Social selling is vital to any B2B business today but it’s largely misunderstood. We share best practices for taking your sales strategy to the next level with social selling tactics.
No, we aren’t talking about shoppable posts on Instagram – social selling isn’t about driving direct sales on social media. Instead, your sales representatives engage with sales prospects by answering questions, spotting opportunities, and sharing valuable content in order to build trust, capture leads, and ultimately create sales opportunities.
Social selling replaces cold calls and sales emails with natural and low-pressure interactions on social media platforms that gently nurture sales prospects from initial interest towards purchase intention. It’s important for your team to understand how to use social selling to build brand equity, nurture sales prospects, and ultimately close deals.
Why Social Selling is Vital Today
If your sales reps think that cold calling prospects is the only way to create new business opportunities, they’ve got it wrong!
B2B buyers use multiple touchpoints and search for information on social media: 83% of B2B executives involved in the buying process use social media to research and compare solution providers and they expect to find the information they’re looking for instantly. So, if you want to have engaging discussions with them, you may prefer to share informative content such as success stories, blog posts or references with them directly on Facebook or LinkedIn rather than emailing them!
Also, B2B buyers trust recommendations from industry experts and reviews from their peers above ads and they expect a seamless buying experience. Through social media, you can create and maintain personalized interactions with your prospects, learn their preferences and customize the content you share with them accordingly. It gives you the opportunity to position your business as a valuable source of information and build a trusted relationship with them.
So, How Does Social Selling Work?
Social selling has four key stages and sharing informative content with the right sales prospects at the right time is critical to each of these stages:
1. Establishing a visible, consistent brand. Sharing curated, branded content creates a clear brand image in the eyes of your consumers, while also educating them about your offerings.
2. Building authority and trust. By answering queries, offering key insights, making suggestions, and sharing educational materials, you grow your personal brand and strengthen your position as an expert in your industry.
3. Targeting the right leads. Once you have positioned yourself as an industry expert, you can start engaging with your sales prospects and to do so, you’ll need to find the right leads. Social media gives you a great opportunity to find and focus on potential customers who are the most likely to convert. Based on your prospects’ posts and the groups they are the most active in, you can find out the business challenges they are facing and how your solution can help them overcome these challenges.
4. Nurturing leads on social media. Valuable, meaningful, and customized content shared at the right time helps reinforce your bond with your sales prospects. Keep in mind that they are facing information overload every day so don’t spam them! Instead, share with them useful content they can rely on to overcome the challenges they are facing.
Content Is the Key to Engage with Your Sales Prospects
Collect informative and educational content from your marketing team for your sales representatives and make it easy for them to share it with their own networks, for example through the communication channel Smarp. This helps you maintain brand consistency and it's also a great way to provide your sales reps with the materials they need to position themselves as authoritative, knowledgeable and trustworthy voices in your industry.
With the right content, your sales reps can better engage with influencers, industry experts, and ultimately maintain sales prospects’ interest in your solution!
Encourage your sales reps to maximize social media interactions as part of their sales efforts. Guide them to reply to questions, respond to mentions, and engage with sales prospects. Also, encourage them to share actionable tips with their colleagues. They can for example suggest third-party content they found useful to their teammates or create their own posts on Smarp where they share their own best practices and key learnings.
Social selling is a great way to establish your brand identity, identify sales prospects, and have engaging discussions with them. It’s not about selling but connecting with the right sales prospects, understanding the challenges they are facing, sharing key insights and great content with them without spamming them. With the right approach, content, and tools, you can empower your sales reps on social media and help them build their sales pipeline in an effective way!
Are you interested in learning more about social selling? Check out our free eBook “How to Succeed in Social Selling with Employee Advocacy” below!