Social Selling and Growth Of Your Business: 8 Best Tips That Can Help You to Get Started With Social Selling
Keeping up with new sales strategies is challenging-especially today. Yet, the latest strategy- social selling- is more than a buzzword and has been proven to increase company revenue by 16% according to the Digitalmarketing.ae
Sales reps that use social selling sell more and reach the targets faster. Yet, 75% of sales reps do not use it as part of their overall sales strategy. Why is it that only a few sales reps are using social selling?
The reason is that they don’t know how to get started. You see, social selling is more than just sharing content on LinkedIn and hoping for the leads to pour in. Here, we share 8 social selling tips that you can use today. It’s not a secret now! You can follow up such instructions on SEOdebate as well.
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Long gone are the days when you could pick up the phone, make a few cold calls to reach a new prospect and land a meeting or demo.
If you try cold calling today, it takes, on average, at least 8 phone calls.
And when you reach them, do you know what happens?
They don’t want to talk to you!
In fact, more than 90% of executives never respond to or buy from cold calls.
It’s safe to say that as sales people, we have our work cut out.
Given these challenges, how can we stand out? How can we generate more leads?
We do this through social selling.
What is Social Selling?
Social Selling 2.0
While the old sales model used for cold calling, sales demos and qualifying leads, the new way of B2B sales means using social media networks to reach new employee monitoring software .
The growth of social media usage has been a huge factor in why social selling has been adopted and several studies point toward the B2B buyer using social media as an important part of their research process.
Accenture’s State of B2B Procurement Study finds that 94% of B2B buyers conduct some degree of research online before making a business purchase, with 55% conducting online research for at least half of their purchases.
And what channels do B2B buyers use for research?
Yes, you guessed it. It’s social media.
Research by IDC has found that;
- It’s not just a shift in the B2B buying process that has changed.
The age B2B buyers, and more importantly decision makers, has changed too.
A study by Google and Millward Brown Digital found that 46% of decision makers are now aged between 18 and 34 years old (up from 27% in 2012), which coincidentally, is the largest social media user demographic.
B2B decision makers by age
We can expect this pace to continue and that decision-making millennials (buyers aged between 18 and 34) will count for the majority share in the near future.
So what are the benefits of social selling?
How Social Selling can Grow your Business?
Jamie Shanks from Sales for Life shared his key findings in a social selling study of more than 45,000 sales reps and 200 companies. What he found was this:
Every dollar invested in social selling resulted in a five dollar return.
Furthermore, Aberdeen Group released a study on the impact of social selling.
The study found that when you look at all sales KPIs (key performance indicators)– quota attainment, renewal rate and forecast accuracy- all these metrics are better when sales reps use social media (as shown below).
Sales reps that use social selling sell more
The research also found that sales reps who use social selling find on average 45% more opportunities. In addition, social selling helps best-in-class companies achieve a 16% gain in year-over-year revenue.
That’s four times better than companies that don’t use social selling!
And this is why social selling is the third most important priority for sales teams this year.
Further benefits of social selling include an increased number of leads, improved conversion rate and shorter sales cycles.
Primary benefits of social selling
But, here’s the thing:
We’ve got you covered with 8 actionable social selling tips!
Best of all, these 8 tips are all in line with GDPR.
8 Ways to Get Started with Social Selling
Social selling is ultimately about building relationships. But, before you build them, you need to make sure you choose the right network. Then, you can build new relationships, provide value to prospects and nurture leads.
So, let’s get started!
- Choose the Most Relevant Social Network
It’s easy to get caught up in the next big social network, but the true winners of social selling are sales people that are active on the same platform as their potential customers. This is the foundation to social selling success.
It’s why sales people in fashion excel on Pinterest and why B2B sales reps generate leads from LinkedIn.
So where do you start?
You start by identifying the social networks that match your potential customer:
Social media usage, by demographic groupWhile YouTube and Facebook have the lion share of all age groups, Forrester Research has found that decision makers primarily use Twitter and LinkedIn.
And if you sell products or services aimed towards businesses and decision makers, then use LinkedIn or Twitter.
- Follow the Right Twitter Users
To build your network, use a tool like Followerwonk.
Followerwonk allows you to search Twitter profiles by topic or keyword and that provides you with a list in order of top rated Twitter users. For example, you can begin your search with “CRM”, “Sales” and “Marketing”.
Find prospects on Twitter
By using Followerwonk, you can follow multiple Twitter users quickly rather than visiting and requesting to follow on each individual profile, which can be time consuming. Or, you can export the list of users and then filter through to the more relevant profiles.
- Create a Wish List of Companies and Follow Them
Do you ever dream about signing a mega-brand as a new client?
I know I do.
Well, it doesn’t have to be just a dream.
Small businesses to large corporations can be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn through company profiles or accounts.
By following these companies, you can keep up to date on company news, such as when they win an award (you can send them a “Congrats!” message) or when they ask for product recommendations (you can send them an invite to a demo).
