This may not come as a surprise to you, but hear us out: we live in the digital age, and human connections are becoming increasingly digital as a result.

As a sales manager, knowing that 98% of sales reps with more than 5000 LinkedIn connections meet or surpass quota should be all you need to give Social Selling a moment’s thought. Sales tactics need to conform as customer buying methods change.

The majority of the buyer’s journey is finished by the time a buyer gets on a call with a sales rep, but where are they doing all their prior research?

Online.

The B2B audience is online—it’s no secret. It’s been said and it’s been said again. So, to all the newspaper and radio marketers out there, this is your wake-up call. Social Selling has the potential to be your best friend and most valuable tool in prospecting, especially when nearly half of B2B researchers are millennials.

The benefit of Social Selling is the ability to target prospects early on in the buyer's journey If you want to increase your win rates and deal size anywhere from 5% to 35%, it’s time to learn the ins and outs of Social Selling to your B2B customers.

What is Social Selling?

The Social Selling process consists of using social channels to connect with and engage potential prospects. Sales reps can utilize social media in many ways, from answering consumer questions and making connections with prospects to promoting your brand and sharing valuable industry content.

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Your Social Presence

Show Your Personal Brand

Make certain that your online persona and LinkedIn profile represent a strong professional brand. Research by LinkedIn shows that 81% of buyers are more likely to engage with a strong professional persona.

Consider this: if your social profile is the first company presence a prospects sees, that sets the stage for their idea of your company as a whole and what kinds of people they will be interacting with.  

It’s similar to online dating profiles, in that everyone shows the best aspects of themselves.

With that in mind, a sales rep should make their online presence approachable and professional—interacting through social channels is a great way to create buzz and build company awareness.

Be a Thought Leader in your Industry

Once prospects realize you actually know what you’re talking about, they will be more likely to interact with you. LinkedIn research has shown that 92% of buyers will engage with sales professionals if they are known industry thought leaders. Make yourself seem like an expert (even if you’re not); you may just have the solution they’re looking for.

Tips to Start Social Selling

Tip 1: Answer Questions

Answering questions will have a great impact on your reputation and is a great way to show that you are an expert in your industry and is a chance to promote digital solutions that your followers may be looking for.

Start off by searching for industry keywords, mentions of your company name or brand, and even mentions of your competitors. By doing this you will likely stumble upon tons of questions that you might have an expert answer for, and even an opportunity to promote your company solutions in the process.

For example, Quora question forums are a great way to offer great answers to topics that you may have expertise in. Be sure you aren’t coming off too “promote-y” or else your answers will be ignored. You want to ensure you are answering someone’s question, not just suggesting a product or paid service. That way, a reader that receives value and remembers you as a helpful resource will be more likely to look into your company/solution further if they want to learn more!

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Tip 2: Engage with Reviews

Engage through review response and clear up customer confusion. This is a great way to mend problems and show your customers they are heard. For example, over 70% of tweeters expect to hear back from the brand they’re mentioning, and 53% want a response within one hour. By responding to reviews quickly through social media you’re giving the audience a great impression of what your company values.

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Tip 3: Write Industry Content

Your Marketing wizards aren’t the only people at your organization capable of writing great content. Don’t underestimate how much one piece of quality content like a blog article, checklist, or task template could attract a prospect you and your company. The best content is educational and gives your prospects actionable insights or useful tools that provide value to their business—and an added benefit is that your prospect will come to trust your expertise, so that the next time they are looking for a solution, they are looking back to you.

Tip 4: Share Industry-Leading Content

If you’re not a great content writer, fear not. Simply sharing intriguing industry news or content and adding a personal comment or opinion can have a similar effect to writing content. Engage and interacting with others through comments and opinions encourages others to engage more with you.

Tip 5: Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups area great tool to include in your Social Selling strategy. LinkedIn offers group engagement statistics that allow you to select groups that are the right match for you and your company.

It’s a great idea to join groups that already have many members. That way, you’re being exposed to a much larger audience, particularly if you’re an active member of the group. Gain visibility by liking posts, contributing to posts, and sharing group conversations. Explore LinkedIn and find some great groups for your industry!

Conclusion: Social Selling is Essential

With an increasing majority of buyers doing research online, it’s crucial to have an online presence that shows what your brand is made of. Connect with prospects through LinkedIn, create content, share intriguing industry insights, and make your presence known.

B2B sales can be a tough game to play, but reaching out to prospects through social channels is becoming an absolute necessity in today’s digital age. Don’t get left behind—encourage your sales team to incorporate social selling techniques into their daily routines, and reap the benefits in prospecting and customer engagement.

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