Potential Role of Social Media in the Sales Process

Needless to say that social media sites are becoming popular by the day; these platforms are being used for more than just meeting new people. Businesses around the globe are starting to utilize them as a way to increase their marketing and sales efforts and help to get their brand noticed online. This is considered to be a tool that SMEs and large companies can use to increase their market reach and build a larger global market.

Hereafter the main impacts/roles of social media the sales process:

Step in the Sales Process / Behaviors

Role of Social Media

Understanding the Customer

Creating/joining/participating in field-specific LinkedIn groups.

Knowledge gathering Prospecting

Monitoring comments to understand how message is perceived, or what other information is wanted (Johnson & Johnson).

Lead generation

Company product blogs with active comment monitoring and question feedback. Allowing open membership to generate future client list.

Determining communication styles

Establishing a Twitter presence.

Identifying risks/buying situation

Monitoring comments to understand attitudes toward purchasing and buying preferences.

Approaching the Customer

Posting news stories on Facebook.

Establishing credibility

Facebook promotions inviting participation in new product testing (Chick- fil-A), or sharing stories about community involvement and fun activities that build brand.

Gaining attention

LinkedIn surveys and polls to generate industry discussion about relevant topics.

Rapport building

Tweeting about conferences/results/innovation.

Needs Discovery

Tweeting to solicit customer/competitor feedback.

Questioning

Creating an app to solicit customer product and service ideas (My Starbucks Idea).

Listening 

Generating blog posts designed specifically to ignite conversation or debate.

Understanding motives

Asking Facebook fans to vote in polls or comment on proposed changes to products, services, or logos.

Presentation
Demonstrating value propositions Prescribing a solution
Using visual aids/demonstrations

Chatter to collaborate with customers on proposals and campaigns. Sharing success stories via Facebook.
YouTube channel to provide information to customers.

Tweeting about price specials, coupons, loyalty rewards, or contests.

Close

Facebook or Twitter to drive clients to sales channels. Chatter to work one- on-one to resolve deal inhibitors. Blogs or LinkedIn to address issues raised by competitors or unhappy clients.

Asking for the sale

Tweets to VIP clientele to sell special concert or sports event seating.

Overcoming objections 

Sharing success stories via LinkedIn or Facebook posts.

Negotiation

Blogs to address issues raised about products or services. Facebook posts to ask for donations.

Service and Follow-Up 

Following customers on Twitter. Mining their fans and followers for prospects.

Communication

Tweets to announce sales goals, product success, new products. Facebook promotions and rewards for referring friends or asking them to like/follow your posts.

Gaining referrals
Determining future sales opportunities

LinkedIn and Facebook to ask for referrals. Tweeting to communicate success stories.

 

A recap by Mehdi Sarsar from Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management , T1, P312

 

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