Social selling: a new customer journey?
Do you think social networks have changed the way you sell? Can you take advantage of them in your daily life?
Although social networks have changed the sales process from a business perspective and marketing, if you understand well what place in that process you will become a very useful tool to change some processes.
Why do I focus on sales if I’m talking about social media and it still has to prove conclusively that it can become a successful sales channel? Well, it is clear that a company survives because it sells its products or services, therefore every activity a company does must be geared toward the sale (please, do not confuse this with wishful thinking!).
Very briefly: if you do not sell, do not invoice, and if you do not invoice … the company disappears.
No wonder why I recommend you to run away from those who instruct you to engage in just getting and measuring followers, likes, RTs, etc. Forget it! Every action should be directed towards achieving the sale. And because of that you must focus on your sales funnel.
Traditionally, the sales cycle has been represented as a funnel, because what happens from one phase to another is that the percentage of the target market you capture is diminishing. Therefore, the graphic form gives the impression of a funnel. However, many other models have arisen, even representing marketing and sales as a continuous loop, representing the consumer journey as a non-stop process.
The truth is that many believe that social media has changed the sales funnel because it can allow customers and users to bypass stages, going back and forth in the funnel, there are processes of attracting new customers, etc. Well I don think it is changed that much! Have they not understood that a model is a simplified representation of reality? As well as there are many possible cases being able to be explained by a single model? Did not social relations exist before social networking sites?
The sales funnel is still able to explain all of these situations, but the complexity is higher for several reasons:
- Increased speed and dynamism of actions (buying and selling, interactions, comments, complaints …)
- More data that should be analyzed
- More channels on which to attribute a conversion
But being more complex does not mean that the model is no longer useful, just have to know how to adapt. Indeed, social media may have had a profound effect on the sales cycle. However, before stating that the sales funnel has changed is trying to change quantum mechanics. Choose the best model that fits your universe. Perhaps you do believe that social media is able to change the laws of physics, when you are really failing is with the application of the equations.
Before social media, many of the movements in the sales cycle and effects originated and caused situations that reinforced (or detracted) marketing strategies and alter the flow of the sales cycle occurred. What is happening now is that social networks (humans) have become more powerful, thanks to the effect of social networks (tools). Nothing has changed, only the speed at which things happen.
Do you use social media in your measurement model? Are you aware of how they affect your sales cycle?
* A version of this post was published first on Socialancer.com, 28th December 2012. Original in Spanish.