Social selling — the method of leveraging social media connections in order to generate leads — is a highly discussed new sales practice, but does it live up to the hype? Can replying to a tweet really win you business? The data overwhelmingly points to yes. In the current digital age, B2B buyers do more than 74% of their research online, so it is only logical that salespeople should meet the buyers where they are — online! Interacting with potential buyers via social media is a great way to reach new audiences, build relationships, and convert these relationships into clients. Social media also provides insights into your potential buyer’s identity and needs, which is incredibly valuable in the new environment of highly informed and empowered customers.
Research shows that social selling creates an increase in lead generation, win rates, and, ultimately, revenue. A recent study shows that 73% of salespeople using social selling outperformed their peers and exceeded their quotas 23% more often, and that 40% of salespeople close 2-5 deals annually through social selling. Not only does social selling help generate leads, it also helps close them — leads developed on social media are 7x as likely to close than other leads. 61% of companies employing social selling reported that it had a positive impact on their revenue growth.
So, you’re interested in social selling, but don’t know how to implement it effectively? Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Be Authentic and Personable
Your customers are smart, and if you send out the same automated tweet from all your salespeople, they will likely notice. Social media is not an avenue for spamming people or bombarding them with constant streams of information. Social selling is about building relationships, which requires a sustained purposeful effort and not just a single blast. Don’t try to sell immediately. Focus on first building a relationship and laying the groundwork for a future sale. Steady engagement with audiences will keep your products top of mind.
2. Build Your Credibility
Customers want to work with salespeople who appear trustworthy and knowledgeable in their field. Forbes found that 92% of B2B buyers engage with salespeople if they perceive them as thought leaders in the industry. Establish your credibility as a thought leader by maintaining a professional profile, posting original content, and reposting or commenting on content from respected authorities in the field.
3. Spread the Word
Encourage all of your employees to share content to expand your audience and increase your company’s visibility. This is a great way to get business by referrals, which are responsible for 65% of new business and are the beginning of the buying process for 85% of B2B decision makers. These decision makers are 4x as likely to buy from a referral from a friend. So capitalize on your employees’ connections by having them post your company’s content!
Overall, be patient and authentic, and use social media to listen to your customers’ needs. There is a great opportunity here for forward thinking companies to get a leg up on the competition by developing social selling skills that many companies lack. Summer is also the perfect time for companies to try new tactics. So, what are you waiting for?