Social collaboration plays a big role in your social business. It’s the way you walk your social talk throughout your own midsize enterprise and your customers’.
Social collaboration involves how you communicate information that is crucial to business outcomes. Those outcomes are based on how effectively your Cloud-based, mobile, analytic and security platforms are integrated into the daily “people” interactions of your social business.
The goal of social collaboration is putting together an arsenal of “people” strategies and tools which produce the most robust, yet nimble, social selling and business development outcomes.
Here are 4 social selling strategies that are solidly grounded in your ability to collaborate socially with your internal, as well as external, customers.
Strategy 1 – Social collaboration starts at home. Take your business’s pulse. Make sure that your small to midsize enterprise understands and implements your mobile, analytic, security and Cloud-based tools effectively. If you are only using ¼ of the capabilities of these solutions, collaborate with your internal folks.
To-Do: Determine knowledge gaps within and between departments. Get everyone on the same business page. Generate greater ROI in your business investment by getting your internal folks collaborating on “how to” processes and tips.
Strategy 2 – Social selling involves social collaboration by following-up post-event. In my opinion, far too many small and mid-size businesses have a one-sided social selling strategy. That strategy focuses on blasting information about your company and upcoming events at the marketplace via various social platforms.
To-Do: Engage your marketplace via social collaboration, post-event. If folks attended your event, it’s an opportunity to re-engage, start a dialogue and obtain feedback. If they didn’t attend, it’s an opportunity to find out why. Engage them in social dialogue that focuses on them. Why did – or didn’t – your marketplace “buy into” your social offering?
Strategy 3 – Social selling takes a social collaboration stream and develops a business conversation. Now that your social selling strategy is a two-way dialogue, what are your customers and prospects saying to you? If your next step is to shunt their contact information into your CRM (customer relationship management) system as a “qualified lead,” you are applying status quo marketing tactics to the beginning of what could become a beautiful social relationship. If you start immediately pitching your products at them, you are using status quo selling methods.
To-Do: If your sales, marketing and PR (public relations) initiatives are still working in separate silos, bring them together in the same space. Start with a beta project. Their own cross-functional, collaborative conversations will translate into social business conversations that yield valuable customer insights.
Strategy 4 – Social selling continues social collaboration dynamics into the sales cycle. Now that your sales, marketing and PR folks are listening to customer insights, you will be able to identify larger and longer-term opportunities for business development. Your social business’s concept of what and whom is a “qualified lead” moves from being a numbers game into collaborating with the types of customers who bring out the best in you, your company, your products and platforms. When you are doing your best on your customers’ behalf, your customers can look forward to more positive and productive business outcomes.
To Do: Determine what types of information you are using to identify, develop and engage your customers and prospects. Compare with the level of engagement that your own company maintains throughout your social selling cycle. Are you cutting the customer conversation short, just when it’s getting interesting?
- Social collaboration starts on the inside and moves out into your marketplaces. Use your social selling and business tools more effectively in the process.
- Injecting social collaboration into your midsize social business makes business operations and selling more efficient.
- Winning new business with more highly and socially engaged customers can reinforce customer retention.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a management consultant and business coach. She helps startups and small-to-medium manufacturing and service companies who have difficulty with unpredictable revenue streams. Her book on communication and collaboration strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? Technical / Non-Technical Collaboration, Business Development and YOU, is available on Amazon.com.