TALKING SALES 208: "Applying Social Selling in the Buying Journey"

John Smibert

"Leverage social to deliver value to the buyer when and where it's needed" -   interview of Loic Simon by John Smibert. 

Buyers find that they have too much information and not enough insight as they progress through their buying journey.  The last thing they want is for us to give them more information. 

Loic SimonIn this discussion Loic Simon emphasises that they also have more people than ever involved in the buying process and decision - it is complex. It is difficult for the person who is mobilising the decision team to keep them focused and supporting to the decision if they are being confused with all

the information at their hands.

Loic tells us that social selling is a key part of the answer to enable a salesperson to hel a buying team with these challenges.

How? See the full interview to learn more.  This interview is likely to be valuable for sales leaders, sales managers and professional salespeople selling complex B2B.

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Loic Simon, a long term IBM executive is founder of the #SocialSellingForums and a leading protagonist for the effective use of social media in B2B sales.  

Subscribe to future videos           See previous 'TALKING SALES' videos here

Interview

John:            Welcome back Strategic Selling Group, Sales Masterminds, all the followers of this video series - thank you very much for being with us again! I'm delighted to have Loic Simon with me - welcome back, Loic!

Loic:             Hi, John!

John:            Good to see you!

Loic:             Yes, you too!

John:            Last time Loic introduced the subject "What is social selling?" from his point of view and "Why is it important?" and you mentioned two things, Loic. But there's a third thing we really need to get into, and that's the importance of using social selling in the buying journey.

Loic:             Absolutely, because we know that customers have a hard time going through their buying journey today. They are hyperconnected, they have a lot of information on hand, but they have too much information on hand. On the other hand, there are more than seven people involved in a typical strategic decision, like B2B complex buying, so in this case they are lost in everything they try to achieve when they want to buy something. So a good social seller is somebody who can be positioned as a consultant, as a key resource for them.

John:            You're right. Because sales has changed, particularly because the buyers are much more educated now, they have access to much more information; the last thing they want is a salesperson to come in and teach him about a product. They don't want feature, function and benefit anymore. They want people to help them go through the buying process and buy effectively, and with the decision making unit... Challenger talk about the fact that 6.8 people are involved in a decision.

Loic:             Yes. You need to help the mobiliser, you need to help all these people go through their buying journey.

John:            And you also think social does that.

Loic:             Oh, for sure. By being present on social, you appear as being a resource for these kind of customers and prospects, they see you as a consultant. They don't see you as a seller who wants to close the deal or wants to finish his quota or whatever; they see you as a real consultant, because you have been positioned in their mind throughout the buying journey, even before they start this buying journey.

Buyer Journey pipeline 900x280John:            I think there'd be still a lot of people looking at you as you say that, thinking... A lot of people get on social and they try and sell on social, they try and push their products, etc., on social selling.

Loic:             Big mistake.

John:            That's not what you're talking about with social selling, is it?

Loic:             What I'm talking about is helping others progress, helping others progress in their buying journey of course, or in anything they have as a project, or with their thinking, you need to help them, this is what a good social seller is doing. And by helping people progress throughout the buying journey, they appear as a consultant, they appear as a resource, not as a seller of whatever stuff.

John:            So through using social media and the social selling methods, and we'll get onto talking about that in future interviews, they're really going to bring insight to the table, they're going to be a domain expert, leveraging social to help the customer think through their buying journey and making an effective decision, whether that's for you or the competitor.

Loic:             That's it, absolutely. You don't need to talk about products and whatever. You need to talk about the why, why is it important for them to change, to transform and to get the consensus inside their organisation, how should they do it, what are the different solutions they should think about and how can they choose the kind of solution, an then at the end who they should choose, and naturally at the end they would choose you.

John:            So you're saying social media provides the platform through which you can social sell, but you're actually not selling on social; you're using social as a medium then to engage with your customer through the different steps of the buying process.

Loic:             Absolutely.

John:            And not just the salesperson but marketing people and... We all have a role now in that sales process.

Loic:             Marketing, presales, architects, C-level, pure sellers, interns - whoever.

John:            And social media is a medium by which we can leverage to help us go through that process.

Buyer Journey with Social 03 - signpostsLoic:             Yes.

John:            I like it, I think that's a very well expressed. I'm looking forward to talking to you more in the future discussions about how we can actually do this.

Loic:             Yes, it's the how which is important.

John:            It is isn't it?

Loic:             Absolutely.

John:            I see too many people wasting time on social. Don't waste your time. Get your strategy right, work out how, and then do it.

Loic:             Even with 20 minutes per day it can be done, for some of us.

John:            Okay. 20 minutes a day, change the way you sell using social media, let's talk about how next time - Loic, thank you very much!

Loic:             Thank you!

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Other discussions with Loic Simon

"Why Social Selling is Vital for B2B Sales"

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