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Social Selling Marketing Automation

How Social Selling Can Complete Marketing Automation’s Mission

By Sander Biehn | Aug 23, 2016

Tools are critical to digital marketing success. This is why the Marketing Automation market has grown to over $1.62B per annum.

So, why has the promise of Marketing Automation fallen short with so many companies? For B2B marketers, the answer may be right in front of their noses. Integrating all aspects of their marketing automation tools with social selling efforts greatly increases measurable sales success.

This goes way beyond a simple hook to SalesForce that will pass leads on to sales. Sales needs to be front and center at the point of prospecting. Too many marketing automation tool try to take over the entire selling process and fail miserably. Studies show that customers are much less likely to interact with brand messages over a message sent by an individual.  Tools need to work in concert with the selling process. Lead generation can’t just be farmed out to the machines and be expected to succeed.

I will be the first one to tell you that email marketing is far from dead, but each day the balance shifts more toward pure social selling on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. These social media platforms are critical to Sales. For salespeople they are not simply ‘channels’, they are a means to find customers, start conversations and build relationships.

All-in-one marketing automation tools like HubSpot continue to be Marketing’s Swiss Army knife.  They listen for leads, push Marketing content and pass leads on to sales for follow up.  What more could you want or need? The answer is, plenty. Inclusion doesn’t mean integration.

Marketing must provide Sales with the right messages, tailored to customers and be customizable.

If content is so crucial to success, why isn’t Marketing arming Sales with content that doesn’t just inform, but also sells. Salespeople don’t have time to become social media experts. They need quick and easy ways to deliver messages that speak to their customers. The messaging they need has to be relevant to:

1) The industry vertical

2) The buyer’s title

3) Real world problems the buyers face

So why isn’t content created that fits this criteria?

Generic messages about products and promotions can fill sales social feeds, but have little impact with customers. Sales not only needs help to prevent ‘writer’s block’ but they also need the leeway to change the messaging to fit the customer they wish to interact with. Tools that don’t allow for some level of creativity will eventually prove constricting to sales success.

Sales must regularly post to social media to prove thought leadership.  Posting consistently on business topics is key to building a relevant following. A post or two a week will not be enough for a salesperson to prove online thought leadership.  Nor will Sales want to share every post that Marketing serves up. Marketing needs to provide enough content and Sales needs the freedom to pick and choose.

Social Selling needs to be reduced to a weekly task, not a full time job.  Giving sales teams the ability to schedule social media posts in the future will free them up to continue to use traditional methods to sell while growing a social media following.  Just like any good Marketing department has a content calendar, salespeople need to have one too.

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