Social selling is required to remain competitive in a vastly-changing world where people, processes, places, and things are – in some way – connected digitally. These changes have led to a significant shift in B2B buying behavior, where customers no longer need to speak to a vendor to solve a problem.
Social selling responds to this by enabling marketers and sales reps to gain real-time insights of the buyer to help build trust and credibility from the moment a customer begins his or her journey.
Why is a social selling approach relevant? Often, up to 70 percent of the buyer’s journey and up to 90 percent of the purchase decision are completed before prospects speak to a representative from the company. In other words: We’re losing opportunities if we wait for the phone to ring or an online contact form to be submitted.
An enterprise-savvy social selling program requires three key ingredients:
- Continuous improvement
Change management quickly becomes relevant any time a norm is disrupted – and social selling has quickly become an industry-wide sales enablement disrupter over the past few years.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
A successful social selling program requires a symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing, across all levels of the organization (top-down and bottom-up). As SAP’s Global Commercial Sales COO, Tony Pante, said “Global marketing and global commercial sales, through close alignment, have helped create a social selling culture!”
SAP’s marketing team joined hands with sales stakeholders to run formal training and enablement initiatives across the company, and scale the program with a unique “train the trainer” program. This allowed people anywhere in the world at SAP to become a Social Selling Certified Trainer to help SAP’s workforce transform marketing and selling behaviors in greater magnitude. Today, SAP has more than 150 trainers worldwide that roll up to more than 30 regional program managers – 100 percent voluntarily! The result: more than 7,500 trainees and more than 10,000 LinkedIn Sales Navigator licenses have been issued.
Tools of the Trade: LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Grapevine6, and More
Starting with the initial connection point, marketing and sales reps engage buyers via social media – either through an InMail, an introduction request through TeamLink, a connection request, or a direct message on Twitter, WeChat, or Xing. With LinkedIn Sales Navigator, reps can follow leads and accounts, build camaraderie, conduct comprehensive account planning, and identify buying signals from shared articles, group discussions, etc.
Once connected, reps can leverage tools such as Videolicious to humanize the experience by creating and sharing personalized videos (e.g., video business card, demo video of a solution, or “thank you” video following a meeting). Sales reps can also use the Virtual Studio technology to create an immersive and interactive meeting with the customer.
Moreover, sales reps can employ SAP Jam Social Collaboration technology to elicit sales expertise, serve up timely and relevant content for the customer, and provide a forum for two-way communication and customer engagement. Other social selling tools such as Grapevine6 help transform the way marketing and sales reps share content to their networks to build credibility and share relevant, engaging, and educational content with their audience.
Performance is tracked inside SAP’s CRM and C4C systems, where flags have been strategically integrated at all critical points of the funnel, allowing marketing and sales reps to attribute social-selling-accelerated activities.
Results: 60 Percent Increase in Sales Quota Attainment
SAP’s social sellers convert opportunities up to two percentage points higher, lift sales quota attainment by 60 percent, and increase opportunity ownership by 200 percent, resulting in deals that are 600 percent larger in revenue on average.
Social selling has become such a hot topic that Coffee-Break with Game Changers is dedicating an entire series to exploring its various facets and promoting best practices for salespeople. To listen to other shows in this series, visit the SAP Radio area of the SAP News Center.