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Social Media Marketing – How to Effectively Drive Sales

Social Media Van
By now you probably know that the key to an effective social media marketing campaign is being consistent in sharing valuable information. And, of course, one of the main goals of many businesses that embark on a social media campaign is to raise more revenue. The following tips should help you come up with content pieces that can effectively steer you towards the fulfillment of your sales goals.

Improving Your Sales Discovery Process

No matter how extensive your experience is in selling, there will always be room for improvement. The following tips may just be what you need to improve your team’s sales discovery process.

Preparation

Preparation has always been and will always be the key to success in sales discovery. Here is how you can effectively prepare for a truly valuable sales discovery session:

  1. Objectively assess your situation
    In order for you to come up with effective ways of offering valuable information to your target audience, you first have to know exactly where you’ve been, where you are right now, and where you intend to go. Ask yourself what you know about your audience and what you still need to know. Remember that you need to know as much as you can about your target in order to deliver messages that would resonate with them.
  2. Consider the buyer/s
    Okay, so now you know where you stand in terms of knowing your audience. You can’t just stop there. The next thing to do is consider the specific needs of your buyer where content is concerned. Are you targeting a technical buyer? In this case, the sales discovery needs to be technically focused, right? Learn the specific value drivers of each type of buyer you plan to interact with so you can give them exactly what they need when they need it.
  3. Add value
    As soon as you’ve determined what your buyer’s value drivers are, ask yourself how these value drivers match with the knowledge and information you have at your disposal. This should give you a good idea as to where your discovery call should be taken. It is typically a good idea to take the discovery call to the economic buyer early in the sales cycle and to the technical buyer in the middle of the sales cycle. The key is to treat each discovery session as an opportunity to better understand the factors that influence buyer behavior.

Silence

What does silence have to do with the sales discovery process? Well, believe it or not, it can be your best tool for effective sales discovery. Bear in mind that in a discovery session, the conversation isn’t about you. It’s about the buyer. That’s why you need to be quiet and listen. Limit yourself to five questions, which you know will help you get the answers you need. Wait 5-10 seconds after the buyer has stopped talking to see if he has more to say. Every time your prospect speaks, listen carefully to what he is saying. That’s how you get the most valuable information.

Asking Tough Questions

In order to effectively offer valuable information to your target audience, you need to ask some solid questions during the sales discovery process. Remember, though, that you can’t just go into a sales discovery session and ask the tough questions right off the bat. You have to earn the right to ask those questions. Start with a general question and then use your listening skills to gradually earn the right to ask the tough questions. It may be a bit uncomfortable, but be sure to ask the tough questions with confidence and finish the conversation on a strong note, gaining commitment to talk about a solution next time.

Creating Solutions That Set You Apart

If you’ve effectively gone through the sales discovery process, the next step should be finding solutions that’ll set you apart from the competition. Your target audience should see not only that you offer valuable solutions, but also that you offer something your competitors do not. Here are some tips on how to accomplish this purpose:

  1. Map out solutions
    The discovery process should have helped you uncover specific problems your prospects want to solve. Map out your solutions by creating a link between the problem and the positive outcome your prospects are trying to achieve.

Solution

When you map out your solutions, you need to create a viable link between the buyer’s problem and the positive outcome he wants to achieve. Openclipart.org photo by cyberscooty

  • Focus on the proposed value
    Any message you send out should focus on the value you offer, rather than on other pieces of information. Your experience in the field may be helpful in allowing prospects to get to know you, but it won’t mean anything unless you can offer something of value that’ll help them get to where they want to be.
  • Provide proof
    Anybody can claim to have the perfect solution to a problem, but not everyone can offer proof. Testimonials and third-party references could be very helpful, as they provide tangible proof of the solution that you’re offering. This way, your prospects won’t just be taking your word for it, but other people will be backing you up.

Possible Reasons for Failing in Your Sales Initiative

To ensure the success of your next sales initiative, it may be wise to take a look at some possible reasons why you might fail. Needless to say, you should do your best to avoid these pitfalls.

Too Much Delegating

There are indeed some things you can (and should) delegate, but leadership isn’t one of them. If you want a new sales message to succeed, then you have to make your team believe in that message first. And in order to make each member of your team believe in the message, you have to personally inspire belief in them. This means you need to take active participation in the initiative. Don’t just schedule meetings; be in those meetings. Don’t just organize workshops and design sessions; be in those sessions.

The Miracle Cloud

What is a miracle cloud? It is an unrealistic expectation within which many business owners and sales managers operate. It is associated with this kind of thinking: “I’ve got my sales initiative all ready. As soon as I put it out there, people will surely love it and our efforts will be rewarded.” You don’t expect to do anything to push your initiative; you just expect it to become an effortless success.

Yes, miracles do happen, but they don’t happen very often, and certainly not to everyone. The key to success for your sales initiative is not in hoping for a miracle, but in making sure the initiative is relevant to the results of the sales discovery process, reinforcing the initiative with training and coaching sessions, and measuring the results of the initiative based on tangible metrics.

Mismanagement of the Grieving Process

People will always view change as a painful process. And in most cases, people will only agree to the change if the pain of NOT changing is greater than the pain brought about by the change. As a leader, you should realize that a new sales initiative is likely to introduce change to your team, and you need to be able to help them manage the pain this change is likely going to bring.

Some members of your team will be able to accept change quickly; be sure to reward them. You may then seek their help in getting the rest of the team to believe in the initiative. If, after a majority of the team has already learned to accept the new initiative, there are still a few who resist it, it may be best to drop them; they could just be bogging you down. What’s important is that you DO NOT ignore the grieving process.

Getting the Wrong People for the Job

You know there are some things that need fixing with your sales team, but you’re reluctant to hire a third-party consultant to help you do the fixing. Consultants, after all, charge exorbitant fees. But if you really have NO ONE on your team who can realistically help you fix their issues, then hiring a consultant may well be worth the cost. Of course, if the grieving process has been managed well enough, you may no longer have issues to fix.

Too Much, Too Soon

You feel that you’re ready for a sales kickoff. That’s fine. Just make sure you won’t try to do too much, too soon. It’s understandable that you’re excited about the kickoff, but your excitement shouldn’t prevent you from launching a systematic execution of the event. Take some advice from your implementers; they’re the ones who’ve been executing kickoffs for years. They should be able to suggest a realistic scope and timeline for your kickoff, which will tell you what kind of resources you’ll need.

By heeding the above tips and guidelines, you should be able to effectively present your value to your sales team, your colleagues, and ultimately, to your social media networks. And when these people recognize your value, that’s when you can effectively drive sales.

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