What Is Social Selling?
Social selling is the use of social media by salespeople to interact directly with prospects. Sales reps provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. The use of social media in sales allows salespeople to engage with potential customers without interrupting their daily lives with cold calls and hard sells.
How to Use Social Selling:
Only 1 in 4 sales reps knows how to integrate social selling into their sales process. Despite the fact that 75% of salespeople receive no training on how to use social selling, a majority are achieving and exceeding quota anyway. Imagine the outcome (and the impact on revenue) if reps knew how to use social selling effectively.
Demographics provide useful information about prospects, but social media offers behavioral data about your target customers – what they like, what they do, what’s happening at their company, what’s going on in their industry, where they encounter pain points, etc. These insights should help to create more targeted and relevant content. You can also acquire an understanding of what people are saying about your brand and your competitors, helping to craft better messaging and be prepared to answer questions.
Social selling is a non-intrusive way to generate and contact leads. Despite Social search engines, like the one in LinkedIn, allow you to search by criteria such as location and industry, sales teams can get involved with prospects while they are still in the early stages of information-gathering and from that point guide the selling process.
Transforming a potential lead into a solid connection is an accomplishment that leads to continuous referrals and an expanded network. As a professional networking platform, LinkedIn is perfect for B2B companies. Use this resource to grow your connections and build a network of prospects that could turn into new customers; browse first- and second-degree connections on LinkedIn or join an industry group. You can also follow blogs and engage in forums with key influencers in your industry niche.
By getting involved in the conversation, you have an idea of what your prospects are talking and asking about, and you are in the right place to help solve their problems. Add value by contributing relevant, non-sales-oriented insights, answering questions, retweeting posts, and commenting on blog articles. An added bonus is that you are positioning yourself as a subject matter expert and establishing yourself as a trustworthy resource, adding credibility to both your personal brand and your company. In fact, 92% of buyers are willing to engage with a sales rep who is known as an industry thought leader. Social selling is not a place for a hard sell – it’s a place to build trust and credibility. Work the intelligence in to your formal sales process and messaging while staying top of mind by continuing to interact on a personal level over social media.
Social selling requires viewing the whole sales landscape through the lens of being helpful. And that has great consequences on social media. It can take many forms, including:
- Sending someone an article that’s perfect for some issue they’re struggling with
- Introducing one person to another
- Thanking people publicly for their good work
- Making recommendations about companies or services that might help someone (companies that aren’t your competitors, of course)
- Sharing content that espouses values or industry trends you want to support
- Sharing humor or inspirational quotes (especially on Fridays)
- All this, of course, is another way to be authentic. And likable. And trustworthy.
Social selling means staying well-connected to the marketing department – and to the content creation and content marketing strategies. By the time they talk to a sales person, B2B buyers tend be pretty far along in their buying process. This means the company’s content is making a lot of the first impressions potential buyers get of your brand and product.
Social selling means close collaboration between sales and marketing. After all, those early messages matter; all that content has to perform. It has to attract the attention of the ideal prospects. It has to be good enough for buyers to make the choice to engage with your content, rather than your competitors’ content.
So whether it’s tweets, white papers, LinkedIn posts, eBooks, or conference booths, social selling means knowing what content their company is putting out. More importantly, social selling works most effectively when sales teams have a voice in the content creation process.
We love talking about content. If you have questions, please feel free to get in touch!
To find out more about the benefits of marketing and selling on social media, you can get started by downloading our B2B social selling resources below.