Today, I want to talk to you about Social Selling. Social selling is a term that has gained momentum in the past few years to describe the process of helping potential customers become actual ones through social channels. To be clear, I am not talking about Social Media Marketing – that in and of itself is its own powerful beast that deserves its own blog (or several hundred as any Google search will show).
Yes, sales have always been social. I hear you.
And yet, access to information, online content and social sites has changed the way that buyers engage with brands and purchase services. The customer has the means and the networks necessary to get what they want and formulate their opinions – without the company or the sales person. Social selling is based on this new reality.
Does social sales work?
Yes, there is very tangible data about the impact of social selling. According to the Aberdeen group, social sellers are 51% more likely to reach their quota than non-social sellers and companies that encourage and build a discipline around social selling see a 16.3% year over year increase in company revenue versus a 4.1% average.
Some enlightening statistics:
- 97% of cold calls are ineffective (IBM)
- 1-3% of cold calls result in an appointment (American Association for Inside Sales Professionals).
- 66% of 2nd degree LinkedIn referrals result in a meeting (Neural Selling)
- 84% of B2B decision makers begin their buying process with a referral (source: Edelman Trust Barometer).
- 71% of purchasers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals (Hubspot)
- 50% of all IT decision makers are influenced by LinkedIn (LinkedIn)
Does social selling replace cold calling and other traditional offline methods?
No, social selling amplifies your offline opportunities. Time on traditional channels (phone, email and face-to-face) can be far more productive when supported by deliberate use of social media.
How can I improve my social selling results?
Here are some steps to help:
- You need to establish your brand. Your profile shouldn’t be a resume (most are). Your profile should establish what it is you do for people and businesses. See my profile as an example (www.linkedin.com/in/salesenabled).
- Connect with customers and prospects. Ask your customers for referrals. Ask them to share their success stories and how you contributed to that success. Just like businesses establish credibility through their websites and testimonials, LinkedIn is your website and testimonial.
- When you have a prospect in mind, use your network to make a connection. Strategize with your connections about connecting to your prospects and ask for introductions.
- Use your introductions wisely. Don’t just connect. Let your connection know why you want to connect. What can you do for them? What have you done for other companies?
- Research your prospects before meeting on the phone or face-to-face. What are they interested in? What groups do they belong to? What conversations are they engaging in?
- Help your connections. Refer your connections to other connections. Take your networking online and begin to refer leads to your connections. By doing so, they will start to do the same for you.
- Post interesting articles and information that will help your customers. If your customers are in a specific vertical or job function, post articles and insights that are relevant to them. It’s okay to curate other people’s content. Google alerts and industry-oriented newsletters are a great way of getting access to great content in your inbox.
- Become addicted to likes and comments. Pay attention to the type of content and the time of day that reaps the greatest results and capitalize on that for future posts.
- Stay on top of mind. Find reasons to include your connections in your updates. Publically thank the connections that have played an important role in your success. Mention their name in the posts that you want them to read.
- Use the search tools to find prospects and save your searches. Be notified when new entrants enter the market.
Through her consultancy, Sales Enabled, Rebecca Rosen helps technology companies improve sales channel performance. Her expertise lies in social selling, sales messaging and onboarding programs. Previously Rebecca oversaw marketing communications and sales training for TelePacific where she was part of the leadership team that drove the Company’s growth from $20 million to over $550 million. Rebecca started her IT career managing sales operations and training for an IT consultancy. She is an active member of Women in the Channel and the Channel Partners Advisory Board. Rebecca is also a member of the CompTIA faculty and pens the Sales Enablement Blog on Channel Partners Online.