As its name would suggest, social selling is the technique of using social media to find, connect, and nurture sales prospects. In a sense, social selling is a more modern way of developing meaningful relationships with potential customers in such a way that you’ll be the first brand they think about when they are ready to buy. Another way of putting it is to say that social selling has replaced cold calling by using LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, among other online and even offline platforms.
That said, social selling is not about spamming people with countless tweets and private messages. In part, it’s about building relationships, but it’s also about listening and choosing the right moment to jump into the conversation and present your product as a solution to the problem. Your aim is to address a pressing need and make the prospect’s life a little easier, and social selling allows you to do that.
Why Use Social Selling?
Statistically speaking, 78% of companies that are engaged in social selling are outselling those that are not. To make things even better, customers are roughly 57% through their purchase process by the time they engage with a sales professional. In addition, some 75% of B2B buyers and around 84% of executives will use contacts and other information from their social networks to make their purchasing decisions. If you are not already engaged in social selling, the chances are that you won’t be part of these people’s purchase research.
Furthermore, roughly 62% of B2B buyers will respond to potential providers, granted they will be sharing them insights relevant to their own business. That number skyrockets to 92% of B2B buyers if sales professionals are known as thought leaders in their respective industries.
In a different study, a third of B2B marketers said that social selling helped them increase their number of leads, while 39% said that social tools reduced the time spent researching accounts and contacts. Also, 87% of B2B buyers will have a more favorable impression of a salesperson if they were introduced through their own professional network. Finally, sales professionals using social selling were shown to have 45% more sales opportunities, as well as a 51% higher chance of hitting their sales quotas than those who do not.
How To Go About Social Selling?
Several components go into social selling. The first of these is social prospecting, where sales teams track various social networks to identify prospects that show signals of being interested in their products or services.
Second, we have personal branding, which will be used by sales team members via their social presence to market their company’s product and provide helpful expertise without sounding too salesy. Lastly, social relationship management makes use of online networks to create and nurture positive relationships with customers.
Among useful best practices for social selling, we can include the following:
- Social Media Profiles Optimization – The first step towards a successful social selling strategy is to optimize your social media profiles in a way they will present you as a credible professional with valuable insights. Look at your profiles from the customer’s perspective and ensure your profiles present you in the best possible light across all networks.
- Engagement – While social bots and other automated commenting tools make sense in marketing and customer service, they may be detrimental for your social selling efforts. It’s for this reason why it’s best to engage with customers directly, to build genuine relationships with them.
- Social Listening – Customers today will share a large amount of information on their social channels – telling you exactly what they need. By using social lists and other such tools, you can monitor what people are saying about your brand and products, your industry, and your competitors. You should watch for pain points and recommendation requests, which will put you in an excellent position to offer a solution to their problem.
- Recommendations and Personalization – Once you’ve identified your leads, check their networks for mutual connections. If they exist, ask your shared contacts for an introduction. Likewise, look through their social profiles to customize and personalize your messaging.
- Valuable Social Posts – To increase your reputation as a thought leader in your industry, you should provide value with every post you share on your social channels. You can also add relevant posts from others, but add a short comment mentioning how that information can be applied in your field. Mentioning your product in your social posts is okay, but don’t turn them into sales pitches.
- Nurture Your Relationships – You will also need to stay in touch with your social contacts over time. Keep an eye out on what they’re posting and add a comment from time to time. If they move to a new position, send them your congratulations, or if you notice them asking for advice, provide an answer that doesn’t directly promote your product. Tools like Nudge and Nimble CRM can help you identify contacts and their social profiles as well as help you maintain those relationships.
The point is to make yourself be the go-to person in your industry and build relationships then opportunities.