Social Selling is a way of identifying prospects, nurturing them, and generating pipeline via Social Media. It requires leveraging smart, relevant content to educate and build rapport with prospects.
To do so, it’s important that we first discuss the changing B2B buyer, why social selling addresses this new type of buyer, how social selling can turn sales into a lead generator and the many benefits of implementing a social selling strategy.
Over the past 10 years, we have seen a dramatic transformation in the buyer’s journey, the most dramatic changes occurring recently. Buyers are in control of when and how they access information during the sales process. They are so very well informed that we can now clearly state they suffer from information overload.
Because of the new, well-informed buyer, sales teams face an interesting set of choices. They can stay with the status quo and spend their time, money, and effort on the last 31% of the buyer’s journey.
This is the part of the journey where the educated buyer brings his/her research to the negotiating table. Your potential client knows exactly how much your competitors are charging and as a result, most deals are won or lost based on price – and price alone. Sales teams are not able to get into the deals early enough to influence the customer’s evaluation criteria.
How do we change our sales strategy to target the first 69% of the buyer’s journey? The most efficient way is through social selling. Social selling is a modern sales technique that enables sales teams to identify prospects, nurture them, and generate pipeline via social media.
In the past, a sales team relied heavily on marketing for sufficient leads to make their quotas. With the advent of marketing automation and content marketing, there is optimism that marketing will be able to provide sales teams with more leads. And while these marketing tools and tactics are undoubtedly helpful, the fact remains: today, sales teams need to produce their own leads. CustomerThink has found that a world-class marketing team will produce 30% of a company’s leads – at best. This means that sales teams can expect to produce at least 70% of a company’s leads.
70%. That sounds like a daunting number. But sales teams that embrace social selling can produce 70% of a company’s leads. In fact, social sales teams are successful! Sales Benchmark Index has found that social media is the #1 source of opportunities generated by sales representatives. Furthermore, social selling has the highest lead to close conversion rate of all prospecting methodologies. Social selling sees about a 15% prospecting conversion rate, at least 5 times greater than the 3% prospecting success rate from marketing activities.
The good news is that social selling does not require a sales team to reprogram their brains. It does not require sales representatives to learn a whole new skill set. The basic tenets of prospecting still apply. Sales teams simply adapt them to fit the medium.
Companies that do not embrace social media struggle to make their quotas. In the past, sales teams relied on cold calls in order to reach out to prospects. But today’s buyers rarely answer their desk phones. The cold calling appointment rate is between 1% and 3%. Instead, today’s buyers live with smart phones in their pockets, and those smart phones have Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In other words, buyers are always connected to social networks.
Now that we have an understanding of social selling and its benefits, reflect on where you stand as an organization with regards to social selling and let us know if we can assist you through the transition.