What Is Marketing’s Role in B2B Social Selling?
Here’s one of the best-kept secrets of social selling: If you want your sales team to be successful on social media, you need help from your marketing department. Without strong support from Marketing, getting your salespeople on social media is like herding cats.
But how exactly are marketers supposed to facilitate social selling? Let’s take a look at what the researchers are saying.
What’s Marketing’s Job in All of This?
On the topic of social selling, the leading research firms have surprisingly similar takes: Marketing needs to play a key role in social selling. As you skim the quotes below, note the similarities.
Peter O’Neill of Forrester writes:
The Aberdeen Group states:
Pop quiz: In one word, what unites these two quotes?
Answer: Content. (If you’re more verbose, you might respond with, “Sales enablement through content.”)
Indeed, a key component of any social selling program is content. And both Forrester and the Aberdeen Group position Marketing as the business unit that’s responsible for supplying content to Sales for their social networks.
Why Do You Need Content?
Think about it. If your salespeople don’t have content, what else are they going to share on social media? How will prospects notice them? How will they break the ice with potential buyers?
Through content, you can showcase your salespeople’s knowledge, turn them into go-to resources for industry-related insights, and empower them to have conversations with potential buyers.
Why Should Marketing Be Involved?
The term “social selling” contains the word “selling,” which leads you to believe that the program falls exclusively under the purview of Sales. Yet, the researchers cited above tell you to involve the marketing team. Why is that?
1. Your marketing team can communicate best practices on social media.
Most likely, your marketing team has led your company’s foray into social media, and since they have spent significant time on social media, they understand what works and what doesn’t work. They understand what buyers like to read and what they don’t like to read. Encourage your marketing team to share their knowledge with the sales team and create clearly defined best practices for them.
2. Your marketing team understands the right content mix.
It’s silly to think that all prospects on social media are ready to buy your product. On social media, some people may be in denial about their problem. They may have no clue that they need your product or services, and you don’t want to bombard those early-stage buyers with demo requests or come across as too pushy early on.
That’s why you need your marketers. Whereas salespeople are accustomed to discussing products and services with people who are actively seeking solutions, marketers have a more expansive view of the buyer’s journey.
Marketers are quite good at matching content to each stage of the journey, and they know what’s the right content mix. For example, they understand that thought leadership content performs better than product-oriented content on social media, and they will provide your sales team with a wide variety of content to share.
3. Your marketing team is familiar with your company’s readiness.
Let’s face it. Some companies are not ready for social selling. They’ve barely dipped their toes in the world of social media, and they’re just starting to discover what works.
But if your company has been active on social media for some time, your marketing team will have a realistic picture of your company’s readiness. They know where your company is right now and where your company should be in the future. And they will have an idea of how the sales organization can fit into the social vision for your company.
The Bottom Line
Before you jump into social selling, make sure that you have the support of your marketing department. The marketers in your company will be able to assess your company’s current situation, provide best practices, and set your salespeople up for success by supplying them with the right content and the right messages.
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