What Exactly Is Social Selling and Why You Need It
September 22, 2015
The Definition of “Social Selling”
Leveraging your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights, and relationships.
The term “social selling” is still fairly new, and, even just five to 10 years ago, despite the explosive growth and popularity of social networks, many B2B executives believed that such social sites as Twitter and LinkedIn were distractions that would draw salespeople’s attention away from core selling activities.
They also believed that LinkedIn was largely a résumé repository, where salespeople would go to hunt for new jobs or be poached by the competition.
There is a growing awareness among sales leaders, however, that, at its core, social selling adheres to the same time-tested principles of sales success.
The Value of Social Selling
Not all sales teams have incorporated social selling into their sales process, but many others have seen that social media can be transformative.
This is true for companies large and small, across all industries. Certain industry studies and experts are documenting these shifts; consider the following statistics:
57% of the B2B buying decision is made BEFORE speaking to any rep
77% of B2B buyers do not speak to a rep until they do independent research
65% of B2B buyers say vendor content had an impact on their purchase decision
Social sellers surpass quota 23% more often
Non social sellers miss quota 15% more often than social sellers
The average cold-call-to-appointment rate is under 3%
Conflicting reports abound about which social networks will get the most traction for sales, but an obvious rule of thumb is to figure out where your customers are most likely to be and establish your presence there.
Ideally, you should be active daily, but it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. You can use automated tools – though they do removed much of the personalization you need to be most successful – or you can hire a Social Media Marketing Consultant – often at a fair rate that returns on your investment – to effectively manage your Social Selling campaign. Either way, the goal is to stay active, so that your social accounts stay active. Make sure to check the responses to your posts and shares and follow up when someone mentions your brand. Fifteen minutes every day should do it.
Contacting Prospects on Social Media
Before you reach out directly, find out all you can about them based on their social profiles. Visit their LinkedIn profile and check their Twitter timelines. Depending on how active they are, you might be able to find out far more than their full names, job titles, and work history. Plus, prospects will be much more receptive – not to mention impressed – if you’re already familiar with the competitive landscape and their specific needs.
When you interact on social networks, don’t be “sales-y.” Your job as a social seller is to build relationships by offering advice and expertise, not information about your company’s solutions and services. Building trust will pay off in the end.
For example, if you notice a discussion on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn that’s relevant to your brand or industry, share your advice without any pitch or product mentions. Your participation demonstrates your interest in being connected, staying current and making your mark where your prospects are already engaged online.
The idea is to become thought leader in your space. To become a trusted advisor. To do that salespeople should post about four times as much content of value, educational or informative material of interest as they should product or company information. Afterall, 65% of buyers say vendor content had an impact on their purchase decision. Keep sending this content, then drop in something on your company, and they prospects will click! This is part of the key foundation to the very important new wave in Content Marketing.
Social selling will likely be the norm in five years. We are about a year away from the tipping point, when we get to critical mass. When that happens, the following will occur:
Salespeople will be hired based on their social footprint This is key to your future. Here is an example, a real estate brokerage in New Jersey will loog for Agents based on their connections. They won’t hire a new Agent that has not done their due diligence and they will not hire a nonlocal Agent, because they will not have the connections.
The line between sales and marketing will blur even further as salespeople do their own micromarketing Educated salespeople are already good at one-to-one and one-to-few communication. But what happens when, instead of calling ten people on the phone, they can do four social media updates a day, reaching 15,000 people?
Reps who are already responsible for about 70 percent of their leads and revenue may increase that share by becoming their own marketers TIP: Connect with people who are important to you – and relevant to your own business – to see their updates on your homepage, Account Pages, or on their profiles, so you’ll always know what’s going on.
Many companies – large and small – are either reluctant to embrace social media for sales or are still moving slowly in doing so. Industry experts and analysts believe that these companies will be left behind within the next five to 10 years.