In this interview, Jordi Gili, Founder of Execus - Connect to Social Selling, shares his best practices for connecting with and engaging potential buyers on social media.
B2B sales professionals need to get started with social selling: nearly 82% of decision-makers view five or more pieces of content before they choose a solution provider.
But how to do it right? How to actually engage potential buyers in discussions on social media? Social selling doesn’t mean sharing any brand-related content without any context.
To engage their prospects, salespeople need to have a clear understanding of their needs so they can share informative content with them. We had a chat on that topic with Jordi Gili, social selling expert and founder of Execus - Connect to Social Selling:
Hi Jordi, can you tell us why social selling is no longer optional when it comes to business development in the B2B world?
Most of business decision-makers grew up in the digital age and they instinctively have integrated social media into their buying journey. As a consequence, salespeople need to engage potential clients or partners in discussions on social media platforms.
Those who still think that buying a database with decision-makers’ contact details and cold calling them will help them hit their sales targets need to seriously reconsider their view of today's world!
Social selling doesn't mean sharing any industry or company-related content with prospects but instead, selecting and sharing content that is relevant to them. Can you tell us a bit more about this approach?
Absolutely correct! We are overwhelmed by the volume of content available online. An immense majority of this content is not really relevant to us and it’s often frustrating.
The best practice to engage with sales prospects is to truly respect their buying journey and offer them accurate content that will help them along every step of their decision-making process.
According to you, why should sales professionals personalise their posts rather than just pushing out content created by the marketing team on social media?
People, including our potential clients, are tired of pre-manufactured corporate messages. Even us, when we hear sentences such as "we are the leading ...", we just want to turn down the offer.
We want to have real conversations with “real people” who understand us. We want to trust the expert we are having a discussion with, especially in the digital world where we don’t always get the chance to meet in person the sales professionals we are having discussions with.
Our prospects want to be treated as unique individuals and that’s the reason why salespeople need to personalise their messages and content they share online. They need to understand their prospects’ backgrounds and current needs so they can suggest relevant and helpful content.
Related: Tim Hughes on Social Selling Best Practices to Grow a Business
To build trust with their prospects, sales professionals need to demonstrate their expertise. Do you think that sharing with them content that they or their colleagues have created is an effective way to stand out from the crowd?
To build trust with their prospects, sales professionals need to position themselves as the go-to experts in their industry. They do that by sharing value-added content that will help potential clients in their buying journey. It is something that only salespeople can do.
Salespeople need to figure out what their prospects’ needs are so they can share with them the right content and send them a personalised message. In that way, potential clients will be willing to have engaging conversations with them and move to the next phase in the buying process.
Do you think that the company can support sales teams in their social selling efforts by implementing an internal content hub where they can browse, create, and share content related to their expertise?
Sales professionals have learnt in the past few years that using relevant content is crucial in gaining visibility, credibility and building trust with prospects. By implementing several sales strategies, comparing the results and learning from our mistakes, some have done extremely well and some have learnt hard but invaluable lessons!
Things are different now - the B2B buying process has become more complex and sales teams need to have a structured approach to easily find, review, and share informative content.
They also need a clear process to measure their results. Communicating some of the KPIs throughout the organization all the way up to the C-suite is also a must-have for every organization.
Related: How to Make Social Selling a Company-Wide Effort
Execus - Connect to Social Selling and Smarp started a partnership earlier this year, how did you decide to work with Smarp?
We are very excited about this partnership. We have been looking for a platform that would structure and sustain the inbound pillar of a social selling strategy for a long time now. When we discovered the features available on Smarp, how intuitive the platform is, the analytics side and the competitive pricing offered by Smarp, we definitely thought that our clients would have a great return on investment. It was difficult to create a compelling business case that would include ROI-related information for our clients before we started working with Smarp. We now have a winning proposition!
About Jordi: Jordi Gili is a social selling expert, author, keynote speaker and trainer. He is considered one of the 10 most influential social selling and digital sales transformation experts outside the USA. He is regularly invited to speak at events such as the World Sales Forum, BDigital Global Congress and DES - Digital Business World Congress. In 2010, he founded Execus - Connect to Social Selling, a consulting and training company where he advises B2B sales teams on the use of professional social networks for business development.
To get more social selling tips and best practices, download the eBook below!