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The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling for B2B Sales

The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling for B2B Sales

Anirban Banerjee
Anirban Banerjee
August 18, 2022
5 min read

Imagine this: You are merry-making at your annual family shindig surrounded by extended family and friends. Obviously, there’s a lot to catch up on.

Conversation steers towards shop talk. You mention how you have been struggling with a problem in your business.

After a while, your well-meaning but often overbearing uncle, John, comes to you. He demands that you hire his firm's services to help your business. Mind you - he has only second-hand knowledge of your business, and it shows. 

On the other hand, is your distant cousin, Matthew. Matthew asks you about your business and offers suggestions that could help you. He doesn’t turn the conversation into a sales pitch. 

Fast forward two months later. Matthew has followed up with you about how your business has been doing and if his suggestions were helpful. And they were helpful. John, however, has gone MIA.

Now, if you had to pick one of them to do business with in the future, who would it be? 

Let me guess. The distant cousin, right? 

But why would you do that?

The answer is simple: Matthew was building a relationship with you. John was trying to close a deal. 

And, do you know who else feels the same way? Your prospects! 

So, take our advice and don’t be a John! Be a Matthew!

But as a sales rep, how do you build relationships with potential customers in the fast lane of modern life? 

The modern world has the perfect solution to this sales grind: social media

Your potential customers are on social media. Where are you?

75% B2B buyers are influenced by social media, and as many are doing their research online. They are ready to make purchasing decisions based on what they see online. 

Your target audience is probably scrolling through their social media feed even as you make your way through this blog. Don’t wait around for them to find you. Go and find them!

But there’s more to modern problems, and so it is to their solutions:

There are limitless channels and endless possibilities when it comes to social media outreach. How do you know what works the best? More importantly, how do you know what would help you drive conversions? We don’t want you to invest your time and resources in worthless social media activities either. Don’t fret! We’ve got your back! Here is the ultimate guide to social selling for B2B sales so you and your sales team can shoot for the stars.

Here are some steps on how to get started in social selling:

Use networks to build networks

Social media. These two magical words contain an entire world within themselves. If you want some of this magic to rub off on your sales strategy, start by leveraging the ‘social’ in social media. 

Gone are the days of cold calling and being hung up on or knocking on doors only to have them shut in your face. So, ditch the less-effective traditional sales technique of by-gone days and look toward your bright and sunny future with social selling.

Today, with half the world’s population actively scrolling through social media platforms, salespeople already have an audience of over 4 billion! Imagine that! You don’t have to move an inch from your place to make a sales pitch or build relationships with potential buyers. 

You do have to lift your fingers. And constantly. 

Social media has changed the entire ball game of B2B sales outreach. With social selling, you are playing the long game and hustling in real-time. But, how is it any different from social media marketing, you ask? Both use social media, after all. 

Let’s dive a little deeper. 

Social selling vs social media marketing

To make it easy, think of them as twins with completely different personalities using social media. One twin is a social media influencer building a personal brand to sell her products by leveraging her social media presence through viral content. 

The other twin takes a more personal approach. She, too, is using social media to sell her products, but she talks directly to her potential and existing customers. She is nurturing a relationship to build trust and her personal brand.  

I bet you can spot the difference. 

The first twin is marketing her product through social media marketing by talking to all her followers at one go through her content. On the other hand, the second twin is using social selling to build one-on-one relationships with her audience. 

After all, social media can be a mode of mass communication or personal communication, isn’t it? Even better, it lets you combine the two. 

An effective sales strategy combines the two to create a cocktail that makes the sales process a hit! As sales professionals, you need to bring the human touch to digital technologies by directly interacting with your target audience. 

You must be thinking, “Isn’t that a big ask? Is it even worth investing the time and energy?”

No, it’s not a big ask. And, abso-freakin’-lutely yes, it is worth investing the time and energy!

I’m sure you need a little more convincing. So, let’s prove it for you. 

Share the right content with the right prospects

All you need to do is find your ideal audience on the right platform and get talking. 

Striking up a conversation is made easy by social media. According to LinkedIn, 76% buyers are ready to have social media conversations. 

Carrying on the conversation is the hard part. Need some advice? Don’t spam your prospects as you slide into their view. 

You are not making a sales pitch. You are there to build trust, establish your personal brand and be a thought leader. Share relevant content and opportunities because over 62% B2B buyers respond to salespeople who share valuable content. 

Increase your brand visibility in relevant communities

There is already a club. Whether you want to join in or not is up to you. 

One of the best sales tools is to join the table and make yourself heard. Don’t get me wrong, listening (read: social listening) is just as important. To be an industry and thought leader, listen to and share content. Don’t be a lone wolf. Become the pack leader. 

