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Social Selling: It’s More than Just Marketing

May 4, 2023

By Dale Keipert, originally published in SBAM’s Focus Magazine

I recently ran across a white paper that took a little different twist on how B2B companies and salespeople can use social media to generate more sales leads. I thought it was pretty interesting. The strategy is called social selling. No, this isn’t social media marketing. Social selling is using both marketing and sales strategies to help companies generate more quality sales leads.

Social selling is all about using the right social media platforms (social platforms that your audience frequents) to find prospective customers that fit your ideal client profile (ICP), and begin to engage in conversations that provide them with the correct information at the right time.

Social selling is unique from social media marketing in that social marketing attempts to engage many people aiming, in most cases, to increase the visibility of their brand or to promote a product or service.

Social selling, on the other hand, attempts to engage in one-to-one, focused “conversations” with the appropriate people within an account by using highly relevant content.

Social selling is important because…

B2C companies have been using social media platforms to sell for a couple years, and contrary to many opinions, B2C companies do not use social channels to push a quick sale. B2C companies are using a social selling strategy to build relation- ships, build brand visibility and have conversations with their customers.

B2B companies have the exact same goals. However, B2B companies have been reluctant to use social media platforms for selling. But they, too, can use this strategy to increase brand visibility and lead generation.

The Stats

Reports show that 75 percent of B2B buyers and 84 percent of C-Level/VP executives use social media to make purchase decisions.

LinkedIn discovered that 45 percent more opportunities are uncovered by using social selling, and social selling leaders are 51 percent more likely to reach their quota. On top of that, 78 percent of social sellers outsell their peers.

All of these stats are excellent information, but the most important reason you should consider social selling as a strategy is that it’s one of the best methods in today’s B2B selling environment to engage prospects for the long term.

You don’t have to look far to find an article about how the B2B sell cycle is getting longer. More people are involved in the buying process than ever before. And because of these buyers’ process changes, social selling is the perfect strategy for connecting with multiple buyers from a company that could be involved in the buying decision. With this strategy, you can engage with them on a long-term basis, so that you’re able to provide consistent information as they move through the buying process.

Social selling gives you another advantage—to build trust among your prospects. Trust is an increasingly critical component of the relationship with buyers, so social selling truly gives you an opportunity. A Salesforce survey among 8,000 buyers found:

  • Eighty-four percent of customers say the buying experience is worth more to them than the service or product purchased.
  • Sixty-five percent of customers stop working with brands because of a loss of trust.
  • Seventy-three percent of customers say a company’s trustworthiness matters more than it did a year ago.

The role of salespeople is continually evolving as more business buyers complete more of their buying processes online. It really wasn’t that long ago that salespeople could build relationships and trust with clients and prospects via in-person sales calls. As the buyer’s preferences shifted, in large part due to the pandemic, the salesperson’s ability to get in front of buyers has drastically changed. They’re now faced with trying to build that trust online.

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