Social Selling in B2B: What You Need to Know
Consumers evolved along with new technologies, allowing them to navigate across multiple channels during their buying journey. In the process, social media became a major channel for both consumers and companies as the last saw an opportunity not only for marketing to increase brand visibility but also to directly start the buying process. That’s what we call social selling.
What is social selling?
Social Selling can be defined as the use of social media techniques by the sales team in order to reach prospects and to sell. It involves various techniques, among which the study of prospects and direct contact. In B2B, when we talk about social selling, it’s almost exclusively LinkedIn and Twitter. This strategy also often involved a sales team training:
– To increase awareness about the strategy,
– To demonstrate social media best practices;
– To familiarise the sales reps with some sort of CRM platform retrieving data from their social media.
Social selling should, however, not be confused with social media marketing which aims at increasing brand visibility and engagement – through content for example – on a large basis of followers and that is more generic than social selling.
Why use it?
Practices, whether they’d be in marketing or sales or for consumers, are evolving. Social selling is a way to adapt to the new kinds of buying processes.
By deeply studying the prospects and their behaviours as well as engaging them personally, companies are able to determine with precision what’s important for their leads. It can serve as a replacement for phone prospection which could become outdated in the years to come.
This strategy requires to build a personal relationship with prospects and to directly answer their questions. That’s why it’s also a great way to build loyalty as well as to improve reputation.
Finally, according to LinkedIn’s study and IDC’s study, social selling decreased by 75% the acquisition cost for a lead through social media. It enhances the whole buyer journey and experience with your brand while also improving your sales team results – which increases motivation.
Here are a couple of stats that show its growing importance:
– Sales reps using social selling are 79% more likely to reach their quota (Aberdeen Research Group)
– 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers (Forbes)
– 54% of those using social selling have closed a deal as a direct result of social media (A Sales Guy Consulting)
When is it the best time to engage in a social selling strategy? Now! Your top competitors are probably already doing it. Social media keeps growing, the new connected generation is taking its place in businesses… You have to keep up.
If you’re not entirely sure about what to do, start by preparing your LinkedIn, the best B2B social platform:
– Develop your (relevant) network
– Be active: share updates, articles, videos, and other content
– Be pro-active: like, comment, share, join groups, publish SlideShares…
– Gain credibility: regularly posting helps you gain credibility but having discussions with others (if you really know what you’re talking about) and having skills endorsed by your connections also play a big role
A large variety of actions can be put in place to either research, prospect or engage.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of what you can do:
– Define and detect business signals (seed found, M&A, job offers, etc.)
– Track activity on social media: prospects, industry, clients, competitors…
– Follow the sales team social media accounts daily
– Adopt a content marketing strategy
– Engage with prospects: recommendations, congratulations, questions, debates…
– Bring valuable insights through direct contacts
– Establish a company’s cartography…
How much will it cost?
How much does social selling cost? Outside of the management platform, it’s mainly time-consuming. The best way to determine its rentability is through these few steps:
– Determine your leads sources
Is it social media? Emailing? Marketing campaign? eBook?
– Analyse your buyer’s journey
Which page(s) did your prospect see? How long did they stay on the page(s)? Use these stats as feedback and improve your buyer’s journey to optimise your ROI.
– Measure social conversion rate
Whatever platform you use, it will tell you how many articles/websites/eBooks, etc. you share and how many clicked, but not only. Likes, comments, retweets, shares and other signals also count to measure engagement, which is ultimately what you should aim for.
Deduce the ROI by analysing how many social media leads you got per month compared to other channels, how much it cost, your conversion rate on those leads and what kind of deals you signed.