Social Media has become a staple to many companies. Recent research indicates that 80% of companies with at least 100 employees will use social media marketing this year. That’s up from about 75% last year. Based on the US Census from 2007 that’s millions of establishments that are leveraging social media.

social selling statistics

Companies have realized that a solid social media strategy is vital to the companies goals for revenue and growth. Emphasis still remains on common business goals like

  • Customer retention
  • Customer acquisition
  • Customer profitability
  • Branding

With these priorities in place, traditional methods of execution are being supplemented by social media. Even with such large numbers of companies leveraging social media, research shows that only 17% of them feel they are ahead of the curve when it comes to using social media to achieve these goals. (source)

One of the things I notice most when talking to companies about their social media strategies is that it focuses primarily around marketing and support. These have obvious benefits that can be measured and scaled to show an ROI.

What we are finding more of now are companies that want to be in that group of companies that are leveraging social media a head of the curve. This is done through the use of applications and training. Where many companies are building a more strategic focus is in their sales teams where social media is getting used to drive revenue and customer acquisition.

With sales enablement and sales intelligence applications the ability to turn social media into a sales tool becomes a reality and even a necessity to many companies that see the financial benefit of them.

When companies become active in social networks with the goals listed above, the actions should not stop with the marketing department. Sales teams should be trained and active in the networks where marketing has identified new prospects. The goal is to bring the prospects from a virtual environment into a live conversation with the sales team. This may be easier with some prospects than others but some prospects will gladly take a demo or a call with the sales team but want an active engagement online as well during the buying process.

If your company is not activating the sales team members to engage in social media where the prospects are responsive (that’s where you found them originally) then you risk losing them. Your sales team may lose them in the sea of other emails and calls that they receive on a daily basis.

When a prospect is engaged online and sales or lead qualification gets involved there should be an effort to incorporate a social selling strategy that blends common sales process with an online one. You’ll find more engaged buyers and customers that communicate with you in many channels and become advocates for your company during the buying process and throughout their time as a customer.

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