Sunday, September 11, 2016

Social selling in healthcare takes work and commitment. Can you?

I am pretty amazed really, about all the attention, viewpoints, and content that is available about social selling and why that’s the new paradigm for sales and marketing. It’s obvious that marketing and sales professionals are starved for information about the how.  But, and this is a big but, may be looking for the pixy dust to sprinkle on their efforts and make it easy.

Sorry, but social selling in healthcare is not easy. It’s damn hard.

Why? It’s simple really.  Sales have to put the time in themselves to comment on clients/prospects company's blog posts. Use LinkedIn to its fullest potential with updates, liking others content, shares, and group activity. Share relevant industry information on Twitter and other platforms where customers and prospects are present.

Marketing can’t do that for you, but it does require a very high level of sales and marketing integration.

And though marketing and sales integration is claimed by many, few companies have done it. Social media and social selling take a lot of work.  But when you supplement what you know from traditional efforts, with who they follow, how they comment, share and follow specific issues, a very different picture emerges.

So from a previous blog post of mine, here is your nine-step process, edited to focus entirely on sales. Now, stop talking about it and start doing it.

Nine steps for social selling success  

1.       Commit to social media all the time. The challenge is to keep in front of your audience with relevant information, all the time.  Attention spans are short.  If someone sees no changes on a pretty regular basis in your content or information, they will fall away. 
2.       Follow the client and prospect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for example. Discover what groups they belong to on LinkedIn and join them. 
3.       Spend at least 10-15 hours per week engaged in social media activities.   Share articles and comment on appropriate topics in their LinkedIn groups. Comment and share your company blog. This all about knowledge and value. 
4.       Make sure social media selling is part of your sales sequences for establishing trusted advisor status with your client or prospect. 
5.       Make sure that everyone in sales is using the same social media tactics, techniques and materials. All sales and marketing materials should be content appropriate and provide value, not features and benefits. Does the content for sharing answer the questions, how does this help me? One size does not fit all. 
6.       Revisit and change as needed, the ideal company profile and buyer personas.  Why? Because as you learn via social media and social selling one can infer intentions, pain points and challenges they are looking to solve by what they read, comment on or share. All clues in developing your social media and social selling approach. 
7.       Once one understands the publications and interests of the client and prospect search out relevant content to share. Do not limit yourself to content that is created in-house. Become the well informed, eclectic sales person with a wide variety of thought leadership sources. 
8.        Make sure that the entire organization knows what you are doing.  Nothing more embarrassing or damaging when someone at any level of the organization is clueless and can't be supportive of the sales efforts.  Makes you look like you do not know what you are doing. 
9.       Evaluate, monitor performance, make changes as needed in the program or staff and start the cycle again.

Put in the time. Reap the rewards. Don’t and you fall behind your competition and fail.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Writings are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group,  Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

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