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Jul 18, 2023 Ryan Humphreys

The Future Of Sales Is Social: Are You Ready?

According to LinkedIn, 76% of buyers are ready to have sales conversations on social media.

Emmanuel Delvaux has worked in a range of roles over the last thirty years including engineering, marketing, sales, and operations. Half of that career he’s spent in sales and marketing.

Ten years ago, he saw the power of social selling compared to traditional sales. Wanting to accelerate SLB’s journey, he reached out to Tribal and became our very first customer!

In a LinkedIn Live, he and Sarah sat down to talk about how to do social selling in the oil and gas sector, and how we can apply these lessons to other industries too.

Read a summary of the conversation in this blog or listen to the podcast below.



How To Modernise Sales

The oil and gas sector is a global industry, but it’s an old-fashioned one. Emmanuel pioneered its modern sales approach.

He explained that in the oil and gas industry, you won’t always have decision-makers located where you are. He therefore wanted to find ways to stay top of mind and in contact with decision-makers.

That’s how he ended up at social selling. It’s a cost-effective way to stay in touch with people.

How To Get Leadership Onboard With Social Selling

There was a lot of red tape to cover before SLB could start social selling. It required getting departments like legal, contract, and leadership involved.

Some of their concerns included:

  • What will employees say?
  • How will others react to them putting employees front and centre?
  • How much time will employees spend social selling? How would this impact their roles?

To get everyone onboard, Emmanuel suggested putting some thought into it first.

You need to understand the different audiences, different countries, and the differences between people and regions to understand how they’d interact with a platform. 

You need to have a social media training plan, so that everyone understands how you’d use a platform like LinkedIn differently to Facebook, for example.

The New Buying Cycle

Harvard Business Review found that 54% of millennials prefer to buy without a sales rep getting involved.

Since Covid, it’s become hard to meet people in person. You can’t just drop by their office anymore. With remote working policies, there’s no guarantee they’ll be there.

Social selling can fill that gap, providing them with value that demonstrates internal knowledge, reassuring decision makers, and helping the business during tough economic times.

Decisions often require six or seven people to approve of a purchase before it happens. Based on Emmanuel’s experience, the sellers only know one or two of those people.

The other decision makes won’t take for granted what buyers tell them. They want to do their own checks. So, the sooner you engage with those people, the better.

How To Convince Employees To Start Social Selling

Emmanuel has found that if you try to convince people, you’ll waste a lot of energy and won’t get very far. 

Instead, you should demonstrate the value a social selling strategy can bring. Then you can start to build something. It becomes something people can run with.

Emmanuel looks at it like a bank: the information you put into it is your money. You want to get money back, with interest.

Interest is the information other people give you, allowing for your project to connect the dots.

Which projects have you won? Who’s been in touch with what? Then you can collect the interest.

Ways To Track The Success Of Your Social Selling Strategy 

To prove the value of social selling, you can share data on things like:

  • What’s been achieved?
  • How many meetings have been conducted?
  • How many contacts have been created?

Activities you do now will impact a conversation in eighteen months’ time. So keeping track of different social media touchpoints is crucial to monitoring success.

Built into their system, SLB has a tick box that a seller checks if someone has engaged with them on social media. That makes it clear that the lead had something to do with what someone did online. It shows the momentum they’re creating.

Emerging Sales Trends

Emmanuel and Sarah discussed using ChatGPT for good and how it’s hard to be genuine long term when using AI to create content.

Emmanuel said that if you use it as your default solution, the content won’t have any emotion. As a result, the post will be transparent.

He’s also seen employee advocacy emerge as a trend in the oil and gas industry. For instance, the Flipping the Barrel podcast is an employee-led female perspective on the industry.

He suggested letting employees have their own voice. Because by them putting themselves out there, it’ll make people want to interact with the brand, having a positive influence on the brand and sales.

Get Your Audience’s Attention

A social selling strategy can help you stay top of mind with your audience, so that when they’re ready to buy, they think of you over your competitors. 

It also complements the new buying cycle, where many customers don’t want to deal with sales reps anymore, while building the business’s brand and filling its pipeline.

If you’d like to find out more about how social selling could benefit your business, find out more about our sales activation program today.

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About Tribal Impact

Tribal Impact is a B2B Social Selling and Employee Branding Agency.

We're a team of social media strategists, trainers, coaches, content creators and data analysts who are passionate about helping our B2B customers develop and scale their social selling and employee advocacy programs.

Learn more about us here.

Published by Ryan Humphreys July 18, 2023
Ryan Humphreys