Improve Lead Nurturing with Social Selling
December 6, 2013
In B2B sales, lead nurturing is a process that's used to reduce lead time, which can normally take up to a year to close. New companies often find that their leads are a bit reluctant to buy upfront and want some time to decide. During this time, sales professionals launch a lead nurturing strategy that includes emailing the lead important industry-related news, special offers and promotions and anything else that highlights the company's knowledge of the industry. This, of course, improves the lead's trust in the business and cuts lead time down significantly. According to Social Media Today, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales and ready leads at a 33% lower cost.
Although the current system of lead nurturing is somewhat effective, there is one concern that sales professionals share, and that's knowing whether a buyer has actually seen the emails. If the buyer receives dozens of emails daily, he may never spot this email, so the lead time will continue. Social selling solves this problem by offering sales professionals higher visibility and the opportunity to engage directly with their buyers via LinkedIn. A recent buyer preference study commissioned by IBM revealed that over 1/3 of B2B buyers use social media to engage vendors and learn about products; 75% of these respondents said they would use social media for future purchases. This makes social selling an undeniably useful tool in lead nurturing and driving sales.
Improved Lead Quality and Brand Visibility
There are two benefits B2B businesses can leverage from implementing social selling: better brand visibility and improved lead nurturing.
- Better Brand Visibility - LinkedIn provides an intuitive search feature that allows businesses to search for leads by location, title and even industry. From here, businesses can connect with one another and begin a dialogue through the platform. B2B sales professionals can also sign up as 'Social Citizens,' allowing them the opportunity to tackle some of the questions posed by potential buyers. This improves brand visibility and authority, so the buyer is more likely to take the business seriously upon first contact.
- Improved Lead Nurturing - Marketo describes Lead Nurturing as the key driver moving leads through the sales funnel. In a traditional lead nurturing program, sales professionals email buyers important information about their industry or services. However, there is no real way of telling whether the buyer has viewed the email. With social selling, sales professionals can post this same information on their page or as an answer to a buyer's question. Businesses are more likely to see these posts since they aren't crammed into a spam folder.
LinkedIn's social selling model seamlessly bridges the gap between B2B companies and their buyers. Buyers can leverage products and services by actively seeking companies who can solve their problems, and sellers can find these buyers by using smart search tools and social networking. This boosts revenue, reduces lead time and provides both parties with the solutions they need.