Social Selling: The Evolution of B2B Selling
Social selling has become an essential part of the modern-day B2B sales process. The role of the sales representative has evolved over time. We’ve gone from door-to-door, cold calling, emailing, to social selling. Each new way of selling involved a change management process in gaining proficiency in the new skill.
Social selling is just the next step in the evolution of the sales process. We’ve all heard that change is inevitable, and we’ve all definitely experienced it. So, why do we continue to put up walls to try and stop the inevitable? You need to understand and embrace the new ways of selling, or you’ll get left behind.
Why Social Selling?
That’s an easy question to answer. Here are just a few reasons why you should be incorporating social selling into your social business process.
Your Buyers Are Using Social Media To Make Decisions – If you’re under the impression that social selling is mainly for B2C companies, then you’re missing out on opportunities to increase your sales. B2B decision makers are using social media to help them make the right choices when making a purchase. If you’re not active and visible on social media, then you’re letting prospects pass you by.
“Over 70% of B2B purchase decision makers user social media to help them decide.” (Hubspot)
Your Buyers Are Researching You On Social Media – Social media is at our fingertips all day every day. It makes sense that your prospects are researching you and your company online before even speaking with you. Social media is a good way for you to share content (blog posts, white papers, eBooks, etc.) with prospects. I’m not saying that YOU should be writing white papers and e-books. I’m saying, as a salesperson, you should be providing the content for sales created by your marketing team to your prospects via your social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. Make it easy for your prospects to gather information about you and your company.
“77% of B2B purchasers said that they would not even speak to a salesperson until they had done their own research.” (Hubspot)
Your Buyers Are Looking For Trust – Competition in the B2B world is fierce. There are so many companies that are competing for the same business. Your buyers want to feel you care about them and that they can trust you. The more trust you build through your online social selling relationships, then the higher the likelihood you’ll get the business.
“92% of buyers say they delete emails or voicemail messages when comes from someone that they do not know.” (Triblio)
Your Buyers Are Millennials – More and more millennials are stepping into the role of decision-maker for B2B companies. Millennials are extremely tech-savvy; therefore, it’s important to cater to their buying journey as well.
“Millennials are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.” (Hubspot)
5 Social Selling Tips
As we previously mentioned, the sales process has changed over the years. Today, the modern buyer requires a modern seller. The biggest piece of the sales process that continues to change is the tool that you’re using. The door-to-door salesperson had their car, briefcase, and sample products to use as they went from door to door trying to make a sale. Inside sales representatives have used the telephone and email as their primary tools for making cold calls and email sales. Now, we have the Internet to help us know more about our prospects and reach them in multiple ways online. How cool is that? When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing the potential you have to increase sales using social selling. Your lead list has never been bigger!
Here are a few tips to help you evolve into social selling.
#1: Know Your Audience
Getting to know your prospect is a great way to know what types of content you need to be sharing with them. Look at what they are posting on their LinkedIn and Twitter feeds. This will give you a good idea of the things your prospects find most important. Once you’ve identified their interests and needs, you will be better equipped to provide them with useful information that interests them.
#2: Make it Personal
Sales has always been about making it personal. The difference is that now you have all kinds of valuable information about your prospects online. You can find out what types of things they’re interested in professionally and personally. Then, when you have the opportunity to reach out to them you have a plethora of information available to mention when you contact them. Don’t go for the hard sell right off the bat – this doesn’t create trust. Instead, learn how to implement the PVC Sales MethodologyTM.
#3: Follow the 4-1-1 Rule
When you share information on social media platforms it’s important to mix it up. Don’t always talk about your company. No one wants to always hear about the same thing over and over. Share industry insights and blogs that are about your industry or a related industry. Follow the 4-1-1 Rule: four posts that are curated content (non-company), one company post that is a blog, white paper, etc., and one soft sell. It’s as easy as that! So, each day when you’re getting ready to share content on your social media sites just remember 4-1-1!
#4: Become a Thought Leader
Being a thought leader in your industry is a great way to establish trust. Following the 4-1-1 rule will help you to gain a better status with your online community because you’re interested in your industry as a whole and not just your company. Also, writing well-thought-out blog posts is another great way to establish yourself as a thought leader. When you share your insights and ideas about your industry, you will start to develop your online reputation and others will seek out your advice or expertise.
#5: Engage with Others
Engaging with others is a big part of social selling. You need to attract the attention of your prospects in a sea of millions of people. The best way to get noticed is to engage with your prospects on social media. Like or comment on the things they post on their social media sites. Mention them in your posts asking for their expert opinion. Send them private messages via their social media accounts introducing yourself, but keep it within their interests (don’t make the hard sale). When you come on too strong and try to make the sale before they even know anything about you or your company a wall goes up. Engage with them about what they’re expressing as interests on their social media sites.
Learn How to Apply These Social Selling Tips
These are just a few tips for helping you on your social selling journey. Social selling isn’t about stalking your prospects; it’s about engaging with them and getting to know them in a way that will build a relationship. If you’re interested in learning more about social selling and becoming a social business practitioner, we would love to help!