The sales process has always been driven by knowledge and trust: knowledge from the sales person about what the customer really wants, knowledge from the customer about the existence of the product, and trust from the customer in the salesperson or company. Data analytics and social media play distinct roles in archiving knowledge and trust. However, social media and the data taken out of social media are often confused as one and the same. They are not.
On one hand, we can use social media to create knowledge about a product and trust into this product. On the other hand, data derived from social interactions or the shopping experience as such can be used to create knowledge about the customer and thus serve the customer better. In both cases, the social sales approach as well as the analytics of social data are aiming to support our sales efforts. But the actual work and skill sets are quite different. In this chapter we will look at both areas. In the first part, we will discuss social networks and how they can be used. In the second part of this chapter, we will look at data analytics derived either from social data or from customer purchase behavior.
A social layer within an online sales process adds not only the possibility to create reach, as discussed in Chapter 1, but also knowledge and trust. Consider the following case:
While shopping Walmart online, you find a product you like. You can discuss whether you should buy it, ask friends ...