Does Social “Selling” Really Work?
The dynamics of B2B selling have changed dramatically from the days when the sales person controlled the sales process. Technology has put the buyer in the driver’s seat, with the ability to access a wealth of information and data about a product or service they are interested in.
Not only are buyers driving the sales process, they want to engage with companies through highly personalized content that addresses their pain points. Just as buyers leverage technology, sales professionals use it to gain a competitive edge. Nearly three-quarters of sales professionals (73%) use sales technology to close more deals, with top sales performers using networking platforms to help close deals at a 51% higher rate than their peers.[i]
Connect on a Personal Level
Given that 71% of buyers conduct research prior to talking to a prospective supplier[ii], social selling is invaluable in connecting with prospects on a more personal level and building rapport. LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI), which ranks the use of LinkedIn as a social selling tool, is based upon creating a strong brand, identifying and engaging the right prospects, and building lasting relationships.
Social selling has been found to be highly effective, with “90% of top sales people use social selling tools, compared to 71% of sales people in general.”[iii] As each sales person is unique in how they engage with, and relate to, customers, it is important that they develop their own personal brand. A personal brand should align closely with the corporate brand and be communicated consistently throughout all social media channels.
Social Media Influences Buying Decisions
Social selling is a low-key way to engage with prospects. It allows companies to meet prospects where they are and provide answers throughout the buyer’s journey. A recent study found that social media influenced a purchasing decision among 92% of buyers within the last year.[iv]
Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of social media’s influence on the buying process, with nearly 49% of sales people spending three to 10 hours per week using social selling tools.[v] Social selling builds upon a strong brand presence and inbound marketing program, enabling companies to talk with prospects in a less formal “salesy” manner.
Communicating to prospects via social media platforms also builds credibility and trust. Just as old-fashioned referrals are a great source of qualified leads, recommendations from peers on social media networks help companies gain traction, separating them from the competition.
Grant Marketing can help you develop a social selling strategy—encompassing a compelling corporate/personal brand proposition, interactive website, and engaging campaigns and content—to convert leads into solid prospects, and ultimately, loyal customers. Contact us today to get the conversation started.
[i] LinkedIn State of Sales 2018
[ii] Demand Gen 2017 B2B Buyers Survey Report
[iii] LinkedIn State of Sales 2016
[iv] “Strategic Social Media Is Essential for Driving B2B Sales”, Forbes, March 22, 2018
[v] LinkedIn State of Sales 2016