By Daniel Bailey, Digital Account Lead
A. B. C… Always Be Closing. If you’ve seen the film Glengarry Glen Ross then this might ring a bell. “Always Be Closing” is a motivational phrase which describes a sales approach where a salesperson should be constantly looking for new prospects, pitching new products/services/solutions and completing sales. The key to this sales strategy is to remain persistent while also knowing when to cut your losses, so you can move onto another prospect.
Since the dawn of social media, the Always Be Closing approach to sales has been on its journey to extinction. Customers and prospects have a lot more power at their fingertips to perform their own research before they commit to a purchase. This is why it’s important that businesses realise that taking a heavy “salesy” approach to their social media channels could impact their brand’s image and reputation with anyone that’s looking to do business with them.
Social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are perfect platforms for B2B businesses to focus their social media efforts in a bid to generate leads, awareness and sales. Savvy marketers can carry out a number of activities that will help with this.
One example is ‘social listening’ around certain key terms and subjects — this will help to identify potential prospects. Another is promoting collateral such as whitepapers and infographics. This is a strong way to generate leads, especially if you promote it to a wider targeted audience using sponsored social advertising. But if you’re only focusing on carrying out activities like these, you’re going to struggle with building an engaged audience. It’s safe to say that an aggressive Always Be Closing approach to social media won’t fly online.
Businesses can’t forget that social media is so much more than just a sales tool. Certain social platforms will help to strengthen an organisation’s customer service efforts. Even B2Bs can improve their relationships with stakeholders online with the right kind of monitoring and engaging. For those businesses that want to strengthen their reputation, they can add some thought leadership into the mix by joining communities and conversations which lets them contribute their expertise and opinions. Even for businesses that want to keep a close eye on the rest of their industry, social media can be used to monitor competitors’ channels. This is an often-overlooked part of a social strategy that comes highly recommended due to the insights it can provide.
It’s crucial to get a good mix of messaging on your business’ social media channels. If you’re too “salesy” then your followers will stop engaging, while being too “social” means that you won’t be providing your sales department with the valuable information it needs to convert leads.
Having a plan in place which will mix up thought leadership content with sales collateral is a good place to start. Building in social listening and monitoring around industry terms and conversations is a sensible next step, which helps to establish your business as an expert in that area. By combining these, your audience will be more open to what you’re saying and will interact more. This is where you can start getting your sales teams involved to follow suit. Get them to promote useful content and share their expertise by conversing with customers and prospects online.
If B2B companies want to see great results coming from social media, they need to avoid going too OTT on the sales tactics online. Getting a good mix between sales and social in campaign plans is key. The points I’ve discussed will help to get the ball rolling, but time is almost up for Always Be Closing…so how about we move on from that phrase and replace it with Always Be Social?