How do the three sales drivers below fit into the three stages of the traditional sales process: the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel? In this blog, I’ll break down these major stages of the sales process and demonstrate where the three major pillars of social selling fit in.

The diagram illustrates the three major sales drivers of social selling:

  • Insights-based selling;

  • Trigger-based selling; and,

  • Referral-based selling.

Top of the funnel

At the top of the funnel, trigger-based selling is a fantastic social selling initiative to use. You can leverage LinkedIn job change alerts to monitor when someone who works at a company you’re currently doing business with leaves to go to another company.


Statistics show that in the first 90 days, a buyer who moves on to a new company is keen to bring the people, processes, and technology that made them successful at their previous organization to their new company. This means your solutions! These are your advocates. And you, as a sales pro, should monitor these job changes, because the top of the funnel is an incredible lead generation tool for you to open doors based on previous relationships.

Middle of the funnel

The middle of funnel is where insights-based selling comes into play. At this stage, you’ve maybe had a discovery call or had interest from a potential buyer. But then it’s very common that you enter an awful place for sales pros called the “dead zone.”


The “dead zone” is that terrible feeling after you’ve had a sales conversation where a buyer tells you to call back in a week or two, and then doesn’t get back to you. They get busy, they have other priorities, and you’re left hanging.

During this time, many sales pros don’t take the opportunity to nurture that buyer and educate that buyer along that journey. They’ll follow up with calls and emails, but they don’t help the buyer to move along the journey by providing insights that help them do their due diligence and make an informed decision.

On a weekly basis, you should share new insights, such as a new video that showcases a customer success story or an infographic which roadmaps what a successful roadmap would look like in the first 90 days of implementation. Arm that buyer with information so it eliminates the pitfalls, and challenges, and roadblocks, because the dead zone can take weeks or months. Your job is to help them navigate the journey.

Bottom of the funnel

The bottom of the funnel is for referral-based selling. At the bottom of the funnel, you’ve likely had a series of discovery and build meetings and now you’re getting down to discussing pricing and proposals.

 This is when the buyer is at an evaluation stage called “Who.” They’re looking at who will be the vendor of record that they want to bring into their organization to help solve a particular problem. They’re doing due diligence on you, your organization, and your ability to service their needs.

At this stage, referral-based selling is fantastic for connecting your past customers with potential customers—your success stories. Introduce them to other industry experts to help them along this journey. You can introduce them through social media, which helps to build their personal networks with people who’ve already been through their problems and solved them. They can then call these people directly even during implementation.


Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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