Outbound sales in absence of relevant data is becoming increasingly uncommon and ineffective. According to a recent survey of over 1000 B2B sales professionals from various industries, connecting with prospects over the phone call takes 18 or more attempts and callback rates are below 1%, what’s more alarming is, only 24% sales emails are ever opened.
84% of B2B buyers are starting a purchase process based on referrals, and 90% are making buying decisions based on peer recommendations, a good 54% are making final purchase without any sales persons help.
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It’s clear buyers are avoiding sales reps, but why ? According to Forrester, it is because buyers are seeking solutions to their problems, without getting pushed by sales reps agenda. Forrester warns, AI & ML assisted self-service sales will erode more than a million B2B sales jobs by 2020.
While Inbound Sales encompasses multiple interrelated components including websites, SEO, blogging, lead generating content offers, email, lead nurturing, and much more, there are some things that should be emphasized and some that can be forgotten.
is one such thing, adding social media tool to your B2B sales professionals toolbox. It helps B2B sales professionals research, network, connect, educate and answers prospects questions. Helping them build meaningful relationships and nurture prospects until they are ready to buy, and chooses you and your brand when they buy.
Do not confuse this with brands social media marketing strategy, in which brands engages with prospects and strangers, to increase its brands awareness, promote products & services through helpful, promotional and educational content. In social selling, we concentrate on one-on-one engagement and communication, between B2B sales professional and buyers.
Even though they both use the same social channels to connect, communicate, and convert prospects into customers. The goal of social selling is to form personalized relationship, by providing suggestions and answering questions of prospects & buyers, whereas in social marketing we are engaging with anyone & everyone to create brands awareness and build affinity for organization’s brand.
For many B2B sales professionals, social selling has become as important as cold calling, and in some cases has replaced it. It makes sense, given the fact that 85% of B2B buyers prefer to engage via digital channels and complete a purchase, without the help of a sales person. Only 24% percent of B2B buyers found it helpful to speak to a salesperson when researching a new product or services.
- 71% of all sales professionals—and 90% of top salespeople—are already using social selling tools.
- 78% of all millennial sales professionals using social selling tools and 63% saying those tools are critical or extremely critical to their sales performance.
- 3 out of 4 B2B sales professionals acknowledge, using social selling helped them increase number of sales qualified leads.
- 39% of B2B sales professionals said social selling reduced the amount of time they spent researching accounts and contacts and good 31% said that social selling tools allowed them to build deeper relationships with clients.
- Customers are already engaged in social buying, 53% of B2B buyers responded positively when asked if social media plays a role in assessment and final decision making process.
- 82% of B2B buyers said the winning vendor’s social content had significant impact on buyers decision.
- As per a LinkedIn survey, B2B buyers are 5 times more likely to engage with a sales rep with new insights about their business or industry.
- 72% of the B2B sales people professionals using social selling outperformed their peers.
- And more than half of them indicated they closed deals as a direct result of social media.
They can further improve their skills by collaborating with their peers & counterparts to make the most of their social efforts. Investing in training can further help organizations in adoption of social media across sales organizations. According to a survey, 75% of B2B salespeople indicated they were trained in the effective use of social media.
Training can encompass everything from working in specific social media channels to using corporate social media software, understanding the business’s social media guidelines, and orienting social media content around customer requirements, instead of brand features, benefits, and prices.
Aligning sales and marketing can further improve sales clouser by 67% and marketing effectiveness by 209%, generating more value from their efforts. They can collaborate to ensure efforts are aligned towards common goal and metrics viable for both teams. Sales being face and front with customers, can share their successes, concerns, questions and industry updates with marketing.
Things to keep in mind while formulating B2B social selling strategy.
Active, Engaged and Available - You have to be active, engaged and available on social channels frequented by your prospects and customers. And your profile should be listed as someone with authority in industry your customers might be looking for help.
- Listening - You can gain a wealth of information from your prospects and customers social activity, what they are reading and who they are following, who is following them, groups and networks they are actively engaged and more.
- Add Value - Remember you are not alone on social channels, and you need to add value. Writing post about your offerings, participating in relevant forums, providing the right information at the right time to your prospects and customers, helps gaining their confidence and will eventually lead to an opportunity to sell.
- Building lasting Relationships - Do not rush in to sell as soon as you are connected with your prospects. Pay attention to what they are saying, what questions they are asking. Participate if you can add value by offering help or recommendation. If they move to a new position or company, send them a congratulatory note. Position yourself as a go-to-person in your industry for help and stay connected.