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Social media has more to it than just being social. Social Selling – the new must-have for businesses is revolutionalizing the way brands approach prospects and customers make online purchases.  Outbound B2B sales are fast losing relevance as B2B buyers increasingly prefer to do self research, and referrals and peer recommendations influence 84% and 90% of B2B purchases respectively. According to a recent Forrester survey, 1 million B2B sales jobs in the US alone are at stake due to the fast emerging self-service eCommerce by 2020.

If your sales strategy still forces buyers to interact with salespeople during the purchase process, you are doing it all wrong. Social selling is about building relationships, trust, and addressing customers’ pain points – in short, it is nothing about selling actually. The sale is a consequence of it. As per LinkedIn research, 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media as a sales tool. If you are new to the process, here are 5 tips to nail the business of social selling:

#1 Invest in getting to really know your customer: Relationships built on sound understanding last longer and the logic applies to all your business relationships as well – be it with prospective customers, employees, investors, or business partners. Identifying your target is easier today as people are more comfortable sharing information on social media platforms.

#2 Stand tall on the 3 As – be approachable, authentic, and accurate: When you stick to the 3 As, you come across as a thorough professional and engaging with prospects and building meaningful relationships becomes easier. Once the relationship is on, pitching to that person is bound to result in better outcomes.

#3 Lead nurturing is still the most important aspect of sales: Nurturing the relationships you build is even more important than building new relationships. Nurtured leads result in 40% higher conversion as compared to non-nurtured ones.  Start by sharing original, thought leadership content on social media platforms to establish your credibility as a subject matter expert. Actively participating in industry forums and sharing complimentary content from other trusted sources is also a good way to remain tops in your audiences’ mind.

Will Social Selling Make You a Creep? Maybe, if you don’t do it right.

Sure enough, modern buyers hate cold calls and sales-ey emails but what if your thorough research on buyers’ personas, likes, dislikes, etc. is perceived as being too creepy, almost bordering on being a stalker? Remember these 3 thumb rules of social selling without being creepy:

Rule #1 65% buyers don’t find it creepy if they receive messages from salespersons with whom they share common connections.

Rule #2 Generic messages irk consumers. Personalize your messages to stand out from clutter, but don’t overdo it. 55% consumers find it creepy if they receive emails from companies referencing something they recently posted/liked on social media.

Rule #3 Facebook is largely viewed as a personal social network as opposed to Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. A whopping 78% of consumers find it creepy if they receive a Facebook friend request from a salesperson.

While we hope these tips will help you become a socially savvy seller, when in doubt – outsourcing social media management to the experts could be your best bet. Harness their expertise to the best of your business’ advantage.