Kicking off Q2, it’s time to be direct! If you’ve been reluctant to adopt social selling into your organization, you’re missing a massive opportunity train. This blog is for sales leaders, business owners, and sales reps.
Let’s say that each stop a train makes represents your potential customers. You can stop to pick up customers along the route by using traditional sales techniques. Yet, without social selling, that train is passing by potentially important and profitable customers. In fact, according to a 2012 study by the Aberdeen Group businesses that use social selling achieve far better results than those who don’t. This is true in terms of the achievement of sales quotas by the sales team and individual sales reps, rates of customer renewal, and accuracy of sales forecasts. Simply put, social sellers do best.
What is social selling, and why do social sellers achieve the best results?
What is social selling?
The Aberdeen Group defines social selling as “the use of social media platforms to communicate with internal or channel partner team members, in order to benefit from shared “tribal knowledge” in acquiring/servicing customers.”
Why do social sellers do best?
Social sellers know their prospects’ buying cycles.
According to the 2013 B2B Lead Generation Report by Holger Schulze, over 90% of B2B buyers begin their buying process online. Therefore, sales organizations that use social selling have a distinct advantage over those who don’t. By using it, you will be able to learn about your prospects’ buying cycles early, and often. You will know when your prospects are ready to buy, and can take advantage of that knowledge, leaving other sellers behind.
Social selling shortens the sales cycle
One of the most important aspects of social selling is social listening. By listening socially, you will gain the inside scoop into your customers’ “Priority Shifting.” This means that your customers will tell you when they are ready to buy—which shortens the sales cycle (and saves you the headache of prospecting buyers that demonstrate no interest to buy tomorrow), giving you better results.
You’ll be dealing with like-minded people
Let’s face it, Social selling is still a relatively new phenomenon, and the “Sphere of Influence” in the social community is not as well-leveraged as it could be. You can take advantage of this by doing business with other like-minded buyers with similar challenges. 50% of all meetings we book in LinkedIn are “Sphere of Influence” opportunities.
Social sellers challenge the Status Quo
Most people today know how to use social media to create new opportunities. However, there is still a long way to go. As sales reps, you need to engage your buyers by knowing what their challenges are, and then offering a fresh perspective on how to meet them. Buyers have their own ideas of what works well, and it’s not easy to challenge the status quo. The only way to shift their existing approaches is to offer them new ways of thinking about their business and its challenges. A great book that talks about this fundamental concept is The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, which states that sales reps who challenge their buyers are the most successful. This is all achieved with CONTENT – whether it’s your own or other companies, you need to find great content!
The Bottom Line
If you don’t want to be left behind the 8 ball – you really need to start to take action. The following blog posts on utilizing Social Selling strategies using LinkedIn can help you start. If you are really looking for some hidden gems on how you can attract a very specific prospect, I recommend you check out – 42 LinkedIn Tips
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