The last few years have brought unprecedented digital disruption to the way traditional sales and marketing operates in all companies, large and small. This transformation has particularly impacted financial institutions for several reasons: a highly distributed network of advisors, stringent compliance and security requirements, and fragmented tech stacks can create more roadblocks than opportunities in the digital world.
However, despite these challenges, it’s more important than ever to invest in social selling strategies to help your financial advisors engage customers across these digital channels. The benefits are clear: new business growth, increased competitive advantage, and an improved customer experience across all touchpoints.
According to research from LinkedIn, 92% of financial advisors who use social media for business say social media has helped them gain new clients. Additionally, more than half of investors say they would interact with their advisor through social media channels if they had the opportunity. Long relegated to the sidelines, social selling — also known as social media selling — is now gaining widespread favor as brands realize its enormous potential.
Social selling is both an art and a science. It is the art of building and nurturing relationships with customers, and the science of using technology to stay compliant while leveraging the right content, at the right time, on the right social channels to generate leads and grow your business. The modern customer is more aware of their needs, and they use social media to research purchases, evaluate brands, and frame an opinion even before the first interaction.
“The enterprise that does not innovate ages and declines, and in a period of rapid change such as the present, the decline will be fast” – Peter Drucker, renowned management consultant, educator, and author
Traditional methods are becoming less and less effective and businesses that embrace social selling are seeing phenomenal improvement in their business results. But, it must be done the right way. For example, the single-threaded approach where an advisor or a sales professional builds a relationship with one decision maker is no longer the best practice. Research shows that on average there are five to six decision makers in most large-sized B2B deals. Sales professionals now need to approach prospects differently, going beyond the gatekeepers into different silos to build relationships at different levels. Social selling empowers them to find, nurture, and convert multiple contacts.
The good news, despite this increasingly complex business environment, is that when social selling is implemented and managed properly, it can become an integral driver of success. Here are three smart ways to crack the social selling code to win in a competitive marketplace.
“It all starts with listening. If you do not find those opportunities, being able to execute on those opportunities is irrelevant.” – Jay Baer, best-selling author and marketing expert
The power of technology extends well beyond baseline tactics like URL shortening and suggestions about optimal post timing. When done well, social selling incorporates listening to understand the pain points of your audience, trending topics, influencers, and conversations that you can leverage to showcase your expertise and provide value. Social selling is all about partnerships, so you need to engage with people you think are going to add value. Making a list of top influencers and checking out their channels is the quickest way to build a relationship with them and solicit their input and opinion. The best relationships are built through collaboration and feedback.
Many social selling tools have failed to generate adoption and engagement simply because the flow of knowledge and best practices was not continuous. There are no shortcuts to success. Equip your sales teams to leverage technology and work smarter by sharing the latest updates, changes in features, and new trends from the digital world. Technology has made our lives easier, and it can save a lot of precious time and resources if the right process for information sharing is established as part of a formal social selling program. Further, social selling is not just for the sales team. For it to work effectively, it should be implemented holistically across different business units with continuous knowledge and best-practice sharing.
“Sharing best practices and knowledge is empowerment. It enriches everyone when information and discoveries are shared.” – Dennis Mathew, digital marketing consultant
Social selling should concentrate less on sales pitches and more about sharing authentic, quality content — such as thought leadership — across all stages of the buyer journey to build connections with your customers. Social selling should not be a mouthpiece for company advertorials. Encouraging your team to share professional, customer-centric messages that help and educate your customers will go a long way in enhancing the power of the brand. Simply scheduling content for the week or month is not enough. Help your teams optimize their time on social media by focusing on making connections and sharing professional content that shows their authentic personality.
The key to success? Be laser focused and connect with the right audience with the right one-to-one message without spamming and being salesly.
Social selling is the new normal. Financial services brands that adopt a social selling mindset must make a conscious effort to empower their advisors to promote their brand. Closing the sale with social selling doesn’t always have to be a zero-sum game. Representing your voice in work that speaks to your passions and authentic experience is worth way more than a narrow-minded, transactional approach.
Shawn Suratt, a prominent Sales Ninja for years, stated, “I do think that building an audience in a social selling business is easier than with a traditional approach … but there’s still a learning curve.”
With the right process, strategy, and social selling tools, you can position the entire enterprise to generate better leads, nurture quality prospects, and build lasting relationships with clients. It has the potential to turn digital disruption into a social selling revolution for the business.
So, are you ready to disrupt your business as usual?
To learn more about how Sprinklr can help you improve your social selling practices, download our Visual Report for Financial Services.
Learn more about Sprinklr Distributed.
Manasa Adeni is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Sprinklr based in Austin, TX. She focuses on the Modern Sales and Engagement product, including Sprinklr’s distributed marketing platform. When not at work, she enjoys traveling and exploring Austin’s food scene.
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