Social sales, social selling, monitization. Those are just three headings given to the concept of leveraging social media within a sales process. But how does a B2B enterprise enable social selling in an environment with long sales cycles? How does any org with sales ranging from the tens of thousands to the multi-millions convince a buyer to make a deal through social? Or to put it more bluntly, we’re probably not ever going to make a sale resulting from some awesome tweet. But… that tweet is one piece of a broader conversation and selling disciple that makes social media key to any enterprise’s pipeline.

There are two methods, at a high-level, that enable social selling. As the practice matures throughout EMC and across our industry, I hope to see these models both validated and expanded.

The Outbound Side

First, I’ll tackle the “outbound” side of the conversation. Marketers pretty much anywhere in any industry are very good at buzz marketing. It’s what we know. We develop great messaging and collateral and we deliver it to the masses. It’s the “build it and they will come” method of content marketing. We like to validate our actions with whatever story we can tell leveraging response rates and web analytics. It’s worked. Until social media came along, of course.

While we’ve accomplished a lot, our journey continues. So for this “outbound” side of the social sales conversation, what can one do to maximize opportunity through social media?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Tweet or blog with a purpose. Imagine you are the consumer reading your social content. What makes it interesting or actionable for you? Are there useful tips to accomplish X? Does the content explain why your org is doing such-and-such?
  2. Link to useful related resources. These resources could be whiteboard videos, whitepapers, webinars, etc. They could also be blogs written by peers inside and outside of the company (think partners and customers). Leverage conversations happening on your community. By linking to other blogs or communities, such linking helps optimize search results.
  3. Track links to your website using your web analytics tool (and shorten with Bitly for use on Twitter or YouTube). This is imporant if only for the sole purpose of measuring your contributions to social lead-generation. At the very minimum, we know who, what, and where is sending social links your way. Ideally, those visitors will convert by downloading a whitepaper or registering for a webinar and we can associate those “leads” with social media.

Okay, that’s the outbound side, with a few tips to help your journey to social selling. Now we’ll take a look at the inbound side!

The Inbound Side

This is the sexy stuff. It’s how EMC is making social work to highlight and benefit the sales pipeline. Our Social Engagement Team has had their hands in a number of pilots examining a number of functions social can provide the sales process. Today, these efforts center on a very cool new team with the Inside Sales org building the foundation upon which EMC can acccelerate its social journey. They are an embedded social selling team, seeking out conversations where tweeps and bloggers are expressing a point-of-need or asking questions about technology that open doors to conversations with inside sales. It’s exciting stuff.

We’re helping enable the Inside Sales social team with Attensity Respond, the engagement tool powered by the social listening engine EMC uses to analyze social mentions. It’s a powerful tool, bringing targeted and focused streams of social content (mainly Twitter in this case) to the Inside Sales social team. They’re able to triage this content and assign to workflow if needed. They’re also entering these conversations’ Twitter handles into Salesforce with a custom tracking code. This gives us the ability to track any conversation that turns into a lead and potentially a sales opportunity. Longer term, we’re working with Attensity to refine this into a more efficient social tracking process.

In addition, a customer engagement program began a Twitter contest for customers to tweet about their experience in executive briefings. That team has been monitoring and following up on each of the tweets earning conversations in over 25% of these tweets. Many of our business units are retweeting the conversations and have added those users to their organization’s social programs.

See? I told you this is sexy stuff. We’re maximizing social conversations and putting measurements and processes around those conversations to make social sales actionable! It’s an exciting time to get social. We’re literally re-creating the way we do business! Stay tuned as we explore this part of our social journey!