B2B Social Selling

Great artists use oil and canvas as their medium. As sales enablers, our medium is clarity, congruency, and content. When we paint the picture properly, buyers become motivated to say yes to our offerings. Unlike artists who typically work solo on their masterpieces, for us, it requires a team and proper implementation of social selling techniques to deliver masterful results.

Three Cs of Social Selling

Why? Because buyers don’t purchase the best solutions; they purchase from people who care and solutions they understand. Social selling is a partnership between Sales and Marketing. Caring is a human emotion and happens person-to-person. Therefore, caring must come from a salesperson who cares. On the other hand, developing understandable solutions is a marketing function. When marketers deliver caring and understandable solutions in a complementary fashion, you have a masterpiece on your hands.

Often, businesses struggle with successful implementation of social selling or sales enablement activities because these two departments operate in silos. Worse yet, these departments can treat each other like an old married couple that can’t seem to get along.

Do your sales and marketing teams act like an old married couple? Vende Social has been helping B2Bs clarify their message and develop winning online solutions for over 18 years. Let’s talk and see if we can help.

Why sales and marketing departments are at odds with one another

There are 3 main reasons sales and marketing teams struggle to work well together:

  1. Defining a lead – In the B2B world there are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). An MQL is typically defined as a person from a targeted industry or company who has opted into something (i.e., webinar, gated content, etc.). We classify these as future buyers. SQLs are typically defined as an MQL that has been vetted by sales as ready for the next stage of the sales process. When organizations treat MQLs like SQLs, you end up with an annoyed sales team that thinks marketing can only create crappy leads.
  2. Untapped resources and sideways work – According to the Content Marketing Institute, sales reps spend a staggering 30 hours per month developing their own selling materials while 90% of marketing deliverables are never used. What a waste of value and energy!
  3. Unclear Customer Acquisition Process – Producing customers is a process just like producing the products or services you sell. Many businesses can’t clearly articulate what the process looks like up and down the funnel. In today’s complex decision making world, buyers are often anonymous prospects who are exploring and researching on their own. These anonymous prospects are at the top of the funnel. Without a map that starts here and connects the dots all the way to the close, sales and marketing teams can become confused about the process and their roles.

The 3 C’s of Social Selling Provide a Winning Solution to Get Sales and Marketing to Work Together

We are often brought in to help fix broken digital marketing, and most times we find that one of the first issues to tackle is the sales vs. marketing challenge. Here is a simple process we use to help companies overcome these issues. We call it the Three C’s of Social Selling; Clairity, Congruency, and Content:

The first C, Clarity, is really Two C’s:

Clarity of Message – One of the reasons sales teams don’t share marketing content is that it’s pretty bad. We have a good article on overcoming boring content that can walk you through a step-by-step process for delivering exciting content that reps want to share. Marketing deliverables must speak directly to the person/role and clearly articulate the following:

  • What does your solution do?
  • How will it benefit me?
  • How do I take the next step?

Clarity of Roles – With a clear customer acquisition process, you can help the two departments see their individual roles and where the hand-off needs to occur. A fun exercise is to get the two teams together and have each team explain what the other team does. I am often blown away by the lack of clarity that comes out. There are parts of the process where Marketing needs to be in the driver seat and times when Sales needs to be in the driver seat. Here are some essential functions to consider:

  • Sales – Develop relationships, engage with others, create opportunities
  • Marketing – Identify targets, develop content, run campaigns, generate MQLs, support sales during the opportunity stage

Congruency – The 2nd C

Congruence begins with dialog. Teams need to start by giving each other the benefit of the doubt and recognize that each team is working hard to meet the needs of the company. This exchange requires egos to be checked at the door so you can engage in open, honest conversations. Transparency on what works and doesn’t work is the only way to build congruence. This requires trust and breaking down the defenses on both sides. The goals here are:

  • Understand what information buyers want
  • Provide an easy way for sales reps to access and share information with prospects (right content: right time)
  • Offer feedback on what materials, campaigns, etc. work best for moving deals through the funnel and pipeline
  • Communication regarding active campaigns that are running
  • Training for sales reps on the best ways to share content or aid in promoting campaigns

Content – The 3rd C

We must recognize that buyers use the Internet to research. The average B2B buyer consumes over 11 pieces of content during the buying cycle. Without content, we are unable to tap into the anonymous buyers who are self-educating. Content is also our best resource for turning an anonymous buyer into an MQL. B2B marketers need to develop a content strategy geared toward the intended audience and designed to aid them in decision making. The strategy should also include multiple modalities including:

  • Blog
  • Video
  • Infographic
  • Gated + Ungated
  • Repurposing content from one modality to the other (blog to video for example)

Work on the 3 C’s and See What Happens

Applying the Three C’s can help turn your marketing efforts around quickly. When sales and marketing understand their roles and how each side contributes to producing new customers, good things happen.

Can We Help?

If your team isn’t producing masterful results and buyers aren’t motivated to say yes to your offerings, we might be able to help. Vende has been helping B2B’s clarify their message and develop winning online solutions for over 18 years. We believe great companies deserve great marketing. We offer a complimentary initial consultation/discovery meeting to learn more about you and for you to learn about us. Schedule yours today and let’s see if we can help.