As the end of the year is approaching, both B2B and B2C companies are ramping up sales and marketing efforts to hit their revenue numbers. The timing is perfect. Holiday shoppers have already started spending. Businesses need to spend their budgets by December 31st.
More and more brands are looking to social media to help make the most of this sales opportunity. And it makes sense. Study after study shows that social media can both generate sales and complement non-social sales initiatives.
But the big question is, how can these two departments work together to make social deliver? Here are 5 great steps to aligning social media marketing with sales.
#1 Get marketing and sales to agree on goals and expectations
While social has been shown to increase sales, sometimes expectations of the results can be unrealistic. Put all assumptions and expectations on the table and discuss them before committing to numbers your team can’t deliver on. If you’ve run social marketing campaigns in the past, use them as benchmarks. Look for case studies in your industry that can suggest the kinds of results you may get and the amount of work and budget required.
#2 Understand your funnel and the customer’s decision making process
For a lot of brands, social media won’t have the biggest impact in the later stages of the buying process. For some, however, it will.
- Understand how your customers make purchasing decisions – maybe they tend to buy on impulse, or purchase when their friends recommend your products.
- Understand where they are in the decision making process – if they’re in the awareness stage, you need to engage them differently than if they’re ready to buy.
- Finally, understand where you have social touchpoint opportunities – your customers might not use social through the whole decision journey, so pick your battles.
#3 Sync sales and marketing calendars
Make sure you’re aware of everything else that’s going on. You might have offline promotions launching soon. Or you might be hosting some events. Or, sales might be working hard to renew key customer, supply or distribution contracts before the end of the year. All of these things will have an impact on what your campaigns will be about, as well as their timing. Figure out how you can fit the social campaigns into your overall marketing and sales calendar.
#4 Set up the tools, tracking and integrations you’ll need
If you committed to delivering a revenue number, or a number of prospects, you’ll have to be able to track and report on your results. Think about the ideal scenario: what should your campaign look like if it’s going to deliver? How are you moving people through the decision process? Can you track all of those touchpoints? Do you even need to? Get all this down on paper. Once you know, it will be much easier to find the tools you need and set them up properly.
#5 Don’t ignore inbound social communication
Most social marketing campaigns focus on reaching out to people who are not actively trying to communicate with you. But what about the people posting about you on their social accounts? Why not engage them, too? To quote a recent FastCompany article:
“Brands only respond to, on average, half of the posts on their social media pages. This is a big mistake, as 80% of users who receive a response will end up making a purchase. Not only that, but, when a brand is proactive about communicating with “fans,” 28% of them will end up buying specifically because of that outreach. Staffing up to enable real-time engagement with potential customers can be the most powerful and profitable move you could make.”
BONUS #6 Respect your audience
We all have to hit our numbers somehow. It’s tough, but that’s no excuse to damage your social media relationships for short-term results. Between now and the end of the year, your potential customers will be getting dozens of offers, discounts, email blasts from other companies trying to sell to them. Don’t be spammy and instead, offer something of value that resonates with your brand persona.
The 2 months ahead represent a great opportunity to show off your social media marketing skills and build the relationship between your sales and marketing teams. Get your two teams on the same page regarding your company’s goals. Then, become accountable for hitting the numbers and hit this holiday season out of the park!