Social selling equals efficient selling! What would you say if I told you that it is possible to sell an extensive transformation project based on trust and worth tens of thousands of euros after a mere 15 hours of sales work? Customers carry out prospecting themselves.
According to a study conducted by technology supplier Vainu.io, prospecting is the most laborious stage for a sales team.
I have carried out online sales activities since 2011, starting by networking with people engaged in Facebook discussions. A couple of years later, I began to use LinkedIn and Twitter actively and systematically. By generating content that contributes to the company’s and my own online visibility, I have carried out sales via social media channels in a service business that is based on personal relationships and trust. How can you achieve this? I will illustrate the benefits of social selling through my personal experiences.
Closing a deal on an extensive service package after 15 hours of active sales work
In spring 2017, we managed to interest a new prospect in our content, with the potential customer subscribing to our newsletter, downloading guides available on our website and visiting our blogs regularly. When we noticed that the prospect’s interest in our expertise had strengthened, I called her in early summer 2017.
Pleased to have been contacted, she outlined the situation at her company and we discussed content strategy approaches. I didn’t have to convince her of the benefits offered by a content strategy, which, from the perspective of a sales professional, meant that she had already taken several steps in her purchase process. During this initial phone call, we agreed on a time for a Skype presentation on the models that we apply to our customer-oriented marketing transformation projects. Over Skype, we continued from where we had left off after the first discussion.
The customer explained that her company was making changes to its strategy, which had led them to consider creating a content strategy in the course of 2018.
She asked me to provide a budget framework and description of the work stages, to enable them to create a budget during autumn 2017.
On the basis of our discussion, our customer contact person budgeted a content strategy project for 2018.
In early 2018, we conducted a new briefing session over Skype, touching on the company’s current situation and plans for international expansion.
We also discussed the markets the company wanted to expand to and the cornerstones of its new strategy.
This discussion created a foundation for our offer.
Additionally, we were told that a few other marketing companies would be asked for an offer.
The next step was to agree on a time for us to present our offer.
Our customer contact person provided us with an excellent brief on the aspects we should emphasise in our presentation.
What we achieved via social selling:
A change in the approach:
Utilising social selling, we guided an international organisation’s approach to marketing transformation in the direction we considered to be the most beneficial.
Trust: We fostered trust via all contacts, which included only two face-to-face meetings in the course of the year.
The customer carried out the prospecting stage independently.
A low requirement for meetings:
Only one meeting was held with the team that made the purchase decision.
Use of phone calls:
Four phone calls were made in the course of the year.
Active reading of content:
Our contact person is an enthusiastic reader of our newsletter and has also studied our content strategy guide.
Also, our contact person likes and actively shares our content via social media channels, which contributes greatly to our online impact and our visibility within her organisation.
We received valuable information on the team participating in the purchase decision because our contact person was interested in collaborating with us on the marketing transformation project.
Only about 15 hours was spent on sales work (including meetings, assistance in budgeting and the preparation of the offer and related presentation).
Up to 80% of our customer contact person’s purchase process took place online.
This benefits both parties in the form of successful sales and marketing.
With our content, we convinced our customer contact person to budget her company’s content strategy project under our guidance.
What’s more, by supporting her with our content, we gained an active internal seller in her.
The time spent on selling was kept to a minimum, with each encounter (whether online or in person) offering to the customer added value and new insight into transformation work.
In addition, we gained valuable information on factors and issues that were emphasised within her organisation.
We managed to convey to the contact person and the decision-making team our vision of the properties that their partner should have and how the transformation should be realised.
Just as our content played a major role in this project, it has also guided several purchase-decision-makers in a similar position towards a process like this – efficient and ideal for us! Do you think that an efficient and value-generating model like this could be the way forward for you when you want to kickstart new customer relationships? Take steps towards gaining new followers under our guidance and make your in-person sales motivating and efficient!