During 2013 we saw an increase in overall social media activity, a change in B2B buying behaviors, and the first markers of success for sellers leveraging social relationships. Needless to say, these trends aren’t going anywhere soon. But what new trends will 2014 hold for the sales force? We foresee required social activity, an emphasis on Twitter and mobile strategy, and a closer relationship with marketing.
1. Sellers will be charged with bringing the customer back into the conversation
Keyboard selling is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Instead of a sales cycle that ends with the dismissal of data into a marketing automation system, sellers will find themselves managing the lead nurture phase through relationship building and data sharing that takes place on social networks.
2. Sellers will be required to maintain a social presence
Businesses are beginning to recognize the value of a socially enabled sales force. In 2014, companies will continue to fight for a louder share of voice by sharing relevant social content. Enabling individual members of the sales force with the ability to amplify the corporate voice will be instrumental in commanding the marketplace.
3. Social will be recognized as an official driver of the decision making process
There were many reports this year that examined conversations taking place on social networks as a legitimate source of pipeline revenue. In 2014, sellers can expect to be held accountable for their social activity as a way of generating leads and retiring quota.
4. An increased emphasis placed on Twitter
In 2013, most social sellers focused on LinkedIn because of its perception as a professional network. However, studies show that more professionals are joining and using Twitter every day. In order to truly get in front of the sales funnel and stay in constant contact, sales professionals will need to build and foster relationships with their prospects on Twitter.
5. Sales and Marketing will come together
A social media presence is only as good as its content, and there is a need to arm sellers with as much compelling content as they can share. Marketing is already creating most of this content they just need to start syndicating it through the sales force. This relationship has mutual benefits: it amplifies the impact of marketing’s message while enabling sales professionals to maintain a more professional presence on social.
6. Using mobile to stay connected
Social media (and consequently social selling) requires constant attention because of its real-time nature. To ensure the highest rate of success, social sellers will need access to their accounts no matter where they are, and mobile offers the added benefit of instant notifications.
7. Organizations will leverage social sales tools and technologies
Arming tens, hundreds, or thousands of sales professionals with branded social accounts would cause any good leader at least a little bit of worry. In 2014, as companies begin to require social selling, social sales management platforms will begin to flood the social space at an enterprise level, becoming a necessity to any business hoping to thrive during this age of social selling.