The roles of sales and marketing were much more clearly defined before parts of the world became interconnected through digital devices.
Marketing departments in organizations generated leads and turned them over to the sales department for follow-up.
It was very clear before that businesses were the ones in charge, not the customers.
The past 10 years have changed all that.
With nearly unlimited access to data 24 hours a day, modern consumers often have extensive knowledge about a company, product, or service before speaking to a salesperson for the first time.
This has forced sales and marketing teams in developed countries across the world to abandon the delineation of tasks that worked so well for so long. These teams must integrate and learn about each other’s functions to provide customers with the best possible services.
Today, it’s critical for leading enterprises to recognize the role of social in sales and marketing alignment.
Introducing the concept of social selling
When people engage in social selling, it means that they use the power of their social networks to discover new prospects.
They eventually contact these people and start building relationships built on mutual trust. Ultimately, the goal of social selling is for sales professionals to meet or exceed their established goals.
One of the leading benefits of social selling is that it eliminates the need for sales professionals to make cold calls.
Salespeople have time to get to know their prospects and reach a level of trust that wouldn’t be possible when calling a stranger. This concept can apply just as easily to marketing teams.
Social selling tips for sales and marketing departments
Many sales organizations already involve marketing departments in social media management. The key to bringing a marketing team into social selling is to let each person know that he or she should focus on using social networks rather than social media to help develop leads. They should spend time each day researching social networks to find relevant leads that have a high likelihood of eventually contributing to the company’s revenue.
A social network such as LinkedIn helps marketing professionals learn more about the individual interests and needs of prospects rather than only their personal lives. Here are some additional tips that both sales and marketing professionals can use to their greatest advantage:
Set up Google alerts for mentions of the industry or product
Also known as social listening, the idea is to become aware of as many opportunities as possible to comment on posts or answer questions that can steer people closer to making a purchase.
Take advantage of content marketing
Recent industry data suggests that more than half of consumers read, view, or listen to a minimum of five pieces of online content before making any type of inquiry from the company. Offering how-to-guides, infographics, videos, blog posts, and other types of content helps consumers engage with the brand as early in the buying cycle as possible. Sales organizations should monitor engagement with each type of content to determine what people interact with and share the most often.
Never stop connecting
Salespeople who have been in the profession longer than the Internet has existed surely remember the mantra to always be closing.
The ABC acronym takes on a different twist in modern times to mean that both sales and marketing professionals should always be connecting. No opportunity is too insignificant to create connections that could later turn into a sale.
Update sales metrics
Lead scoring metrics are still important to monitor pipelines and sales revenue. However, metrics in the interconnected era are a bit different.
Sales organizations must be flexible to include the source of the lead and the level of engagement of prospects with each type of lead source. An unexpected benefit of measuring metrics in this manner is that it improves the alignment between sales and marketing teams.
Companies must provide training to enable cooperation between sales and marketing teams
Just because social selling has proven effective doesn’t mean that people in either department will pursue it on their own. They need enablement programs and in-depth guidelines that go beyond stating the value of social selling. Since most are already aware of that, they require demonstrations of best practices and practical advice they can implement right away.
Integrating the sales and marketing departments is just the start of an effective social selling program. Companies should also include other departments wherever possible with the primary goal of improving revenue. In addition to the above strategies, management should plan to work with sales and marketing to manage assets, manage content, and assist with training, onboarding, or whatever else the team needs for maximum productivity.