Digital selling is at the forefront of B2B business now that B2B is embracing the digital age. B2B businesses have been forced to embrace the digital transformation and moving their sales and marketing teams to the world wide web for lead generation and the closing of sales.
B2B buyers have forced B2B sellers to move their lead generation efforts onto the internet. Unless your B2B business has an online presence and makes the buying process easy for buyers then you will miss out on these sales opportunities to any one of your digitally enabled competitors.
If your business is involved in digital selling or if it is currently making the digital transformation, you have probably come across the term social selling.
Is your B2B business implementing social selling as part of its digital selling strategies? If not, it could be negatively affecting your lead generation efforts. Whether you have already made the digital transformation or are in the process of doing so, it is worth noting what social selling is and the best practices surrounding the popular strategy.
What is social selling?
The term social selling is slightly misleading. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it had something to do with selling your products or services using social media pages. While this does occur on social networking sites, take Facebook Marketplace as an example, this is not what the term social selling means when used in a B2B setting.
Eliana De Celis, a leading social seller at SAP, perfectly describes social selling in a recent interview with Sarah Goodall, founder of Tribal Impact. She describes social selling as the “building [of] a relationship with a customer before they even recognize there’s a buying need.” She also points out one of the advantages of social selling. “If I enter the conversation early enough, I can support the buyer through their decision-making process.”
Digital tools, and in particular social tools, afford B2B businesses with a greater understanding of the modern buyer.
Sales teams can use these social networks to build themselves as thought experts in their industry. Developing an online presence on the social networking sites that their target audiences are on is crucial.
The responsibility for content marketing no longer rests solely on marketing teams. Social selling is dependent on salespeople taking control of the distribution of content while also aligning with marketing teams to create it.
Social selling is about understanding the why
The purpose of social selling is not to sell but rather to build relationships through social interaction, networking and engaging with customers. Building relationships with your prospects help to develop an understanding of their needs and, in turn, adds value to their customer experience.
Social selling affords salespeople with the opportunity to build a greater level of trust and rapport with prospects in a much more accessible way than the traditional sales techniques. It allows salespeople to connect with buyers on a human level.
Build a rapport using content
Empathy is becoming an increasingly important aspect of the B2B buying process. Understanding the human being behind each customer persona can help your business to deliver the best customer experience.
Delivering content at the appropriate time can guide them through each stage of their buying process. The key to building a relationship through content is to follow your prospects and their online activity, taking the time to note their interests. Connecting with customers using shared interests is often the first step to opening communication.
Social selling is a journey. As with personal relationships, it takes time to build a trust with buyers. Trust is earned through continuously engaging with prospects and customers. Use your social media pages to like, share, and comment on their activity. Nurturing these relationships over through the buying journey and beyond can lead to greater closing rates along with increased re-sales down the line.