Technology is continuously fueling evolution in today’s business environment. Information is more accessible than ever and business networks enable new levels of collaboration with colleagues, customers and business partners. For sales professionals, social media has become a valuable resource to foster relationships with prospective customers that lead to sales wins.But it can feel daunting to sales professionals who are new to social media. How do you get started on a path to social selling success?
If you’re at Ariba LIVE in Munich, make plans to attend Barbara Giamanco’s session on the ABCs of Social Selling and Building your Global Brand in a World of Social Cannibals. Barbara is a seasoned sales professional, author and trainer who helps sales teams optimize social selling practices to achieve results.
We asked Barbara a few questions about the trends she has observed in B2B commerce and what attendees can expect from her session at Ariba LIVE.
Q. What trend do you feel is having the greatest impact on B2B commerce?
Social, mobile, digital and live streaming technologies are all changing the way we do business today. How we sell is no longer one directional. We have to be savvy about navigating and communicating with buyers and customers in multiple ways.
Q. What are companies misunderstanding today about the B2B buyer journey?
I don’t know if it is a misunderstanding or just plain old-fashioned resistance, but buyer behavior has changed. They have unlimited access to information and resources. Tired of constant, unsolicited pitches from sales people they choose to do the early-stage sales research on their own. This new reality means two things:
1) Sales people MUST cultivate their brand online in a way that screams trust, credibility and capability.
2) When sales people do secure sales meetings, they cannot take buyers back to the beginning with their sales pitch. Certainly validate what the buyer currently knows about your offering but do not assume they mean nothing.
Q. What will attendees hear during your session that may be new to them?
They’ll hear about strategic and tactical advice for getting started, as well as specific case studies and successes in the European market. In addition, I’ll talk about other social channels (beyond just LinkedIn) that apply to specific industry types, which attendees may find useful.
Q. What’s changed in Social Selling in the past year that you want attendees to understand?
It’s become a buzz word so diluted and misused that people are often confused about what it means. And, some experts would have you believe that participating in social channels is your only go-to sales strategy. Integrating social media into your sales practice is another tool in the toolkit that you can draw from but using social channels is not the only sales strategy that you need to be successful. You must merge online with offline approaches that lead you in the direction of your objectives.
Q. The power of business networks is a favorite topic at Ariba LIVE. What’s your “power networking” tip for attendees?
GIVE without expecting an immediate return. The more that you genuinely strive to help others first, the faster you pave the way for people wanting to do business with you.
Giving can take many forms. Sharing content, making introductions for potential buyers to their potential customers, or perhaps setting up a local peer-to-peer small group networking event that you facilitate. You could connect a prospect with a journalist writing an article about their industry. What about setting up a webinar and inviting several of your prospects to be guest experts?
Stay tuned to the latest news and conversation about Ariba LIVE by following the #AribaLIVE hashtag on Twitter.