Today’s consumers are independent and informed. Moreover, they are more likely than not to use social media to research products and make buying decisions. According to HubSpot, 74% of B2B buyers conduct greater than half of their research online before making any purchase or even contacting a salesperson. The act of social selling is simply using social media to place yourself, product or service in a position of being able to provide value to prospective customers.
Not dissimilar to lead nurturing, social selling is all about ongoing, long-term engagement. According to a study presented by LinkedIn, social selling leaders get better results. In fact, LinkedIn found that 78% of social sellers outsell in comparison to those who do not use social media. Social media can help you actively communicate with accounts and monitor your prospects in real-time. It also allows you to look for opportunities to reach out to. This will allow you to have a better idea of an appropriate follow-up message and when a follow-up message will be well received.
What exactly is social selling?
Social selling is the act of leveraging social media to find and nurture prospects. We know that huge numbers of people use social media everyday and social selling is just meeting them where they tend to visit. It is a fantastic way to develop relationships with potential customers so that you are their first thought when they are ready to buy.
If you have a Facebook Business Page, a LinkedIn profile, or Twitter account, you may already be taking the first steps to social selling without even knowing it. Pushing out helpful content via social media is only the beginning. What you need to do is to start to listen because the key to social selling is social listening. Social listening is the act of using social platforms to listen in on conversations relevant to your industry. You need to listen for the right moment to join the conversation so that you can present yourself as a solution to their problem.
Why is social selling important for your business?
In a nutshell, social selling works.
1. Social selling lets your sales team build real relationships
Nobody likes to receive cold calls. Nobody likes to make cold calls. However, social listening allows your sales team to identify new leads that are already talking about your industry, your competitors, or their needs so you can reach out to them with useful information when the time is right. Prospects share so much information about their needs and pain points online that even your first point of contact can be super personalized, relevant, and helpful, rather than cold and intrusive and perhaps unwelcome. Social selling can allow you to develop better relationships with clients and become a thought leader by posting relevant contact across your social media channels.
2. Social selling lends itself to network creation and new introductions
Establishing networks across your social media channels allows you to seek out introductions to new prospects through existing mutual connections. These introductions come with an increased sense of trust and rapport which is incredibly important. How important? A whopping 87% of B2B buyers say they have a more favorable impression of someone who is introduced through their professional network.
3. Your clients are already engaged in social buying
Just as you can use social listening strategies to find out more about potential clients, those leads are already using social search to find potential vendors. These potential leads do most of their research online, explore their options and develop an opinion about which vendor is the best fit before making human contact. Research indicates that buyers are 54% through their buying process before even speaking to a sales representative. If you are not actively engaged in social selling, you are not even showing up during the beginning phases of the buyer’s journey.
According to LinkedIn, 76% of buyers are ready to have a social media conversation with potential providers, and more than 62% of B2B buyers respond to salespeople who connect with them to share insights and opportunities relevant to their business.
4. The best-in-class companies are already using social selling
A full 90% of top salespeople are already using social selling tools. While you do not need to follow everything your competitors are doing, it makes sense to adopt techniques that are bringing them success. A failure to adopt social selling will result in your competitors picking up leads that might have otherwise found their way to you.
All of the above outlines why you should embrace social selling. Watch for our upcoming post on how to engage in social selling.