As a prelude to the launch of the programme in the autumn, Dr John Rudd, Head of the Marketing Group at Aston, discusses the strategic business challenges facing salespeople in a world of increasing social media interaction…
Are you part of the growing social media culture – constantly checking the latest updates from your personal networks on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter? Social media has become so much a part of our lives that it’s also changing the ways we interact as buyers and sellers.
Many salespeople now feel obliged to respond immediately to customer requests made from anywhere in the world, whatever the time. A huge change is underway in the way sales are being made, driven in large part by the impact of social media. Despite these new challenges, social media offers the sales force the following six opportunities to increase customer engagement, change relationships and increase sales and revenues.
1. Making Connections
Sales people are using social media more and more to connect to people - both inside their own organisation and externally with customers. There is a clear opportunity here to get to know your customers’ needs more intimately and use this knowledge to seek to add real tangible value.
2. Rethinking Relationships
What makes a good customer relationship? Sales teams have an opportunity to completely rethink this question, and adjust each sales relationship according to the requirements of the customer. This will involve looking at the social media tools currently used in business situations, the face-to-face contact going on in the sales network, and which buyers are already using social media in their relationship with the sales force.
3. New Tools for Value Differentiation
Sales teams now possess a formidable and growing toolkit of social media techniques and channels that assist them in creating, building, and maintaining customer relationships. Now more than ever they have the opportunity to differentiate the real value of the product or service they are offering to ever more discerning customers.
4. New Generations
Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and now Generation Z: different demographic groups of potential customers use social media to varying degrees. The challenge for today’s sales forces is to identify these generational attributes - this creates opportunities to strategically match salespeople to connect to specific buyers through the appropriate social media channels.
5. Global Reach
Use of social media knows no borders, and this is leading to more and more sales being made in a global context. Those businesses that are flexible and open to adapting their sales processes and procedures will enjoy significant opportunities for increased revenues in these new markets.
6. Sales and Marketing Synergy
More than ever the connections between marketing and sales efforts must be tight. While in many businesses marketing teams have innovated in terms of social media and associated data collection, successful sales team have also embraced new technology and used it to create advantage. Sales and marketing teams must connect in an integrated and focussed way in order to fully exploit social media effectively and efficiently.
Aston Business School’s Professional Managers’ Award career development programme gets underway this autumn. To find out more and to discover how the award could help you and your organisation, please visit:www.aston.ac.uk/prof-mgr-award/ or call 0121 204 3160.
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