Five years ago, which is eons in technology time, sales expert John Golden predicted that successful sales professionals would rely heavily on social networks and tools built specifically for sourcing, collating, and analyzing social data. In his article, Sales Professionals Must Embrace Social CRM — or Risk Extinction, John highlights a very important change in the customer journey and acknowledges that buyers will most definitely source opinions from their social networks before continuing conversations with a seller.
In essence, the seller must respect that the buyer to a large degree owns the conversation and will dictate where and when it happens and, indeed, when the seller is a part of it and, just as important, when they are not. In other words, there may be parts of the sales process that the seller is completely shut out of, such as when a buyer, unknown to the seller, uses their LinkedIn professional network to perform some due diligence.
This significant shift in buyer behavior has had many repercussions for sales professionals. And, sadly many are failing to see the need to adapt to this new buying cycle. Today’s self-educated buyer is better suited to a cyclical sales approach versus the more structured funnel of the past. Similar to select your own ending books from childhood, buyers like to choose their own path and engage with sales representative via the communication channel of their choice and at any time they have the need.
The modern buyer is more likely to be engaged and stay engaged by a marketing-enabled sales process. Sales and marketing must firmly align strategies to achieve a consistent customer experience. And, sales professionals must understand that even though their role has changed, it is no less important. This change in process does not diminish the relevance of sales professionals in an organization — in fact, it plays to their strengths. Salespeople naturally forge relationships — and leveraging social will allow them to scale their networking efforts exponentially.
Social is not going away and what we currently refer to as social selling techniques will eventually become business standards. In much the way email has grown to be an integral part of business communication, so will Twitter, LinkedIn, and all the “who can guess” future networks. It is incredibly important for businesses and employees to embrace social as a communication channel. Because, as John so wisely states in his post, “…there is a need to identify that which has had an enduring impact and will continue to do so…”
What do you predict will endure in the future of business?
Originally Posted on Millennial CEO: http://millennialceo.com/social-media/future-social-business/