Social Selling That Actually Works: How Influencers Create More Interactions
Create content for your social selling strategy that actually gets results. Reach influencers with educational content and finally be heard.
March 8, 2016
Social selling has undeniably changed B2B sales—for the better. Social selling has grown up over the past decade, from feeble pokes and Twitter chest thumping, to include online seminars, ebooks, AMAs, and a wealth of helpful, informative content from innovators, influencers, and globally recognized brands.
The days of neglecting social interactions in your B2B sales cycle are over.
A recent CEB study of more than 1,400 B2B buyers showed that 57% of purchasing decisions are made before any sales team interactions. For the first time in history, more than half of B2B transactions happen without a sales team.
This same study revealed that 59% of B2B buyers would rather not interact with a sales representative at all. Ever. Your business can’t survive on that ever-shrinking slice of the pie.
Don’t panic. The answer to this paradigm shift is simple—create more sales interactions.
Increased interactions equals more sales and higher ROI on your social media accounts, but only if those interactions engage your customers and entice them into this new stage in the sales funnel.
Here are three immediate ways to transform your social selling strategy to create more interactions with motivated prospects.
1. Quality Creates Quantity
Generating thousands of impressions should never be your goal. Making the sale is your goal. If your social selling content and interactions don’t address your target market, all the impressions in the world won’t matter.
Ask yourself one simple question before you post, share, like, or tweet a single thing: is this something my target customer wants to know?
This one filter will reduce the amount of work your sales and marketing teams need to dedicate to social interactions—and distilling your efforts to serve a select slice of your industry will make you a hub of information. That’s exactly where you have to be to thrive in today’s social selling ecosystem.
2. Education is King
A recent SiriusDecisions study categorically stated that:
“The highest level of reported buyer/seller interaction—for all buying scenarios—occurred during the education phase of the buyer’s journey.”
Buyers crave relevant information. This is fantastic news for your sales team, because the education stage of the sales funnel occurs earlier than ever before.
What does that mean, exactly?
Social sales teams that provide actionable educational material can interject in the early formative stage of the purchasing decision, something that’s becoming increasingly difficult—and increasingly important—to do.
3. Influencers Need You Too
There’s one thing that no one talks about in the tooth and nail struggle to increase your social selling clout: it’s lonely at the top.
Influencers crave quality content. Even top-level thought leaders appreciate input from unlikely sources—as long as it’s genuinely helpful. No one’s ever sneered at a well-worded, topical tweet pointing them to helpful information that they need. But this type of contact takes finesse.
Once you’ve participated enough in a community to recognize when an influencer in your industry is missing a crucial piece of information that you have—or simply asks that community for input—it’s not the time to pitch or hard sell.
Repeat that to yourself before you send them heavily branded content with your integrated sales solutions. Influencers don’t want to be sold to. They want to be helped. And helping them helps you.
There’s no force multiplier like earning the amplification of an influencer in your market. None. Once you become a trusted source of information to influencers, the heavy lifting is over. This type of influencer-focused content should always inform your social selling strategy because it’s the most relevant content to increase your overall interactions with motivated prospects. Period.
On average over 5 buyers are involved in every B2B purchasing decision, and once you include reviews and industry leaders, that number quickly swells to 10 or more people influencing a single purchase. That’s a lot of sway. Now imagine those people spreading positive claims about your product. Sounds pretty great, right?
Social Selling That Actually Sells
It sounds obvious, but your social selling strategy should be targeted at increasing sales interactions—high quality interactions. If you don’t increase relevant interactions, you won’t increase sales.
There’s a reason that SAP increased their sales pipeline by 40% when their sales team implemented LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator.
Businesses have changed the way they buy. Change the way you sell.
Teach your sales team to target prospects at every stage in the buyer’s journey and get ready for the new world of social selling.