Social sellers use their profiles to build their brand image and increase visibility by joining the conversation.  

Nurture relationships for the long-term

A good sales rep has a good sales pitch. The hallmark of great sales reps? They understand the value of building relationships. So which one are you?

If you’re the latter, then- share content, engage, interact, and repeat. It is the mantra of an effective social selling strategy. Leverage your social networks to understand their pain points, share high-quality content that is valuable and relevant to them, and follow-up. 

In the end, we all want to dive into our own indoor pool of gold coins, right? Social selling has you covered in this department too.

According to LinkedIn, 78% of social sellers outsell their peers who don’t use social media. Need more convincing? Social selling leaders are also 51% more likely to hit their sales quota than other sales professionals. There is no better high than success, is there? 

Let’s get you started with some tips and tricks of the trade.

Every magician has some tricks up his sleeves (sometimes literally) to awe his audience. Let’s do a reveal and help you with some tricks of your own to close the sales cycle and bring in new business, shall we?

Optimize your profile

You receive a friend request from someone whose name sounds vaguely familiar. But you are not sure. You go digging a little deeper. Alas, there’s only a generic profile picture and next to nothing in her bio. So you move on to the next request without accepting hers. 

Don’t be passed over by potential buyers. Spruce up your profile and keep it up to date with the latest info because first impressions matter. Add the link to your new company website, update the old office number, and drop in the Google location pin. Your prospects should not have to try to find you in the crowd. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and give them an opening act they will not forget. 

Do your research

How to know thy customer? Simple. Do your research -  look up their social media profiles, talk to mutual friends, and ask them questions.

You have to put in the time to do your research. Conduct market and persona research to know what works for your ideal customers. Shape and customize your sales pitch to influence their purchasing decisions based on your findings. 

Give value to build value

Imagine you are out grocery shopping. You are looking around for pasta. But the buying assistant is adamantly trying to sell you salted butter. 

It can be annoying, right?

As a sales professional, give your target audience valuable and relevant content. Combine social selling and content marketing, and you have a winning combination. Otherwise, they’ll just move on to someone who is without giving you a second glance. You can build credibility by being mindful of the potential buyer’s needs.

Listen in

You see a couple of your coworkers talking in the corner. They look at you a couple of times and start laughing. You assume the worst- they must be making fun of you!

Hold on there! Don’t go assuming! 

They were only talking about when you had people howling with laughter with your impression of the boss. 

With social listening, you will never have to resort to assuming. Tap into what your social networks are saying about the business. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. And social listening is a powerful tool. 

Leverage social proof 

Salespeople: “Our product is the best-selling product in the market! It’s ten times more effective than X brand.”

Potential customer: eye-roll

Well, you are supposed to say that, there’s no way around! But here’s what you need to do to make it effective: follow it up with social proof. 

Use case studies, customer testimonials, and real-world examples. Ask your customers for referrals and expand your existing social networks through them. You need to back your claims.

Being human

*In a robotic voice*

“How can I help you?”

“May I be of assistance?”

If you don’t want to be confused with a traditional chatbot, you need to bring your A-game to social media interactions. You are a person interacting with other people. 

A conversation is not simply a powerful tool in your sales strategy - it’s how people get to know each other. It’s a two-way communication that humanizes both the stakeholders in the interaction. Blend the personal with the professional. Now, you have the perfect potion for success. 

Automate to liberate

Okay, so this seems contradictory, doesn’t it? It’s not.

Use automation to make the mundane and boring bits of social selling machine-driven. Social listening tools, SEO and SEM tools, and customer research management (CRMs) tools can take care of toil in social selling. 

So, make optimal use of tools like HubSpot, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Hootsuite, and Mention. 

Now you have more time to do the most critical part of your job- talking to your prospects. 

Review

Students review their papers after getting their grades. So, why shouldn’t you?

Experience teaches the best lessons. So start learning. Use performance metrics to review your social selling strategy. LinkedIn’s social selling index can help you measure your performance across various metrics.

Still unsure about how to become a social selling success story?

Aim and hit the bulls-eye every single time with Wingman.

Just like you are with your sales team at every step, guiding them through the minefield of a sales cycle, your wingman won’t budge from your side. 

  • With Wingman, our sales intelligence platform, you can listen to the call recordings of your prospects and customers in a data-driven way. Make the best use of this information to drive your social media campaigns and understand the mindset of your prospects. 
  • Leverage AI-powered sales analytics to fine-tune your social media outreach. 
  • Listen to the calls of your star performers and make a note of what works the best when pitching your product.

Once you have found the right prospects, Wingman gives you real-time sales insights to improve your sales conversations and tackle sales objections on call. If you want to make this fantasy your reality - then book your demo today!

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