Today’s buyers have higher expectations than ever before. Gone are the days of buyers being responsive to cold calls and e-mail blasts. Gone are the days of getting easy clicks on banner advertisements. Gone are the days when simply having a presence on social media was enough. Only the smartest, most personalized messages will reach and resonate with today’s buyers.
Needless to say, potential customers do not want to hear one blanket message. They want a message tailored specifically to them, and they want to hear it from someone they can trust. But how can you craft individually personalized messages at scale? How can you build trust with both potential and current customers? How do you make them engage with your content? That’s where employe advocacy can be your game changer.
What is employee advocacy vs. social selling?
More and more companies are empowering their employees to act as marketers on social media: to share marketing messages, increase engagement, and drive sales. Typically, this type of marketing is called “employee advocacy” marketing.
Employee advocacy enables people to reach out to their own social networks and amplify the company’s messaging. It’s a cost-effective approach to increasing brand awareness, driving leads, improving website traffic, and developing revenue opportunities.
Social selling refers to sales people’s use of social media to interact with prospects. They’re able to interact with them throughout the buying process, which then allows for relationships to be fostered by providing thought leadership and answering questions. This helps speed up the buying cycle by encouraging customers to make you the vendor of choice.
Employee advocacy is broader and includes all employees participating (marketing, customer care, human resources, IT etc.), while social selling is about enabling the sales team to sell through social. In both cases, employees are leveraged as a company’s most important asset and the impact of their activity on revenue can be measured.
Empowered with information and technology, your buyers are far more informed than they once were and have grown more autonomous. They expect more from companies than ever before. To rise to this challenge, companies must embrace social selling through employee advocacy to identify, understand, attract, and build relationships with buyers.
Benefits of social selling and employee advocacy
With social selling and employee advocacy, reps can:
1. Attract new buyers:
Building a healthy client list can be tricky. But when done correctly, social selling can help you attract new potential buyers. By consistently sharing content and adding value, sales reps position themselves as go-to resources of information about the industry, and they build trust by showing potential customers that they understand their business.
2. Better understand buyers:
By learning deeply about their target accounts and industries, salespeople are better equipped to position their products and services to each account, and in turn, increase their chances of winning. Social media is a gold mine of information, and a strong social selling and employee advocacy platform will make it easy for sales reps to listen to their buyers online.
3. Engage customers throughout their buying lifecycle:
This isn’t just about closing. It’s about guiding buyers from the start of their journey until they become a customer and beyond. It’s about enabling sellers to maintain relationships and add value – no matter where buyers find themselves in the buying process.
4. Reach buyers on their channels:
Your buyers rely on multiple types of communication channels, such as email, social media, and mobile messaging apps. A solid social selling and employee advocacy platform enables your teams to have conversations with buyers on key channels and across every device.
5. Measure sales performance on social
A social selling and employee advocacy platform allows you to easily determine the effectiveness of your team’s efforts on social. That way, you can improve your sales process, saving your reps time and boosting the effectiveness of your conversations with buyers.
The goal should be to build relationships using social networks to sell more. Typically, social sellers and marketers supply and discuss content, which generates leads and opportunities, drives revenue, and increases customer lifetime value.
Does it really work?
So, does social selling and employee advocacy really help you win more than traditional methods? The short answer: Yes. Salespeople who use social networks outperform their peers. The long answer: 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media.
Why’s that? Buyers use social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter to research solutions. Bambu has found that 84% of C-level/VP executives use social media to support purchase decisions. Social sellers can become top-of-mind experts and gain influence over buying decisions by posting relevant content and engaging with buyers on social networks.
So is social selling and employee advocacy for you?
If you’re considering this approach to help you create authentic engagement on social and drive sales, take a look at this chart and determine where you land:
Editor’s Note: This article was updated and refreshed for accuracy in January 2019.