- 74% of B2B Buyer conduct more than half of their research online (source: Accenture)
- 72% of salespeople using social media outperform their peers (source: Forbes)
- 65% of buyer feel that the vendor’s content had an impact on their final purchase decision (source: Macalister Bali and Co.)
Social Selling is the process of researching, connecting, and interacting with prospects and customers on social media networks to provide value by answering questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.
Social Selling best practices are the methods and techniques that consistently show superior results and are used as a benchmark.
Here are 10 top Social Selling best practices from 10 experts.
- APPROACH AS MICRO-MARKETING: The biggest mistake people make is being afraid to move out of their comfort zone. Just because you’ve been selling moderately well for the late 10 years, doesn’t mean that can change. Trust me, the buyer has changed. For the first time in human history, a buyer can gather information on nearly anything, without human interaction. But they need human assistance to finish the purchase. – Jamie Shanks, CEO at Sales for Life
- MAKE YOUR BRAND EASY TO FIND THROUGH SOCIAL: When prospects start their purchasing cycle, having an established, highly visible social presence ups your chances of being in the right place at the right time—when they’re ready to buy. That accessibility also goes a long way to ensuring you’ll make their short list when decision time arrives. There are myriad ways to strengthen your social visibility. Don’t neglect the obvious ones, like including links to your social accounts in your email signature, updating your social profiles regularly, and staying engaged in the major prospect forums. – Gerry Moran, Global Head of Social Media, Cognizant Technology Solutions
- DO INTELLIGENT RESEARCH TO FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE: Gone are the days when LinkedIn was ‘only’ a recruiting platform. A right search will lead you to the right person, therefore increasing your return on investment (ROI) considerably. The added advantage of knowing the right person in the circle of influence, will influence the decision-making process of the buyer. There are an average of 5.4 buyers in the B2B sales process. And if the influencers are included, there are an estimate of 10 people influencing the decision making. Connecting with the director and key influencing people in the company will provide you leverage among other sellers. – Mike Derezin, VP Sales Solutions, LinkedIn
- START A CONVERSATION BY SHARING VALUABLE EXPERTISE: Don’t only monitor your lists, connections, and groups. Actually share valuable expertise. Top executives know a generic marketing message when they see it, so you need to set yourself apart from the rest. The key to doing this is authenticity. Share your real opinions on specific sales matters. Comment on highly viewed LinkedIn publishing posts. Start a polite conversation with someone on Twitter about their viewpoint. Agree or disagree, but take a stance, and interact with others. – Megan Tonzi, Director of Marketing, AG Saleswork
- DEMONSTRATE VALIDITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS: Social media plays a critical role in gaining credibility; everyone uses it, and if you aren’t using it, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of social data. So stay professional, use tact and remember to let connections happen organically. – Koka Sexton, Head of Social Media, LinkedIn
- GET REALLY GOOD AT CREATING RELEVANT CONTENT: Social selling has a strong streak of education to it. And while us buyers do want to control the sales process now, we love information. It’s just got to be relevant information. Send me irrelevant information, and you fall into the background noise. Send relevant information that’s just what I need to know right now and… well, I might just like you so much I’d get on the phone with you. – Pam Neely, Author at Act-On
- KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL SELLING AND SOCIAL MEDIA: Revenue creation is the only differentiator between social selling and social media marketing. What is your goal? Is your goal to make a sale? Are you trying to generate interest in your product or service that will lead to an offline conversation? If yes, you are engaging in social selling. On the other hand, if your goal is to simply generate vanity metrics—followers, likes, shares, comments, etc.—with no actionable conversion metrics like SQLs created, accounts created, opportunities created, or revenue generating metrics like appointments, sales demos, conversations, closed deals and revenue, then you are engaging in social media marketing. – Lolly Spindler, Content Marketing Manager at xoombi
- MEASURE SOCIAL SELLING PROGRESS FROM LIKES TO LEADS: One of the challenges for social selling is that it does not operate like the traditional sales funnel. Sales leads and nurturing can jump across platforms and networks, and they can increasingly enter the funnel not just at the top, but much further down. Social teams now sit at a crux of sales and marketing that opens a huge and opportunity for them, but also requires those teams to understand the unique metrics and KPIs for sales and marketing, and how they intersect and overlap. – Henry Nofthaft Jr., Founder and CEO, Trapit
- KNOW THE NUMBER OF TOUCH POINTS IT TAKES TO CONVERT: Each company should analyze how many touch points they need to be trusted, to get a lead, to get a demo presentation, and to close a sale. At our company, we’ve discovered it takes 22 touch points to get a demo appointment scheduled (combination of digital and traditional prospecting). Of the 22 touch points, 13-15 are through social media. – Gabe Villamizar, Director of Social Selling, HireVue
- WORK AT IT CONTINUALLY: Social Selling is hard work performed over significant elapsed time. You must build a formidable, digitally based, personal brand that projects your unique promise of value. Then researching and connecting with executives, decision makers and influencers on ‘social’ takes time and skill. Nurturing social relationships with those executives by sharing content that is of relevance and value takes significant work, time and skill. However the rewards can be outstanding. Good social sellers can achieve over 90% success rate when making an approach to set up that first face to face meeting with a connection they have nurtured. I see salespeople achieve it every day. – John Smibert, Manager and Facilitator, Strategic Selling Group
Below is an infographic from Sales for Life that details the state of Social Selling in 2016.
Do these social selling best practices help you see how social selling can work for you? And your company? Are you interesting in having a conversation about it?