Social Selling is one digital buzzword that seems to be standing the test of time. It’s not at all surprising when you look at how the internet and our culture of social media has changed the way we purchase goods and services making content key to your social selling program’s success.
A report by Social Buying Study states that 75% of B2B buyers use social media to support purchase decisions. Statistics like this cannot be ignored. People now have the power of the internet at their fingertips and, as salespeople, we cannot afford to sit back and hope they decide to choose us.
There are four key outcomes to taking a social selling approach to growing your business:
- Thought leadership and influence
Buyers choose sales reps that add value and insight to the buying process.
- Expert Brand
Build your brand over time so you become a trusted expert and are knowledgeable in certain topics.
- Competitive Differentiation
Insights help differentiate you versus your competitors.
- Relationships, not sales pitches
People don’t trust companies who cold call and are perceived as ‘spammy’.
The benefits that come from using social selling to build not only the profile of your business, but also to establish your sales and marketing teams as experts in their field are massive. According to LinkedIn, 90% of B2B buyers are more likely to engage with sales professionals who are viewed as thought leaders in their industry.
At the time of writing, new data protection legislation in the form of GDPR will be implemented imminently.
The tighter restrictions on speculative emailing, and rules governing how we store and use personal information, will make traditional outbound marketing techniques even harder to deploy.
Cue social selling: by ensuring your feeds are a rich tapestry of informative content which advises and nurtures your network, you are engaging in a much more natural and positive way than by simply sending emails out into the ether and hoping you generate some interest.
Create A Fan Base…Not A Database
Instead of worrying about getting consent to continue communicating with their database, UK business should be spending time and effort planning and generating attention-grabbing, value-adding content to please their fan-base.
Social selling done properly is a holistic process. The results from your social selling program are holistic too. We are already working with businesses who are experiencing increased lead conversion, shorter sales cycles, increased deal sizes…and more.
The Content Connection
Effective social selling is also important for the inevitable evolution of content marketing. The explosion of opinion pieces, lists, top tips, articles and click-bait titles means that a brand which researches content and takes a highly personalised approach to communicating with its network can rise above the cacophony with truly authentic content.
There’s no doubt social selling is on the increase. The real question is, how quickly will it become essential in this fast-moving, highly agile, digital age?
In truth, it's already a must-do for brands who want their content to differentiate them. So, how does a brand ensure authenticity and drive the results they want from their content?
Firstly, social selling is all about added value.
Brands need to create a rich and relevant feed that sets them up as thought leaders, offering a range of themes and styles to showcase their industry expertise. With the majority of the buyer journey now taking place before a salesperson is even engaged, brands need to target prospects in a different way. If they are offering a good content mix, they are more likely to continue to influence the buyer journey.
Secondly, content needs to stay fresh and be able to interrupt the reader mid-scroll. To be attention grabbing, social selling content should do 4 things:
- Create the desire –by giving readers examples of the pain points that a product or service can resolve;
- Include some personality –people buy people, so a bit of background will create a richer picture;
- Embrace variety – keep the audience interested by using different media;
- Be sociable, not salesy - it's about building relationships, not selling, so make sure content reflects that approach