There is no doubt that with the advent of social media, and as its popularity takes hold across the globe, its use for commercial purposes is clear. Social media platforms also act as a means of providing information on products and services that are now standard practice for most businesses seeking to offer their products or services. The term “social selling” is now an established term of art that describes the commercial application via social media for a business pursuing clients via the web. Social selling is accomplished by human beings (think of SAs) who communicate about products or services to a group of listeners, followers, buyers, investors and the like.
Steven MacDonald explains it as follows, “Social selling is when sales people use social media to find and engage with new prospects. Sales people use social media to provide value to prospects by answering questions, responding to comments and by sharing content throughout the buying process – from awareness to consideration, until a prospect is ready to buy.”
Hootsuite describes social selling as, “an important new approach to selling that allows salespeople to laser-target their prospecting, establish rapport and trust through existing connections and networks, and possibly even ditch the dreaded practice of making cold calls.”
According to “Social Selling: A New B2B Imperative,” a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Hootsuite in May 2017, organizations see promise in formalizing their approach to social selling. Forrester surveyed 265 sales and marketing leaders for the study and found that “49 percent of B2B enterprises have developed a formal social selling program, and 28 percent are in the process of doing so.”
Hootsuite indicates that there are three core reasons why social selling is important:
Primary Benefits of Using Social Selling Tools
According to B2B Professionals Worldwide, July 2016
% of respondents
With prospects socially sharing so much information about their needs, wants, and pain points on their public profiles, even your first point of contact can be personalized, relevant, and helpful, rather than intrusive and cold. That leads to more meaningful ongoing prospect and client engagement, with 31 percent of B2B professionals saying that social selling tools allowed them to build deeper relationships with clients.Better yet, building a strong network through various social media channels allows you to seek out introductions to new sales prospects through existing mutual connections, creating an immediate sense of trust and rapport. That trust is an incredibly important resource for both clients and salespeople, with 87 percent of B2B buyers saying they would have a favorable impression of someone introduced through their professional network.With social sellers accessing all of these important advantages that give them the jump on their less socially minded colleagues, it’s no surprise that internal LinkedIn data shows sales professionals with a strong social selling index—a measure based on how well salespeople build their personal brand, focus on the right prospects, engage with relevant content, and build trusted relationships—have 45 percent more sales opportunities than others, and are 51 percent more likely to hit their sales quotas.
Ways in Which B2B Professionals Worldwide Use
Social Selling Tools, July 2016
% of respondents
And brands in just about every industry are embracing social selling tools, whether it’s Microsoft boosting productivity 38 percent by socially prospecting for leads for a new cloud computing offering, U.K. travel firm Corporate Traveller achieving £5.5 in new sales by using social selling to reach out to potential small and medium-sized business travel clients, or the Vancouver Canucks using social selling to help increase hockey ticket sales.