Social selling — most sales reps have heard of it. It’s something that most sales reps aspire to do, but few are able to effectively execute. Most sales reps will get started with social selling, reach out to a few prospects without putting much thought into their approach, and after a few days without securing a new client, they decide to go back to outdated methods that provide less effective but reliable results for them.
Why do you suppose that is?
In most cases, those attempts fail because those reps aren’t following social selling best practices. They are approaching prospects using traditional sales methods and not engaging genuinely with the people that they believe their product would be a good fit for.
For one, if you want social selling to be effective, give it time. Because you’re leveraging social media to build relationships that are supposed to lead to business results, you need to expect that this will be an ongoing effort and it will take you 3-4 months before you’ll see the first results. Relationships simply don’t blossom overnight.
In addition, you can’t come on too strong. The focus needs to be on building a genuine relationship and not so much on focusing on securing the sale from the moment the interaction begins. Prospects can spot that from a mile away and immediately begin to distrust the entire interaction.
If you are a sales rep who wants to start diving deeper into social selling but have struggled with it in the past, here are three best practices to keep in mind to be successful:
1. Focus on Relationships, Not Sales
Social selling wouldn’t be social selling without the social aspect. If you contact prospects through social media and immediately start diving into the selling process, you aren’t doing social selling. You’re just doing cold calling via social media.
The process of social selling begins with building a relationship, and that begins with determining the best way to kick-off an interaction. Prospects can share a lot of information about themselves on social media that you can use to engage in opening conversations that establish rapport and position you to build a strong relationship with a prospect.
2. Provide a Consistent Stream of Value
Fora relationship with a prospect to be successful, the prospect should see the relationship as valuable for them. But, it’s important that you throw out some of the conventional notions of what providing value means.
Delivering value to prospects in social selling doesn’t necessarily mean sending them a consistent stream of content that is relevant to their interests. It’s important to find the balance between X and Y
Value means whatever it means to the prospect. It could be content. It could simply mean engaging in meaningful conversations about their business, or taking an interest in what they are doing. The right touch can be different for each prospect and it takes a keen level of social awareness to identify what each prospect will find valuable and be able to deliver that in spades.
3. Authenticity Facilitates Social Selling Success
Authenticity is truly the key to success in social selling. Approaching prospects in a disingenuous way is something that they can feel. They know when you are only being nice to them to facilitate the sale. This is where helping your prospects and providing value come into play. While your ultimate goal might be the sale, the more pressing matter is to facilitate the relationship and be genuine in your interactions. Genuinely take an interest in their business and approach how your product can help them with that knowledge in mind.
The evolution of social media had a jaw-dropping influence on the B2B buyer’s journey. Digital channels play a huge role in buying decisions, with 92% of B2B buying decisions being influenced by digital media in one way or another.
Early adopters of social selling understand the impact that it has on their careers, while companies that insist on sticking with traditional sales channels and methods find themselves struggling to meet their monthly quotas.
Innovation moves fast. While in the late 90s, selling per fax was the way to go, many businesses today don’t even have fax machines anymore. Just a few years ago, reaching out to prospects through email would have been seen as a cutting-edge way to grab their attention.Today? It’s more likely to land you in their spam inbox than getting in front of your target. Of course, that means that social selling - today’s shiny toy - will be overtaken by something else at some point. Already today, ‘digital sales’ is talked about.
But in the meantime, social selling remains the present and future. It’s the most reliable way to increase sales leads and develop real, meaningful relationships with prospects.
Here at SocialSellinator, we’ve built our business around social selling and we strategically use it to help our clients re-shape the way they conduct sales. Some of the reasons why we believe in social selling so strongly include:
More Social Selling Means More Opportunities
The proof is in the pudding. Social sellers engage with more people within their target market. As a result, they are able to attract 45% more opportunities, according to a recent study from LinkedIn. That’s something that every business could benefit from.
Social selling is all about building connections with your audience before the selling process starts. That way, when the selling process commences in earnest, there is already familiarity and understanding there. Your prospects already know that they can come to you for information about your product, industry, or other related topics. The sales conversation is more of a formality when it takes place in that context.
Build Better, More Meaningful Relationships
Genuinely engaging with prospects before trying to sell them anything will lead to stronger, more genuine relationships. Right?
