Why More Sales Professionals Are Warming Up to Social Selling

Cold calling is slowly dying as a sales prospecting tool. Here’s how you can confidently replace it with social selling.

April 27, 2017

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At a time when credibility is paramount, making a cold call can immediately mark you as someone who is out of touch. And let’s be honest – how many sales professionals enjoy making cold calls? We know that for some sales pros, it’s a necessary evil. But its days are numbered. We’re not the only ones to sound the death knell.

The Cold Calling Era is Freezing Over

While it did the job for many years, cold calling is now viewed as an outdated tool for modern sales professionals. In fact, a 2016 survey of senior sales professionals found that 80% felt cold-calling effectiveness had declined. Another survey found that it takes 18 or more phone calls to connect with a prospect, and callback rates are below 1%. Plus, when it comes to account-based selling – which relies on building and nurturing strong relationships – impersonal cold calls are even more irrelevant.

When you’re trying to accomplish a task quickly and efficiently, you want to use the best possible tool for the job. In the B2B sales world, the cold-calling tool – like other conventional sales tactics – has been supplanted by far more effective ways of reaching and engaging prospective buyers. Here are three ways you can use social selling to put cold calls out to pasture with confidence.

Be a Welcomed Connection

A study by IBM found that cold calls are ineffective 97% of the time, and that 75% of B2B buyers use social media during the decision-making process. The implication is that by inserting yourself into social media channels, you can bypass cold calling to effectively connect with prospects. You do that through shared connections, whether it’s a common connection, a group, an interest, or anything else you and your prospect have in common. We’ve found that 87% of customers want to be introduced to vendors and salespeople through their network. When you and a buyer share a common LinkedIn network connection, you can ask for a warm introduction.

Call Upon Insights

To truly make that introduction pay off, bring value to the interaction. By researching the people you’re trying to engage and their company on LinkedIn, you can surface noteworthy information that helps you connect with context. Specifically, you can center your interaction on information and content that can help the buyer(s) make short work of their decision-making process. B2B buyers are 5x more likely to engage with a sales professional who provides new insights about their business, particularly the first sales rep to provide value.  

Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader

You can boost the likelihood of engaging and converting prospects by upping your professional profile. 90% of B2B buyers are more likely to engage with sales professionals who are viewed as thought leaders in their industry. The way to position yourself as a thought leader is by sharing and publishing relevant content on LinkedIn.

A LinkedIn survey of 6,000+ B2B buyers, marketers, and salespeople worldwide found that “buyers desire more expertise and consultation about the factors transforming their industries.” As buyers interact with you, your thoughts, and ideas, they begin trusting you as a reliable source. And that means your company is much more likely to make the short list. According to ITSMA, 75% of would-be buyers say thought leadership helps them determine which vendor to put on their short list.

It should come as no surprise that prospects are more receptive to warm, informed, and personalized introductions and interactions than to cold outreach. Build a robust social presence, stay authentic, and share valuable information and perspectives on social media. Soon you’ll be the envy of the entire sales team, effectively driving quality leads and opportunities without making a single cold call.

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