As a business leader you’ll probably agree with the statement that the traditional game of Sales has changed. The B2B buyer of today is not willing to respond to direct sales efforts, because she views them as interruptive and even annoying. In fact, a recent study reflected that 90% of B2B decision makers no longer respond to cold-calls.
Today’s consumers are far more informed and engaged through the decision making process, vis-à-vis their yesteryear counterparts. The average B2B purchase now involves more decision makers than ever before, and some studies suggest that between 60 to 90% of the buyer’s research is complete even before the first contact is made with the seller. This means that to effectively reach them, you need to
(i) Adopt platforms where your customers are present,
(ii) Interact with them when they are on those platforms, and,
(iii) Know what information to share with them in order to engage.
According to a survey, the number of social media users worldwide is expected to reach 2.16 billion in 2016 as compared to 1.61 billion in 2013. And while brands have woken up to this reality and started to use social media to reach out to consumers, with one-to-many communications, it is time for B2B sales leaders to use social media platforms to engage with their buyers – in one-to-one conversation.
Your potential and existing customers are most likely using social media to express their thoughts, needs and wants on social media. This presents The Holy Grail for any sales team – access to the buyers’ thoughts, consumption and behavioral patterns. Proactively identifying these opportunities and capitalizing on them by engaging with this ‘always-on’ customer base is the need of the hour. Social Selling is the practice of using social media by sales organizations for understanding and engaging with customers, with the ultimate aim of business intelligence and lead generation.
Much like traditional sales, Social Selling is an art in itself – Direct approaches and upfront selling on social media will by all means lead to dead ends. Social selling as a process involves identifying your prospects, connecting with them, monitoring their activity on social media to find the opportune moment to engage with them and build a relationship.
So, will social media completely replace traditional selling? No, It will only enable your selling to become more effective! Because, while the medium may have gone from physical to digital, sales as a practice will always retain its personal approach – selling your product and services through understanding, informing and building strong relationships with your audiences.
If you’re not tapping into social selling today, you’re missing out. In 2012, sales people using social media to sell outperformed those who weren’t using social media 78.6% of the time. LinkedIn’s own study reveals that Sales professionals who adopt social selling are 51% more likely to exceed their sales quota than sales professionals who don’t.
As a Business Leader, Social Selling can offer you the following benefits.
• Higher close rates
• Lower churn of important accounts
• Tighter customer relationships
• Shorter sales cycle
• More competitive wins
The time to begin social selling is Now. While many worry about the threat of social media, we believe that if you’re in sales, it’s time to look more closely at the opportunities and embrace the change. There probably has never been a better time to use Social Media to find clients, craft pitches that meet their specific requirements and bring the right people together to make the sale.