Social Selling: How to use social media to increase B2B pipeline and revenue
More than 30% of B2B sales professionals believe platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have helped them develop strong relationships and connections with existing as well as potential customers.
Social media is changing not only the way we communicate but also the way we conduct business.
While some may argue that social selling is more on par with customer nurturing than a bonafide sales metric, there is no denying that connecting to customers via social media is a powerful technique, especially as an increasing number of those in the global business community are joining social networking platforms — LinkedIn alone currently has over 750 million registered users. Social selling not only builds rapport but can also be directly linked to pipeline and revenue growth.
It is becoming evident that having a stellar digital reputation is vital if you want to stand out in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of social selling and how to optimize your online presence to the max. By jumping on this bandwagon, you’ll expand your market reach and ultimately close more B2B deals.
Backbones of social selling
Top-performing sales reps report that social selling is a key part of their success. Social networking platforms are certainly making it easier than ever to engage prospects in meaningful interactions. What’s more, they seem like they have the potential of replacing those dreaded B2B cold calls, allowing reps to approach potential customers in a more casual, non-invasive manner.
The primary things to consider as you work to boost your B2B social selling reach and online reputation:
Create a professional brand
Think of your social media profile as a way to develop your reputation. Just don’t list your work history. Instead, let potential customers know how you can help them.
Focus on the right prospects
Don't underestimate your ideal customer profile research. Tailor your profile with these people in mind. Show them you are an expert who can solve their business challenges.
Engage with insights & data
Use every opportunity to convince prospects you are worth engaging with. Approach your targets with carefully cultivated insights and data that highlight how you can add value to their business.
Build trusted relationships
This is a long-haul process. Building trust takes time and perseverance. If you are looking for quick sales, social selling might not be your best bet right now.
Social selling tips that close deals
Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get you started on your social selling journey.
Consistently provide value
Sharing stats, helpful solutions or tactics will help build credibility and trust. If you have time, you can create your own content. If that sounds overwhelming, then simply share engaging articles or studies or blog posts that are relevant to your prospect’s industry. The goal is to get a conversation going.
Earn trust by sharing customer success stories
This is another great way to build credibility. Testimonials will help foster trust with potential customers, who are more inclined to buy if they read a glowing recommendation from an industry peer.
Never stop listening
Don’t miss an opportunity to engage with your prospects about a trigger event they’ve experienced or a problem they mentioned having. You can easily set up a social listening tool or a Google alert that will immediately notify you of any discussion or event you can use as a conversation starter.
Participate in relevant LinkedIn groups
What groups or forums are your customers or prospects active in? Check their profiles and join the same circles. From this perch, you can jump into discussions if you have something insightful to contribute. But don’t overdo it. You don’t want to look like your spamming people.
Find a way to convert your virtual relationships into real-life connections. After developing a relationship online, suggest jumping on a call to learn more about your prospect’s current challenges in order to close the deal.
Optimizing social profiles
Make sure all your social media profiles are up to date. Remember, your goal is to build trust and credibility. You aren’t going to do that with outdated information or a lackluster summary introduction. Keep your intended prospect in mind when sitting down to craft (or update) your profiles. You probably already know to include a hi-res picture and an engaging bio, but what else will get your foot in the door?
A few pointers for your LinkedIn account:
- Punchy headline: Tell your prospects how you will help them.
- Keep summary short & on point: Reiterate how you can add value, offer social proof and a clear CTA.
- Tailored experience section: Explain how you helped customers achieve goals and overcome challenges.
- Add testimonials: The more, the better.
Measuring your social selling success rate
There is, unfortunately, no clear-cut formula that you can plug in to measure your social selling success rate. But there are ways you can monitor how well your message and brand recognition are resonating with people online.
Keep an eye on:
- Social network growth
- “Social” activity reported by CRM software
- LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI)
- Content engagement rate
- Inbound connections / warm conversations (Leads) generated
Now you're ready to up the stakes on your social selling game plan. Good luck!