From the very beginning social media was an idea that started because people want to stay connected and discover new things, even in an increasingly digital environment. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that an increasing number of sales reps have begun to use social selling as platforms gain more and more relevance in the B2B business world.
Why Should You Care About Social Selling?
According to Hubspot, 74% of today’s B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making a purchase. This stat shows what we already know about modern buyers – they are smart, well-informed and do their research. And, part of your research is taking note of their social media presence and following them when it’s appropriate.
Additionally, Hubspot indicated that nearly 63 percent of salespeople are already using social channels for sales, and those numbers continue to grow. This means that if you’re not already using social selling, there’s a good chance your competitors are. In fact, according to research from LinkedIn, 78% of social sellers outsell their peers who are not using social selling.
Most people already know that social media is a crucial channel for marketing. However, the direct communication with potential clients and easy sales and marketing alignment opportunities also show that social media platforms can become very effective foundations for prospecting and sales discovery. Here are 3 key reasons why social selling has become such a key part of sales acceleration in the past few years, and why every savvy salesperson should make it a part of their day-to-day:
1. Social Selling is More Personal
It’s worth noting that social selling is one of the many ways that sales reps have become more agile and adept in B2B. But just as importantly, it makes sales much more personal. On a practical level, staying connected with prospects gives you a direct channel to their posts – liking and commenting on their conversations can help you establish a growing network and make you more memorable when you begin reaching out about your solutions to their pain points.
Here is one EverString example of social selling on LinkedIn that turned into a discovery opportunity:
2. It Helps You Stay Connected to Thought Leaders
While you can definitely reach out to potential prospects through social networks, there are side benefits to following them, and a lot of it has to do with thought leadership. Even if a certain prospect isn’t the right fit at the moment, staying connected with them and continually engaging via social could eventually pay off down the road once the company they work for is ready for a solution like yours, or if they move on to another organization that needs your product or service.
For the most part, people tend to keep their social profiles up-to-date and active, so continual social engagement is the best way to stay on top of these changes and look for potential leads. And, it helps you drop some knowledge along the way too, as our own Jack Veronin explained in a recent Sales Navigator LinkedIn post:
“I want to be professionally connected to you regardless of what happens between us because I think I can learn from you. I want to see what you are sharing. I want to learn from industry leaders like yourself,” Jack said. “So, not only is it going to help you find relevant ways to engage your prospects, but it’s going to expose you to a lot of new things that you haven’t learned just by following people that you look up to.”
In this same vein, social selling also helps you create a professional brand. This is really important no matter your career stage, but especially if you are just getting started in sales. LinkedIn is an excellent resource to measure your outreach efforts with its social selling index – be sure to look to LinkedIn in particular to not only sell your product and company, but also sell your personality. LinkedIn is great, but many salespeople also look to Twitter to reach out to prospects – see below for an example of this in action:
3. Social Selling Allows You to Be More Targeted
Social selling has taken off because it is also an effective tool to target the right audiences. Keep in mind, you should never contact strangers on social networks with unsolicited tweets or private messages. There is a fine line between social selling and being spammy – and it will actually hurt your chances of closing a deal. However, you can narrow down your field to the best-fit contacts and accounts in your market, follow them, continually “listen” on social networks for a potential buy-in, then start a conversation once they are in-market for your product or solution. When you begin reaching out to a prospect on social media armed with sales intelligence and lead scoring capabilities from a platform like EverString, it can also give you a leg up on your competition during your pitch because you will have a more well-rounded view of the prospect and their needs.
Using social media alongside a pipeline-generating platform like EverString can give you a huge boost for prospecting and meeting prep as well, especially with the powerful intent data capabilities that show when an account is actively researching your products or services. Try EverString out for free and see for yourself.