Social selling lets your sales team build ‘real’ relationships
Nobody likes cold calling – it’s intrusive and the statistics show it’s ineffective. Using tools to perform social listening on topics relevant to your industry allows your sales team to identify new leads that are already talking about your business, competitors, or your industry, so you can reach out to them in an appropriate way. In a recent survey by CSO Insights and Seismic, one in three B2B professionals said that social selling tools increased the number of leads. What’s more, social tools help automate the process and reduce manual research of individuals.
Prospects use channels such as LinkedIn to share information about their professional needs, wants and pain points, and this enables outreach to be personalised and helpful from the outset.
Developing a network of targeted and relevant contacts that will inform your strategy and find your content engaging is mutually beneficial, and from a sales perspective, enables you to seek out introductions to new sales prospects through existing mutual connections.
This quickly establishes trust which is important, as 87% of B2B buyers say they would have a favourable impression of someone introduced through their professional network (LinkedIn Slide Share).
Your prospects are already engaged in social buying
Sales professionals can use social listening and other social research strategies to find prospects, but those contacts are already engaging with social media to find potential vendors, perform independent research and make an informed decision, all before contacting a sales professional.
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. Even better, 92% of B2B buyers are willing to engage with a sales professional who is a known industry thought leader. You can build this reputation by consistently posting thoughtful, relevant content on social media that you know will resonate with your audience.
By using social listening tools, you can learn the words your audience tend to use when they talk about your industry or the challenges they have. This in turn will give you a good sense of what kind of insights are most useful to them so you can resonate with your audience.
Here are a few a keywords and topics that you can start to monitor:
- Your brand name and handles
- Your product name(s), including common misspellings
- Your competitors’ brand names, product names and handles
- Your strapline and those of your competitors
- Names of key people in your company and your competitors’ companies (your CEO, spokesperson, etc.)
- Campaign names and industry buzzwords
- Your branded hashtags and those of your competitors
- Unbranded hashtags related to your industry
Your competitors are already using social selling
71% of all sales professionals are already using social selling tools, so if you aren’t, it means you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage (LinkedIn Business).
What’s more, brands across multiple industries are implementing social selling tools, including technology and travel. Microsoft is one such organisation which has seen the power of social selling. Their social selling pilot program started out with 15 people selling Microsoft Azure using their LinkedIn accounts to find their own customers. This boosted productivity by 38%, and the program scaled to 3,000+ sellers as more employees witnessed the success of using LinkedIn and Sales Navigator to prospect leads (LinkedIn Business).
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