If you’re a marketer, this is pretty much the same approach you would take with your account-based marketing strategy.
Here’s what you can do:
Like, retweet and engage with their status updates whenever possible. It might not be a dream for much longer!
- Get Instant Notifications when Prospects Join LinkedIn
By using LinkedIn’s Saved Search feature, you can create a search based on your ideal customer profile, and then LinkedIn will notify you each time a new sign up matches that profile.
To do this, perform a search using the LinkedIn search field found at the top of LinkedIn when you login, enter the criteria that matches your ideal customer profile, such as job title, or industry and then click the search button.
LinkedIn search function
At this point, you will find that the results will return people who you are already connected to. To remove your first level connections, click the “Connections” tab underneath the search function, check the box, “2nd” and click “Apply”.
Finding second degree connections
Second level connections mean that you know someone in common, which makes it much easier to get introduced to a prospect.
Next, move the cursor to the right hand side of the page and click “Create a Search Alert”.
Saved Search Alert
LinkedIn will then ask you to select how often you wish to receive notifications (weekly) and in what format (email).
Inviting second degree connections is something I’ve been doing more of lately and it’s a really great way to grow my network, fast.
But, rather than send the typical “Can you please refer me to this person” email, I send the template below.
And it works every single time.
Referral template for LinkedIn
- Join and Participate in LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn has more than 650 million users.
As a platform, LinkedIn provides you with advantages to network, ask for referrals and tons more opportunities!
One of the biggest advantages on LinkedIn lies within groups.
There’s a lot of groups on LinkedIn and currently, there’s more than 1.8 million groups. If you are unaware of the facts about how to start with this then you can consult the best SEO Consultant in your area.
To find a group, search for a topic of your expertise. Remember, you’re not looking to mingle with sales people here, as their job is to sell their product. What you want to do is share knowledge and expertise with potential customers.
If you sell customer service software, search and join groups that are dedicated to customer service managers.
Searching for groups on LinkedIn
- Connect with Potential Customers on LinkedIn
When you begin to contribute to groups, you will find that more people will view your profile.
When someone views your profile, send them an invitation to connect.
But, whatever you do, don’t send them one of these- the default, and impersonal, standard invitation:
Default LinkedIn invite
This is a great way to start a conversation with a potential customer that has shown an interest in what you do.
Another way to connect with potential customers is to reach out to people in the same group. Here’s a template I use for connection requests.
Personalized LinkedIn invite
- Contribute to Existing Conversations About your Brand
This is where you come in- adding value.
To add value, implement a social listening strategy and start responding to what people are saying about your brand.
You can do this using searching Twitter to find conversations and to see who is talking about you.
Search for a keyword and then scroll through the feed and start engaging with users simply by retweeting or “liking” their posts, or by responding to suggestions and questions they ask.
In the example below, I searched for “CRM software suggestions” and found hundreds of Tweets!
What is a good CRM software we can look at for small businesses?
What have you used that worked well? Any suggestions?
By contributing to these conversations, you add value to a prospects network and get your name on their radar.
- Provide Value by Sharing Relevant Content
More than 50% of B2B buyers seek out information on products and services on social media.
Therefore, you have a great opportunity to create new content based on what people are already searching for.
What’s the most popular type of content they seek out?
The answer is white papers- as 49% of B2B buyers consume white papers when evaluating a technology purchase.
Content consumed by B2B tech buyers
However, this doesn’t mean you cannot share any other type of content if you have yet to create a white paper.
Today, 60-70% of content in B2B organizations is not being used. If the conversations you engage in ask for information on best practices, share a blog post from your company blog.
If a LinkedIn group is discussing product recommendations, you can share a webcast or product demo video.
This a great opportunity to finally get sales and marketing teams aligned. Together, you can create and share content based on questions, comments and topics that are being posted within your own social network.
Now, there’s no limit on what you can share providing the content adds value to the conversation.
But, there’s no faster way to lose interest from a prospect than sharing irrelevant and self-promotional content.
Social Selling Case Study
Prior to the training, social media was used to share marketing content from branded profiles. But, they knew that if used correctly, social could be a powerful lead generation tool.
During the training, Jan Willem shared strategies on what type of content to post online, how often and how to use social media to target prospects and turn connections into leads.
Of course, social selling is a long term sales strategy, but during the last several months, we’re starting to see some fantastic results, including:
Stronger alignment between sales and marketing
- A 61% increase in visits from social media channels to our websites
- An increase from 1,000 impressions to 50,000 impressions to our branded profiles
- A 168% increase in business leads from social media channels
- More importantly, we’ve seen a 24% increase in new business revenue.
- Sales performance from alignment with marketing
There’s no doubt; social selling will help you sell more.
These 8 social selling tips will help you find and connect with prospects on LinkedIn and Twitter, the platforms where decision makers can be found, but the best results from social selling come when you make it your primary goal to provide value to prospects and build relationships.
While it might be difficult to get started, especially if you’re new to social media, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
One thing is clear: Prospects, customers and competitors all use social media for business.