In prior blogs, S∙I∙R has stated that we view the use of social media and digital marketing as a viable component of a well thought-out sales strategy. The key word here is: component. To state the obvious (and our experience bears this out) there is no single “silver bullet” in the sales and marketing arsenal. This is why S∙I∙R teams with people and companies that utilize social media to enhance and improve their sales outcome. In fact, this blog is a great example of collaboration with one such person.
There are many benefits to utilizing social media. Consider your sales funnel/pipeline (read more about your sales pipeline here). Incorporating digital marketing with your other lead generation tactics increases your prospect list. It also gives prospects a place to get to know you. Potential customers will read your online reviews, peruse your webpage, receive ‘stay-in-touch’ emails, and feel the company culture via social media. Potential employees are also looking for company culture and opportunity. (When that is appropriate). All of this is possible, but there is, of course, a key consideration: investment – your investment of time, resources and money. Who will head up the digital campaigns? How are your marketing dollars allocated? Do you want to feature paid ads? Who will field the inquiries in a timely manner? How do you assure that all the “metrics” you are achieving are converting into actual sales dollars?
Digital marketing is a long play. It takes time for your SEO and social media efforts to ramp up and become effective. Likewise, building an audience takes time and patience. You may hear anecdotal information about a shiny new digital platform that worked well for someone else. Proceed, but with realistic expectations: there is no silver bullet in sales. Consider digital marketing another effective & necessary tool in your toolkit, and by all means engage in it, but do not sacrifice your other sales activity. (Have your read our “primer” on lead generation tactics?)
Previously, we raised the question: “Who will handle the social media inquiries?”
This varies by company and industry and the decision on who to follow up with social media inquiries depends on volume. Most platforms include an acknowledgment option so that follow up can happen the next business day. If capturing inquiries is time sensitive, an employee or service will need to be engaged. An inside sales person or customer service rep. can respond or a junior salesperson can get warm leads to build their book of business. All inquiries should receive a personalized response within 24 hours.
Here’s a downloadable graphic from a recent post about the sales funnel/pipeline:
Our sales funnel / pipeline depicts these inquiries as “touches” in the form of landing pages, opt-ins / opt-outs, application forms, etc.) These are ways to distinguish “tire kickers” from potential customers. In simple terms, these “touches” are points for us to learn about the prospect:
- Are they curious, willing to learn more but don’t need a contact?
- Do they want a contact for more specific information and to have questions answered?
- Are they ready to be placed in the active sales process?
Don’t forget, their responses are data waiting to be harvested and put to good use to target the right prospects and deliver the right message to GROW SALES (more to follow in our next blog on using targeted sales and marketing tactics).
Social media selling is passive up to a point. As with all sales, there is a call-to-action moment when we do “the ask”. Here is where we distinguish our shopper from our buyers. If the prospect exits the funnel here, there are digital marketing strategies to keep us top of mind for a potential sale later.
S∙I∙R wants to acknowledge Janelle Weaver for her input in writing this blog. Her willingness to share her expertise in the use of social media has added greatly to its content. Teaming with Janelle is proof on how sales and marketing is a hand-in-glove approach and not separate endeavors.
Would you like to learn more about the role of digital marketing and social media in your sales strategy? Let’s keep the conversation going. To get in -touch with S-I-R, contact us on our website, by phone at 717-852-8068, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.