keep up with the competition.
20 June 2018

It’s worth talking to your salespeople about using social media to boost their reach. Source: Shutterstock

Long gone are the days when salespeople were the go-to experts before any sale took place.

Due to advancements in technology, consumers habits have changed. Individuals no longer rely solely on the influence of companies.

Today’s consumers are empowered by access to a wealth of information from social networks and digital devices. As such, they are well equipped to carry out in-depth research on a particular product.

As a result, consumers are expecting more from businesses. And in order to survive the hyper-competitive business landscape of today, brands must keep up with the changing trends.

In 2019, it is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe. And according to research by Price Waterhouse Cooper, 78 percent of consumers are influenced by social media in some way when making a purchase.

Consumers of today are influenced by social media when deciding on a product or service. Source: Shutterstock

Due to this shift in behavior, over the past few years, social selling has gained the attention of sales professionals looking to succeed in the altered customer buying landscape.

In a nutshell, social selling is the leveraging of social media by salespeople to engage and interact with their target audience. Successful social sellers can be characterized as thought leaders through the value they provide via industry insights, sharing their expert opinion, and offering solutions to the consumer through insightful content.

The ultimate goal of the social seller is to build a valuable, trusting relationship with the customer until they are comfortable enough to invest in the product or service.

So, how must businesses adapt to these modern sales trends?

TechHQ spoke with Jordi Gili, founder of Execus, a social selling consulting service and approved training partner of LinkedIn Sales Solutions.

The company offers support to sales management, sales networks, and professionals who are wanting to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital and social media sales strategies.

Gili shared the following tips for those sales teams wanting to leverage the power of social:

Understand where your clients are

According to Gili, a common mistake that many salespeople make when trying to leverage social networks is making the assumption that all your targeted customers can be found on the same platforms.

“The first question would be where’s your client? This may be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram. But the key is to understand where your client is and not to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to social selling,” explained Gili.

Get noticed and become relevant

After understanding where to find your clients, according to Gili, the next step would be to get noticed… but not jump right into selling.

“You need to ensure that your potential client recognizes you as a person and not a machine,” explains Gili.

From this, you must provide value to your audience in some way… to become relevant!

“Become the subject-matter expert that they can go to for questions, becoming a reference in your particular niche. But a good salesperson isn’t just about becoming a good reference point. A good salesperson needs to go out and spark conversations with potential customers,” said Gili.

Marketing and sales must align closely together

A predominant reason why people are failing at social selling is due to them not tailoring their marketing approach to the sales initiative.

“Marketers need to produce the right, targeted content so salespeople can move it around and sell it one to one on social,” explains Gili.

By integrating compelling content with your social selling efforts, you can truly drive sales growth. In fact, there has never been a more important role for content than social selling.

Marketing and sales must work closely together to achieve social-selling success. Source: Shutterstock

However, getting this content to the right person is vital. Marketing and sales must work together to create content that is going to present some sort of value to prospects. It should cover common pain points that will get customers to pay attention to the product or service you are offering.

By aligning sales and marketing closely together, you will be sure to create some targeted, engaging, social selling ammunition.

Bring in tech to increase productivity

Once you form a social-selling strategy based on creating, sharing, and engaging with targeted content on the right social media networks, the next step is to introduce technology to help escalate this strategy.

“The technology will transform the serendipity to science,” explained Gili.

Technology will help you scale and have hundreds of conversations at the same time with your target audience. Every single individual should have a one-to-one experience and a great interaction with you, and technology can help with this.

For instance, LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps salespersons to become three times more productive than having a free LinkedIn account. By reaching out to more customers, this will increase your likelihood of scoring a sale.

“When it comes to being productive, time is money,” said Gili.

For platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite can really streamline your social selling initiatives.

They allow you to do things such as track content engagement in order to uncover which stories and tactics work best with your audience, manage your brand reputation, measure the success of individual sales reps, and so much more.

So, if your sales team aren’t harnessing the power of social media, it really is time to start.