That’s exactly what social selling does. 31% of B2B professionals said in a recent survey that social selling allowed them to build deeper relationships with their clients.
Through genuine engagement, you learn about their hobbies, interests, and professional experience. You might learn more about what college they attended. When sales conversations do start, you can speak to how your solution will help them from a place of true understanding — rather than using sales tricks to learn more and guide the conversation. Don’t try people to sell what you have - sell them what they need.
Decision-Makers Leverage Social Media
Decision makers and C-level executives use social media to research options and make purchasing decisions. In fact, a study from Bambu recently found that 84% of C-level executives leveraged social media in their B2B purchasing processes.
In sales, your goal should always be to meet your audience where they already are. In this case, your audience is already using social media to learn more about the products and services they invest in.
B2B Buyers Prefer to Engage Through Social
Companies should embrace social selling not just because it is more effective, but because it’s the medium where their buyers prefer to engage with them. 92% of B2B buyers use social media platforms specifically to engage with thought leaders in their industry. 33% of users prefer to contact brands through social media rather than making a phone call.
Increase Sales Leads Reliably
Social selling helps companies to increase their sales leads but also increases the quality of the leads generated as well. Embracing social selling allows sales reps to go into sales conversations with a better understanding of their prospects and a foundation for their relationship in place. By embracing social selling early, you’ll position yourself at the forefront of a burgeoning industry that will one day be accepted as the most effective way to engage in B2B sales.
While the definition of digital online marketing is quite regular, the capabilities of DM are extraordinary. Learn pull strategy in advertising that is digital efficiently. To explain the definition of online advertising is: using digital sources that may calculate efficacy to promote brands, products and services. Digital sources include: e-mail the web, video, RSS, Instant Message programs, podcasts and mobile devices such as the smart phone. There's a lose debate over whether or not to include Television digital billboards in the list. Certainly they're digital technology, but digital online marketing is considered readily quantifiable. Which implies that it is simple to tabulate the amount of people many made a purchase and saw the advertising message, how many took actions.
With Television billboards, the message might be seen by customers, do it and purchase, but there isn't any way to compute the number. You cannot quantify the outcomes of the message in any way. Thus, they are not regarded as true methods for DM.The capacity to quantify the outcomes of a marketing campaign is the largest difference between digital and marketing online advertising. This is why the advertising industry in ways that are large is altering. Digital Online Marketing isn't a brand new sector within marketing, it's the whole new face of marketing. Within DM, the two main types of services.
There is Push DM and Bring DM.Push Pull Strategy in Digital MarketingPush DM - The drive strategy in DM is the usage of advertisements that pushes people towards a product, brand or service. For example, a digital push marketing message could be an email, RSS feed or a Facebook post with a blog\/website link. The advantages of Digital push advertising is that it targets warm prospects or individuals who're already on your list. It targets your niche.
In addition, you can personalize the message. For instance in an e-mail you might have it address every individual individually, "Dear..."
Finally, it's pretty easy to track the efficacy of this kind of campaign. The drawback of push advertising is that it reaches a smaller audience and usually takes more time, effort and money to put together. Pull DM - The pull approach inside Digital Online Marketing, is fairly where the potential client must activity seek out the companies marketing content. For instance, a potential client might find your blog or article through a Google search. Or, a potential client might such as the content you post on your societal network platforms and after that decide to take a look at your products.
The advantage and drawback of the pull strategy go hand-at hand. More measures are included here, for the possible customer. But, if they're taken, there's a higher percent chance that the potential client will purchase or opt in. An instance of successful pull advertising is SEO and having your article or web site ranked on the first page of a Google search.
When most founders think of social media marketing or digital marketing, they see them as channel to deliver marketing messages to their audience. It’s commonly viewed as a channel for building awareness, providing customer support, and distributing content — but to their detriment — is not as often viewed as a channel for sales.
The truth is that social media can be all of those things. A well-designed social selling and marketing strategy helps align your teams, a task that that is a constant struggle for most organizations.
“Social selling” isn’t just a buzzword among tech-savvy sales reps. It’s a necessity for B2B companies to compete in an increasingly crowded social landscape. But even in B2C, social selling has incredible value. Especially in highly commoditized businesses, social selling is a powerful tool to help differentiate from the competition. For example, law firms, real-estate agents and financial services/investment advisors benefit significantly and can set themselves apart.
