Social media is capable of more than just pictures of food and angry political posts, thank goodness. The internet has been an invaluable marketing tool for years, but social media provides its own unique sales benefits. Given the prominence of sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, sales teams should take advantage of these sites. Social buying is increasingly common, so salespeople should respond with social selling.

What is Social Selling?

Social selling is a means of connecting with prospective customers via social media. This method prioritizes one-to-one communication between salesperson and customer, providing focused content for an individual. This is different from social media marketing, which targets many people to raise brand awareness or promote a specific product. Social selling aims to forge relationships with each individual prospect and work with them directly, making suggestions and answering questions. It uses social media to build the kind of relationships that will keep you at the front of a prospect’s mind when they are ready to buy.

Why Social Selling?

  • Better relationships. While cold calling becomes less and less successful, social media is an increasingly effective means of creating relationships with clients. Social selling lets you connect with prospects on their own terms. Rather than bombarding them with a stale, impersonal pitch, you can have more organic interactions. Answering their questions and offering suggestions builds the trust and rapport that make for promising business relationships.
  •  Clients are ready for it. People are already practicing social buying. According to Hubspot, 74% of business-to-business buyers do more than half their research online before making a purchase.1 Not only that, buyers engaging via social media have 84% bigger budgets than those who don’t.2 Sure makes social selling sound like a great idea, doesn’t it?
  • Keep with the competition. Get this: 71% of all sales professionals, and 90% of top salespeople, already practice social selling.3 The numbers are even higher among millennials: 78% of millennial sales professionals use social selling tools.4 If you hope to keep up with your competition—both in the present and in the future—social selling is a must.
  • Better numbers. The numbers don’t lie. 75% of business-to-business buyers and 84% of executives use information and contacts from social media to make purchasing decisions.5 Not only that, social sellers see a 66% greater quota attainment than those not using such techniques.6 What’s more, nearly 75% of companies practicing social selling see an increase in their sales team within a year. These statistics speak to the ever-increasing success of social selling techniques. Companies using social media in this way will have better numbers than those sticking with traditional prospecting techniques.

1 The B2B Sales Force Digital reboot, Forrester Research Inc., 2015
2 Social Buying Meets Social Selling: How Trust Networks Improve the Purchase Experience, IDC, 2014
4 Ibid.
6 How To Make Your Numbers, SBI 7th Annual Research Project, Sales Benchmark Index, 2014

Jim Bozzelli