By now entrepreneurs and marketers should have heard of the term social selling. If you haven’t, by definition, it is the process of finding, engaging and eventually selling to prospects using social media.
Now that we’re on the same page with regards to what social selling is, you’re probably already doing it.
Most B2B sales teams, for instance, already use LinkedIn to research leads — 96 percent according to research. This is just one step in a much bigger strategy.
“Instead of a hard closing tactic,” HubSpot suggests, “social selling more closely resembles lead nurturing. Therefore, social selling isn’t for […] quick wins or a silver bullet.”
When you understand how social selling works, how to craft a strategy to approach it, your effectiveness will improve drastically.
Why social selling flat out works
Here’s a look at why social selling works.
Embrace employee advocacy
Employee advocacy is one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tools a company has at its disposal. By tapping into this resource, you can increase the exposure of your brand while improving your sales team’s effectiveness. Just think about having all of your sales team collectively marketing your company to a relevant audience.
Find new opportunities
Even with a fantastic inbound marketing strategy there is still going to be a lot of opportunities out there you will miss. Social selling provides your sales team with the tools to help them find overlooked opportunities and turn them into customers. Social selling leaders have 45 percent more opportunities per quarter than their counterparts.
Speed up sales
Social selling is not just about finding relevant leads. It’s important to understand the structure of an organization to find the best leads. Instead of calling up every lead who comes into your sales funnel, you can focus on the decision makers and get in front of them faster. For instance, TimeTrade has found that social selling techniques speed up sales cycles by 40 percent.
Align sales and marketing
A social selling strategy will help align your marketing and sales. A good strategy encourages collaboration between the two teams. Marketing will provide sales with useful content to help engage their leads, and sales helps marketing increase the company’s exposure.
Improve your bottom line
It is no secret that sales reps who take a social approach to selling are outperforming their counter parts. IBM’s social selling initiative boosted sales by over 400 percent. This type of growth cannot be ignored.
Become a social selling pro
Now that you know the benefits of social selling, follow theses tips to improve your strategy.
Get LinkedIn sales navigator
Empower your business with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Start with their free trial. The Team Edition requires a commitment to multiple licences but encourages greater collaboration between your employees using the licence. I am in no way affiliated to LinkedIn, just someone who has experienced the power of this platform. To understand more about how to use this solution read this blog post that outlines a simple approach to social selling.
Put marketing in the driver’s seat
Social selling should be a marketing driven project, but you will need buy in from key members of the sales team. These will be the people that will help drive internal adoption. Unfortunately, when it comes to change, it is not that simple to just tell people to do something. They need to be shown how it will benefit them.
Target content by territory
Create a strategy to target customers relevant to individual sales member’s territories. If your sales team is split by geographical territories, then make sure they send out events you are hosting in the area. If you split territories by industry then ensure they have content available to them that is relevant to their industry.
Hold monthly team meetings
Hold monthly meetings to discuss how the team is doing. Get team members to discuss specific case studies that everyone can learn from. You can even drive adoption through gamifying the process as LinkedIn provides stats measuring team member’s performance against its social selling index.
Hold one-on-one meetings
Be sure to hold meetings with individuals to discuss how they are doing with social selling. Provide tailored feedback on how they can improve performance. This is also a good way to encourage those late adopters to follow the strategy closer. There will always be some resilience to change and one-on-one is the perfect platform to work this out.
Early adopters have benefited from social selling for years now. Don’t let them get too far ahead of you.
This article has been edited.
After studying entrepreneurship at university, Kyle Mucha went on to work in the marketing field for several years. He co-founded marketpreneurs in 2016 with the aim of enabling everyone with the necessary expertise to start and run a business. Along the way, he hopes to make the business world a simpler place. Connect with @mp_bsr on Twitter.