Social Networks also grow your business

“If we talk about social networks, the first idea that comes to our mind is one private place where we bring our friends together to share what is most provoked by us – both positive and negative – where thousands of webs of friends, followers or connections are formed and where millions of shares are made in a very short period of time.

However, if we go beyond this first idea and look at social networks from a more professional perspective, we will find a field full of opportunities. What else can a company ask for than it can get millions of people together in one place, with a relatively low investment and a platform ready to enhance customer interaction?

The ECO – Jornal Economia Online gave an interview about the Portugal Exporter 2017, where I was a speaker, along with Fernando Alves (LinkedIn Account Executive) and Professor Adolfo González, with the theme “Social Selling as an instrument for export” . Here is the full interview, by the newspaper itself:

This practice is already being implemented in some companies as an analysis and sales promotion tool, having already been called Social Selling. One of these companies is LinkedIn which, in addition to enabling interaction between thousands of professionals and companies, now allows you to locate an audience, potential partnerships and aggregate information for a more personalized and focused approach to the target.

It’s amazing how fast social networks have grown,” says Fernando Alves, LinkedIn Account Executive. “As a concrete example we can consider the LinkedIn platform that was born 14 years ago and has nowadays more than 530 million members in more than 200 countries.” Through Sales Navigator, a new tool, companies have access to this estate to implement Social Selling and see sales move forward.

The advantage of LinkedIn

The need to bet on new platforms is intrinsically linked to the advancement of technology. At ECO, Adolfo González, a professor at AESE Business School, explains that “the process of digital transformation is directly impacting the buying and selling process.” “The reason we have to sell differently has to do with the fact that we buy differently“, says González.

Even so, the difficulty of entering a circle that is seen by many as more private has been singled out as one of the drawbacks of focusing on investing in social networks. For Adolfo González, this is not at all an insurmountable barrier. “Brands will be able to penetrate this circle in a more private way through communication carried out in professional social networks“, he points out, listing LinkedIn as “the most appropriate“.

In addition to allowing “direct, more efficient, more practical, faster and more scalable communication“, as Fernando Alves describes, the great difference of this network for so many others is that “almost 80% of business-to-business buyers see LinkedIn as an effective source for finding potential leads and 59% of marketers see the majority of leads converted to customers through LinkedIn“.

What Social Selling brings back, without prejudice to other aspects, is a speed and precision that traditional communication and sales channels will not allow in most cases.” Adolfo González – Professor at AESE Business School

So does that mean you have to take the investment out of the conventional channels of communication and sales and channel it only to online? Not so … “First of all, they are complementary channels“, distinguishes Adolfo González. “What Social Selling brings back, without prejudice to other aspects, is a speed and precision that traditional communication and sales channels will not allow in most cases.”

Awareness, new customers and sales

Grupel is one of many companies around the world that gave Sales Navigator tool an opportunity. The Portuguese company for the production of diesel generators found in the tool a way to find “notoriety, new customers and sales“. Who says it is João Pintado, Marketing Director of the company and a staunch defender of the use of social networks in the expansion of business.

“This change does not happen from one day to another It takes time, to have everything well delineated, and yet there are always mistakes that will be made.” João Pintado – Marketing Director of Grupel

In addition to his active presence on LinkedIn, where he frequently publishes multimedia content related to the day-to-day life of the company – which says must be “more and better so that he can capture a potential client’s interest” – Grupel uses the social network analysis services, something that is already bringing good results for the company.

At this moment we feel and we have data that reflect more notoriety of our brand, which facilitates the decision process. Our dealers and distributors are able to have more bargaining power with a stronger and more visible brand, and in turn, this leads to more sales”, says the Marketing Director. And it reflects in the numbers? “Our growth is around 25%, and in addition to sales, we have more distributors worldwide, more business opportunities, more new customers and more requests for quotations“, he said.

Although the company has worked with Sales Navigator for more than a year, the process of adaptation has not yet ended. “This change does not happen from one day to the next. It takes time, to have everything well delineated and, even then, there are always mistakes that will be made“, confesses the marketer. “We keep optimizing the process over time and we’ve already the Social Selling program at another point of maturity for more than a year.”

The first step in the use of social networks in the sector was given by Grupel, with João Pintado affirming that there is at least one aspect in which his company leads worldwide. “I often say that we are not world leaders in our business, but we are leaders in digital communication before the competition“, says the marketeer. “The paradigm begins to change and we already feel that some competitors try to follow some strategies that we implement, it is a normal process.

Want to implement Social Selling in your company? Follow These Tips

If you already imagine these strategies to be implemented in your company, do not forget the words of João Pintado, when he says that “change does not happen from one day to another“. In addition to this tip, the ECO asked Fernando Alves and Adolfo González to advise those who, with larger or smaller businesses, want to start on the path of Social Selling.

Commit yourself

For Fernando Alves, it is a “major challenge” to make “corporate executives understand that digital transformation brings about a change in business and is unstoppable.” Thus, transformations and compromises have to come from above to spread across teams. “The process of adopting Social Selling takes place top-down and without your commitment this transformation in your company is literally doomed to failure,” advises the Account Executive.

Get Organized

Being a recent technique, it will be necessary to keep all aspects of the process organized. As Adolfo González advises, “explain the concept internally, define goals for this new channel, involve top decision makers from the beginning, prepare the organization to implement the sale through this new channel and do not hurry,” because “like any project of change management also requires time and patience to produce consistent results. ”

Be present in Portugal Exporter

To learn how these tools can boost your sales, expand exports and identify new opportunities, or listen to these testimonies in the first person, mark a presence in the practical workshop “Social Selling as an Instrument for Export.” This one, organized under the Portuguese Exporter 2017, will be guided by the three figures of the sector and will take place in Auditorium II of the Congress Center of Lisbon, on November 22 at 16:00.


Article by ECO authors here.


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