What is Social Selling and Why Should I Care?
Everyone’s talking about social selling these days. It’s on all the blogs and of course it’s all over your LinkedIn feed.
But what is social selling?
You have a vague idea, maybe, but is there really any difference between social selling and messing around on social media?
Yes, there is. Social selling is more than just a fancy buzzword: it’s a revolutionary way to connect directly with buyers and build relationships that convert into sales.
Social Selling Defined
Social selling is the process of using social media to directly interact with buyers. Unlike cold calling and email outreach, social selling is less aggressive in nature.
The goal of interacting with buyers through social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter is less about the hard sell and more about fostering a relationship. By engaging buyers directly and sharing thoughtful, helpful content, sellers can position themselves as thought leaders and resources that are there to answer questions and provide value to buyers.
The Need for Social Selling
If the thought of selling without selling on social media sounds strange to you, don’t worry. It’s a very different concept than normal sales prospecting methods in which sellers aggressively contact large lists of potential buyers with the primary goal being to book as many meetings as possible in order to create opportunities and close deals.
The problem with the traditional methods of calling and emailing cold leads is that they are becoming less effective. Buyers are more educated than ever and don’t respond well to sales outreach that isn’t personalized and relevant to their needs.
Consider these stats around cold calling, for instance:
- It takes an average of 18 calls to connect with a buyer (TOPO)
- Only 1% of cold calls convert into meetings (Keller Research Center)
- 90% of decision makers no longer take cold calls (FreshBusinessThinking)
- 42% of sellers think that they do not have enough information before making a call (Callpage)
Cold email outreach isn’t much better:
- Only 24% of sales emails are opened (TOPO)
- The average person deletes 48% of the emails they receive every day (Boomerang)
- 21% of email recipients report email as spam, even if they know it isn't (Convince&Convert)
- 57% of email recipients consider a message to be spam if it isn’t relevant to their needs (Scripted)
It’s clear: buyers want more relevant, personalized outreach, and cold calling and emailing fail to create the relationship necessary to inspire confidence in a seller’s message. What’s more, sellers can’t hope to fully understand a buyer’s needs on a personal level without engaging with them directly first.
That’s where social selling comes in.
Benefits of Social Selling
You’ve probably heard a lot about the benefits of social selling, including shortened sales cycle and increased lead generation. Those are the results of social selling. The real benefits of social selling that lead to those results are built on social selling’s ability to foster relationships with buyers.
By interacting with buyers directly through social selling, sellers come to understand who their buyers are as people rather than decision makers with expense accounts. Social selling gives sellers a view into the topics and challenges that their buyers care about most. By following their activity on LinkedIn and Twitter, sellers can see what kind of content buyers engage with and share.
This helps sellers to cater their sales messages specifically to the individual needs of a particular buyer. The additional context gleaned through social media allows the seller to deeply understand what their buyer cares about and what kinds of messages will resonate.
By in turn engaging with buyers with helpful, relevant content, sellers can position themselves as resources that buyers can trust, authorities in their area of expertise that buyers turn to when they want answers to the challenges they face.
These kinds of relationships are the underpinnings of modern B2B sales. Cold calling and emailing can’t create those relationships or offer the kind of context necessary to engage buyers on a personal level. Social selling does.
As cold calling and emailing becomes less and less effective, and as new regulations like the EU’s GDPR make traditional sales outreach more difficult, more sellers will have to turn to social selling to engage with their buyers. If the goal is to shorten deal cycles and identify new prospects, then social selling is the answer because it creates more opportunities for meaningful, personal conversations with buyers.
Ready to plan your own video social selling strategy? Download our guide, “The Ultimate Guide to Video Social Selling,” and learn how to improve response rates and book more meetings using personalized video in your social selling.
Posted on July 26, 2018