This was originally published on Business2Community.com on April 25, 2017
How to Harness the Power of Social Selling
There has been a major shift in the B2B buying process. Social media has become a key component of buyer decision making. A 2017 Fjord Trends report shows 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research before making a business purchase and social media is the biggest research channel with 75% saying social media significantly influences their purchase decisions.
This makes social media a powerful tool for your sales team. Learning how to use it effectively can help you better engage with potential clients and help you nurture them through to a contract relationship.
Don’t sell — connect
Potential buyers are interested in sincere and authentic interactions. They are put off by upfront sales pitches. In much the same way a salesperson might work a conference floor, they can build relationships on social media through sharing content and answering questions for potential clients.
Join and participate in industry groups
Buyers say much of the information they rely on to make decisions comes from social media discussions. Using sites like LinkedIn and Quora, they look to peers and industry leaders for guidance on solving complex challenges. Sharing valuable content in these groups will help boost your reputation and influence.
Contribute to existing conversations about your brand
People are already talking about your company. Join the conversation by honestly answering questions and providing assistance to current and potential clients. Studies show B2B buyers are five times more likely to engage with a sales rep who provides new insights about their business or industry.
Utilize social media filters
Tracking relevant keywords and phrases can help you identify who is talking about the products or services you sell. Identify which social media sites your prospects are using and don’t waste time on those they’re not.
When creating a filter, cast a wide net knowing you will further evaluate any leads you get. Many sites allow you to set up alerts when someone fitting the profile you’ve established joins the conversation.
Create a personalized relationship
Once you’ve identified a prospect, learn as much as you can about them through their social media profiles, posts and interests. You can then score them on demographic and behavioral attributes.
The focus of social selling is producing relevant content and providing one-on-one communication between the salesperson and the buyer. The goal is for the salesperson to form a relationship with each prospect.
Today’s decision makers are turned off by traditional sales pitches. Instead, nurture your prospects by answering questions, responding to comments and sharing content on social media throughout the buying process.