Debates over the type of sales strategy to employ within an organisation have raged for as long as there has been a culture of trading. However, the emergence of social media has seen a shift in traditional sales methods. Notably in the convergence of inbound and outbound sales strategies, and a move towards a more holistic ‘all-bound’ approach to selling.
Inbound is where it’s at, isn’t it?
There’s a tendency for thinking that social media lends itself more to inbound-style sales. A platform upon which to share quality, relevant and authoritative content. Building trust in your brand, enhancing your online presence and visibility.
To sell without selling.
Inbound sales offer hot leads, don’t they? Customers who’ve seen your content, found your website, seen those brilliantly informative posts on social media. Customers who come to you, rather than you to the competition.
So why bother with outbound sales?
Isn’t that all hard-selling, cold-calling and prospecting?
To a degree it is, yes. But that’s a somewhat simplistic view in today’s digitally-focused environment.
Businesses who rely solely on content generation to focus on a steady flow of hot inbound leads are almost certainly missing a trick, limiting the avenues from which new sales are found.
Social Media and the All-Bound Approach
The internet age may be a brave new world for business, but there remains the same universal truth that’s existed for centuries. To survive and thrive, you need to seek out new opportunities.
You can’t rely on waiting for them to come to you.
Social media is so much more than a platform for your broadcasts. It’s an environment for prospecting. Developing new leads – the core of any good outbound strategy.
This is the merging point between inbound and outbound.
These days, virtually everyone is accessible through social media. Those who seek us, those we wish to attract. Providing opportunities aplenty to engage and foster relationships that can blossom into long-term custom.
Look at the social presence of your target clients. Their profile pages, the content they share and the topics about which they post will present a goldmine of information.
Information to build your CRM database. Thorough social research can unearth everything from company hierarchies to that real world problem they have, which you just happen to be able to resolve.
Build your knowledge of your prospect further by following them. It’s a tentative reach out; first contact. Putting you on their radar and allowing you to learn more about them through the content they share.
It opens the way for you to start a dialogue. This could be a simple ‘liking’ of their latest posts; or sharing their update onto your streams. Further along the line this can evolve into direct comments; thanking them for sharing valuable info, or offering opinion or advice on an issue they’ve raised.
Having established your presence within the online social circle your next step may be towards making full contact. This may be a lead-in via connecting on LinkedIn, their corporate page or even with a figure from within the company.
As your social relationship nurtures there’s likely to be greater scope for deeper input. Value-adding comments on their blog, maybe. Each step leading you closer to the point of sale.
Encouraging them to think of you as someone with whom they can do business.
This is the real power of social media. Its ability to fuse together your inbound and outbound processes into one cohesive ‘all-bound’ approach. Encouraging those in need of your services to make the enquiry, while constantly developing new opportunities further down the pipeline.