B2B businesses: accelerate your sales cycle with social selling
If you’re trying to keep sales numbers up for your B2B business: listen up. With face-to-face networking opportunities declining, we need to sit down and rethink our sales strategies to answer that all-important question: What is the best way of securing quality leads online to rival pre-lockdown numbers?
We’ve all heard of social selling but until now, it’s always depended on who you know and how likely they are to work with you; in the ‘new normal’, that no longer works.
And don’t get us started on about cold calling! Sorry to disappoint, but with only 27% of salespeople saying that a B2B call is still an effective first step in a prospecting strategy, and 58% of prospects finding them useless; it’s time to get serious about factoring social selling into your marketing strategy.
The social selling of today is about using relationships as part of the sales process. How? By leveraging social media to listen to relevant conversations in the industry. Find opportunities to engage with potential clients by presenting helpful information at just the right time, giving you the chance to present yourself as the solution they’re looking for.
Think about a face-to-face conversation with someone interested in your business: instead of pouncing on the lead with what you want to do for them—by presenting your services and bigging up your brand—you’ll have more success by just chatting and actively listening to discover what their business really needs.
What to consider on your journey to becoming a social selling superstar
Social listening is another crucial yet often-overlooked tool in your sales strategy. More than three-quarters of buyers are prepared to have a social media conversation with brands, so use this as a chance to understand what your prospects are interested in.
Next, you need to position yourself as a thought leader by sharing relevant content that provides real educational value—over 62% of B2B buyers respond to salespeople that connect with relevant opportunities—before going in for the sale.
This way, you hook top-of-the-funnel interest-driven leads that are just starting to gather information to help improve their business as well as more middle-of-the-funnel problem-aware customers that are looking for a trustworthy partner who’ll deliver.
If you’re ready to take the first step to becoming a great social seller, it’s important to understand buyer motivation by exploring social buying. Just as sales reps socially listen to their potential clients, those potential clients are also using social listening strategies to find, research, and form an opinion of which business is the best fit for their company’s needs right now, all before speaking to anyone.
In fact, Gartner research shows that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase, they spend less than a fifth of that time meeting with potential suppliers.
On top of that, people have to be 100% sure that you’re going to deliver because, unlike in the B2C space where customers usually go down the funnel alone, the median B2B buying group involves six to ten decision makers‚ according to Garner’s report.
So when prospects scope out your industry they’re not only unlikely to chat with you but, once interested enough in your offer to act, you’ve got another six to ten people’s worth of ideas and competitors to beat. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?
You have to do everything in your power to understand your prospects’ thinking to anticipate what they’re looking for and how they’re looking for it as well as ensuring that your online presence conveys exactly what you want it to.
And if this requires a strategy overhaul—so be it—because your social presence and activity allows prospects to form an opinion of you in seconds, and first impressions never lie, do they?
So, what can you do to start social selling better right now?
1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
We think that LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an essential B2B social selling platform because it allows you to harness LinkedIn’s comprehensive database of customer info to discover, save and segment quality LinkedIn leads. It allows you to search for your ideal buyer using advanced search features such as their job title, company size, specific industry and more. Sales Navigator offers real-time updates on prospects and allows you to easily send out messages to nurture leads down the sales funnel, improving communication.
2) LinkedIn Social Selling Index
The LinkedIn Social Selling Index works hand in hand with Sales Navigator to strengthen your social selling strategy based on the ‘four pillars of social selling:’
- Creating a professional brand
- Focusing on the right prospects
- Engaging with insights
- Building trusted relationships
You can use the Social Selling Index to measure how effective your strategy is in these key areas, giving you a score for each of the pillars, which adds up to a final ‘SSI score’. This is where the magic happens because using Sales Navigator can boost your SSI score by 20% in six months!
SSI is a powerful selling tool to help you understand how effective your social selling strategy is and to identify areas where you need to make improvements.
Here’s a look at our SSI:
As you can see, we’ve got relationship-building down to a T, and we’re good at finding the right people. What we do need to work on though is sharing relevant industry content to interested people—like you—to help build our brand.
3) Ramp up your social selling marketing activities to succeed in the ‘new normal’
At NowComms, we offer a wide range of marketing solutions, created with achievable goals in mind, ready to meet your needs.
Our social marketing starter pack allows business decision-makers to have their say: you can work with us to co-design social marketing campaigns that prioritise your business objectives, supplemented by measurable calls to action, targeted audiences, and rigorous AB testing to keep improving campaign performance.
The social selling accelerator helps turn salespeople into great social sellers by equipping them with key social selling skills and by growing their networks in days or weeks, instead of months.
The marketing automation set-up package helps salespeople nurture leads down the funnel by building effective buyer journeys, creating a useful lead scoring system, and even alerting your sales team when a prospect is exploring priority pages on your website.
These are the social tools social sellers need right now to become social superstars; learn more here.
Hootsuite is more than just a social content scheduling tool; it’s actually an effective social listening tool to help keep track of your prospects’ online activity. You can use the platform to track industry hashtags, locate important influencers and prospects, and to engage with them on social media channels relevant to your business.
And there you have it: our take on why social selling should be every B2B marketer’s top priority right now and the social selling tools you should be using. To learn how NowComms can help your sales team realise their full social selling potential, get in touch today.