Integrating Social Business into the Sales Funnel Part 2: Delivering Value

Integrating Social Business into the Sales Funnel is a 3 part series focused on strategies that utilize social media to refine the sale process to better meet the growing needs of a highly connected customer base.

After a business qualifies a sales lead and evaluates the needs of the prospect, it’s time to demonstrate the value of the product or service offering.

How do most businesses typically demonstrate value?

By using power point presentations, offering sales literature, letting the customer try out the product, providing customer testimonials, and leaning on the company website or the knowledge of the sales staff to best explain the value proposition. .

How does a social business demonstrate value?

By using the same techniques, except with a fresh approach that integrates social media.
Let’s clarify a bit:

The traditional business:

Sends prospects a 20 page PDF document that outlines the features and benefits of the product.

The social business:

Has PDF documents, but also creates a blog that regularly addresses the product, company news, and the needs and interests of the customer.

The traditional business:

Has a website with a lot of copy and pictures.

The social business:

Has a website, but also has a very active Facebook page with custom tabs, an offer for free shipping, and happy customers commenting on a regular basis.

The traditional business:

Spent $10,000 to develop a product demonstration video.

The Social business

Has a weekly web series, put out through YouTube, where members of the team field questions that have been asked by real customers.

The traditional business

Directs prospects to the FAQ page when they have a question.

The social business:

Has a FAQ page, but also uses Twitter and Quora to answer questions and communicate directly with prospects.

Notice a pattern? Businesses that fully adopt social media best practices take the extra step to make communication a two way street. They’re transparent throughout the entire sales process and can demonstrate value in different ways and on different platforms. They’ve got an extra dimension that other businesses don’t have.

Tips on getting started

  • Offer social content when possible. A paragraph of text isn’t social. A paragraph of text in the form of a blog post is. It can be shared and directly commented on.
  • Highlight positive testimonials that previous customers have left on various social networking sites.
  • If the company and market is big enough, considering having a hosted forum where prospects can actively discuss products and services related to your industry.
  • Instead of having a traditional staff bio page, offer visitors the ability to connect with employees on Twitter, LinkedIn, and through personal blogs.
  • Make it loud and clear on the website that your business is active on social networking sites.
  • Create value added content on networks such as Flickr, Slideshare, and Tumblr when possible.
  • Embrace emerging social technologies. Instead of just giving a presentation, give a presentation and offer Ustream coverage. Get creative.

What do you think?
How does your business deliver value through social media?

Part 3: Customer Follow Up
Part 1: Lead Development

Photo via Bill Stilwell

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