Adapt to a Changing Buyer’s JourneyToday 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before B2B prospects reach out to their first sales rep. Nearly half of all buyers view three to five unique pieces of content before they engage. After connecting, sales reps are expected to continually deliver new content and value throughout the sales process.
B2B buyer’s don’t want to be sold to until they have an understanding of the lay of the land. They want space to research your product, industry, and competitors before they pull the trigger and agree to take that next step.
A well-defined social media strategy — created and maintained with collaboration from both sales and marketing teams — embraces these facts and positions your company to capitalize on rapidly changing customer behavior. Customers want a seamless transition from learning about your company to actively considering buying and a strong social media presence facilitates that.
Identify Prospects and Accounts Social selling fits seamlessly with account-based marketing and selling practices, where the focus is placed on engaging with multiple stakeholders and treating an entire organization as a prospect, instead of just individuals within that organization.
Today 82% of prospects can be reached socially. By identifying prospects through social networks, you’re meeting them on communication channels where they are already active. This makes the sales conversation more natural and reduces a prospect’s inclination to enter sales conversations defensively. In a nutshell: it removes the cold-calling from the sales pitch.
In account-based marketing and selling, the identification of prospects is critical and it’s important that your teams work together to define what an ideal prospect looks like to your organization. Social media allows you to learn a lot about prospects even before your first conversation.
Social media digital marketing and social selling allow you to enter conversations that are relevant to your business, your services or products and deliver real value to prospects. It provides your teams with a level playing field where the prospect doesn’t feel like they are being sold to. It gives your marketing and sales reps an easy-in for providing value and establishing rapport before your first sales conversations even take place.
Engage Prospects with Valuable ContentDelivering valuable content to prospects isn’t just for marketing teams anymore. Valuable content should be delivered throughout the nurturing and sales processes. While your marketing teams need strong educational content, your sales teams need bottom-of-funnel content like case studies, white papers, product sheets, and product comparisons to close deals. Social networks provide you with a way to consistently get your most valuable content in front of your ideal prospects.
A Collaborative ProcessSocial selling and account-based marketing go hand-in-hand. By committing to engaging with your target accounts (and all stakeholders within them) through social media, you can lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship, establish rapport and trust. Then, the channels where your marketing teams engage with prospects will be the same channels where your sales reps engage as well, creating a seamless experience for your prospects.
Are you struggling to gain traction on social media and feel like you are constantly running into a brick wall despite consistently increasing the time that you dedicate to growing your social media presence? Or maybe you haven’t yet jumped on the social media bandwagon because you aren’t sure where to start?
Both situations are quite common. Developing a sustainable social presence is extremely difficult and knowing where to start may be the hardest part.
Hang in there. Social media is incredibly important for establishing a digital presence. Worldwide, there will be more than 3 billion social media users by 2021. Your customers expect that they will be able to interact with you through the channel of their choosing. 59% of U.S. social media users state that social customer service has made it easier for them to get their questions answered.
Having a strong social presence allows you to meet your customers where they already are and engage them. Companies that embrace social media make it easy for their customers to find and buy from them.
If you don’t have the expertise to effectively design and execute a social media marketing strategy, hiring a social media consultant may be a requirement for reliable, sustainable growth on your chosen social platforms.
How Do Social Media Consultants Help?
In my time helping companies grow their social media presences here at SocialSellinator, I’ve found that many companies have some reluctance when it comes to hiring social media consultants. This is understandable as it does represent an upfront cost for a channel that they haven’t been able to effectively harness.
But in most cases — those companies will never be able to harness social media without some direction from someone with experience.
Consistency is important for success in social, but an effective strategy is what sets the stage for long-term success. A social consultant can help you identify not only what content your audience would like to see form you but help you figure out how to get that content in front of them.
Here are a few of the ways that social media consultants can help you to improve your social presence and position you for sustainable long-term social success:
Why a Social Media Consultant is a Sound Long-Term Investment
A social media consultant isn’t a vendor. They are (or should be) a trusted partner for your business. If you’re like most companies that have tried again and again to develop some traction on social media only to give up or shift your focus to another channel, a consultant could be just what you need to audit your efforts, understand your audience, and design a strategy that produces results.