There is an ever-growing role when it comes to Social Media in sales and marketing initiatives today. The use of social platforms as an add-on to your sales/marketing strategies is much more pervasive, targeted, and results-driven than ever.
So how exactly do we approach the topic of social, especially as we navigate the nuances of the needs of sales teams and the role of marketing teams, and how better alignment between sales and marketing means better results? Is social really all that important in the marketing big picture? I think so. And it’s more important now than ever. Here’s why.
You probably don’t need statistics to see how attached we’ve all become to our smartphones and social accounts these days—all you need to do is sit in a public place for five minutes and count the number of down-turned heads. If you really want an eye-opener, go to an airport to do this research. You might think device obsession is for young people, but you’ll quickly find that people of all ages are immersed in their smartphones. The numbers back up the observations. Here are some interesting stats from Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog:
Those stats are every bit as impressive as you’d imagine, but what’s really important is breaking down what they mean for your sales and marketing efforts. At the end of the day, social—and mobile—is where the people are. Whatever your business is, I’m going to bet that you rely on people to grow it. Going to meet them where they already choose to spend their time are pretty basic sales marketing principles, and ones that can really pay off.
There are few absolutes in the business world, but here’s one exception: A successful business endeavor is one with a positive ROI that delivers as quickly as possible. Social gets a bit sticky when it comes to ROI because, while it can obviously be there, proving proves challenging for many marketers.
How do you put a value on engagement? Sure, there are vanity metrics you can measure—like and follows, brand loyalty and increased exposure, but where are those all important dollar signs? But beyond engagement, there are many ways to measure the effectiveness of your team’s social media efforts, the most important of which is to integrate social into your CRM and track results there. Social can help position your business development team (or your senior executives) as thought leaders and problem solvers in your industry.
Moreover, social can move the needle in specific ways like driving traffic to specific landing pages, spurring webinar registrations or whitepaper downloads, helping to build your email list, and fueling your lead generation efforts. The potential for tangible ROI is there–you just have to know what you’re doing and have a plan in place to measure and capture data.
In their Modern Marketing Guide ebook, the team at Oracle points out that mobile adds an element to the equation that can make tracking more difficult. But they offer up some easy solutions, including:
On average, consumers check their mobile devices 150 times per day. Think about that for a second. One hundred and fifty times each day! How often is your sales force doing the same? Probably pretty close to the same number of times—so, logic follows, involving them in your social marketing efforts should be an important part of your alignment efforts. In fact, it might even do the opposite—almost 73 percent of salespeople who use social media for work, for example, report outperforming their colleagues.
Taking this on will without question involve teaching or coaching your salespeople a bit on the best tactics and social for business etiquette, and it might even involve spoon-feeding them information and sharable content. But the time you spend training your sales team on the benefits of social selling, and helping them master social as part of their networking and prospecting efforts, will likely make a big difference come year-end. Your marketing team can’t (and shouldn’t) do this alone—so making sales part of the equation means that everyone wins.
I talked about brand loyalty and exposure above, but there are other reasons to embrace a strategy with a robust social media marketing component. They include:
We work with clients all the time who aren’t yet there when it comes to the integration of social in meaningful ways into their marketing operations, especially those in the B2B space–midsize companies and often very, very large ones.
And we realize the challenges they face—small internal teams, low budgets, not much internal expertise, lack of senior leadership buy-in, lack of interest/knowledge of sales team—you name it, we see it. But they’re getting there.
One of the pieces of advice I give on a regular basis is to start small. Identify some areas where you can really make a difference, find a handful of internal adopters, and go make it happen.
Once you’ve had some success, and you will, you’ve got a proof of concept that you can use to lobby for a bigger budget and wider adoption. It’s gotta start somewhere and you can make it happen.
Credit: Shelly Kramer
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