What is Social Selling?
Social selling: its best practices
In our digitalized world, the way of prospecting, selling, and buying has changed profoundly. Buyers are more and more autonomous in the decision-making process because they have access to a colossal mass of information. To support prospects in their buying thinking, salespeople must position themselves as experts in their field. Social selling is then the key device in terms of commercial prospecting. Many companies have understood this by integrating it into their business development. How to succeed in your social sales strategy?
1 / What is social selling?
Social selling consists of deploying a marketing and sales strategy on social networks. In B2B, the preferred network is LinkedIn, which today represents 16 million subscribers and 9.7 million monthly active users in France. But, beyond this quick definition, it is about initiating a complex and long-term digital process.
Your salespeople should start by developing their branding on LinkedIn. They will report on their expertise in their field of activity to improve their visibility. Thus, they will instill trust among your target customers. To achieve this, they must share relevant and qualitative content with this audience.
Within your company, your sales and marketing teams will collaborate on this social selling. The former will share the premium content developed by the latter. These documents, articles, white papers, news, infographics, videos, … should seek to capture the attention of your target. This value-added content will gradually move potential buyers forward in the conversion funnel.
2 / The reasons for selling on social networks
78% of salespeople who have adopted social selling and shared content on social media say they have seen their sales increase considerably. This approach allows you to generate leads and improve your sales performance. When we set up, a 360 ° prospecting system including social selling, we obtain 30% higher results compared to a traditional mission.
LinkedIn is a great tool for identifying your customers of tomorrow and supporting your prospects in their purchasing process. It allows you to make contact with your target, like an icebreaker. It thus represents the first phase of a global strategy which will later require a traditional telephone prospecting for direct contact to be established.
On social networks, you will be able to help some people realize the need they have and which your product or service meets. You place yourself there upstream of the sales funnel. With social selling, you show your expertise to be more credible in their eyes.
In addition, you seek to arouse the interest of potential buyers in your offer. There you are targeting those who wish to address one of their issues with the type of product or service you are offering. They will then be able to be advised and followed in their decision-making process via social interactions. Your social presence, the quality of your speech, and the performance of your publications will give more force to your arguments.
Through social networks, contact with your prospects is much less intrusive and more personalized for better results. This communication and prospecting technique will greatly help you to better know and understand your potential customers. Your arguments will be able to gradually sharpen to be more and more impactful. It is therefore an approach whose performance is constantly improving.
3 / Good practices in social selling
For a successful strategy, 3 key principles must apply to you as well as to all your employees on social networks.
3.1 / Show yourself on social networks
To initiate persuasive social selling, seek to position yourself as a trusted contact for your prospects. This is why you must develop an image consistent with your function, your field of activity, and your ambition.
To achieve this, your LinkedIn profile will build the foundation of your social presence. It must be clear, attractive, and optimized with the keywords related to your area of expertise. You have to make it live very regularly. Show your credibility by being recommended by your customers and collaborators.
3.2 / Share content through social selling
It is essential to share high-added-value content that provides real information to your prospects. You must nourish the thinking of your prospects by demonstrating your expertise in your field.
For your social selling to perform, produce your content as much as possible (articles, news comments, infographics, white papers, etc.). And even if it’s content from your business, try to add personal value to it through an introductory commentary.
The content you are going to produce must be designed for your target. They must be designed to respond to their issues, questions, and needs.
You can’t just do content curation. This sharing, even of value, is not enough to demonstrate your expertise and attract your prospects.
3.3 / Take part in discussions on LinkedIn
Seek contact with clearly identified targets of interest. For this, your network must include key people involved in the decision-making process of the target companies.
Then engage in an exchange process with these key interlocutors to interest them in your content and your offer. Sales Navigator and other digital tools will help you do this.
Before even sending a private message to your prospect, prefer to send them a public message. You can make a value-added comment on any of their recent posts or shares. You will see that this will get a lot more of his attention. He will take an interest in you, look at who you are, and even want to talk to you directly.
4 / the hard version of social selling
There are two versions of social media selling that are not exclusive and can be combined. The first is the “soft” which is based on a progressive, authentic and qualitative approach.
However, it is also possible to carry out “hard” social selling. The goal is to get results quickly. For this, automation techniques (using bots) are employed in different ways depending on your objectives:
- The rapid expansion of your network by sending automated invitations;
- Mass sending of InMail (an emailing directly in LinkedIn, in a way) with an acceptance rate less good than in soft social selling, but better than an emailing operation;
- Auto-follow your contacts;
- Use pods to give visibility to your posts.
This type of approach is necessarily decried by the purists of this social strategy. Nevertheless, used wisely with growth hacking techniques, it can give interesting results.
5 / Measure the performance of social selling
To optimize your approach, it is important to set up adequate analytics covering all the impacted aspects. Thus, you will define a set of performance indicators to monitor:
- related to your content production:
- Increase in your contacts and followers,
- Likes and comments on LinkedIn,
- Views of your blog posts,
- Subscribers to your newsletter,
- Downloads of your white papers,
- related to your commercial offer:
- Views of your website, and in particular pages presenting your product/service,
- Downloads of your sales brochure,
- Calls made,
To finish convincing you of the value of social selling, here are some statistics that say it all:
- 90% of the best salespeople in a business use social selling (Forbes);
- Sales reps using social selling are 51% more likely to reach their sales goals;
- 84% of B2B CEOs use social networks in their purchasing decisions (B2B Marketers);
- 78% of companies using these tools outperform their competitors (Forbes);
- 64% of sales teams who use this strategy achieve their goals.
Thanks to LinkedIn, social selling increases your links with your leads, optimizes your sales prospecting strategy, and stimulates your turnover. But, it takes commitment, time, and skill to reap all the rewards. Insurance Noon can support you in this ambition and implement effective and timely actions for you.