Traditional outbound B2B sales process is fast becoming obsolete. But it has given rise to a digital revolution — social selling — that's here to stay. Now, you can connect with prospects, build genuine relationships and convert them, all using social media!
In the sales expert Jill Rowley’s words, '’Social selling is not just about selling, it's about providing value.’' And you won't believe the numbers – 78% of salespeople who use social media outperform their peers. It's a powerful tool that helps you reach a massive audience and seal those lucrative deals. And guess what? This isn't just a passing trend; it's a tried-and-true strategy that delivers real results!
Time to bid goodbye to cold calling and say hello to social selling. With B2B social selling, you can research, prospect, network, share educational content and answer questions to build genuine relationships with your prospects until they're ready to buy from your brand.
Want to know how?
By the end of this blog, you’d have learned how you can attract quality leads through your social media posts, win repeat customers and earn an army of loyal fans.
What is B2B social selling?
B2B social selling is a sales strategy that leverages social media to generate leads and nurture them along the sales funnel. But it's nothing like the cold emails that rarely fetch you any leads! This has a far better conversion rate since the focus is on building genuine connections and cultivating long-term relationships with your potential customers.
Salespeople use platforms like LinkedIn, X, formerly Twitter and Instagram. Their goal? To connect with prospects, form genuine relationships and earn their trust without the pushiness of a sales pitch.
Social selling is a tried-and-true strategy that goes beyond simply generating leads. With social selling, you can generate the right leads.
By harnessing the power of AI to gather and organize customer data, social selling takes a personalized approach in connecting with potential clients. This targeted strategy allows sales agents to engage with prospects who are genuinely interested in their brand’s products or services with thought-leadership content like blogs, videos and podcasts, driving organic sales opportunities.
But why is it crucial to build your B2B sales pipeline? Let's find out!
Why social selling is important to build your B2B sales pipeline
At the top of the sales funnel, B2B social selling enables sales reps to build authentic connections with prospects through social media platforms. By engaging prospects in genuine conversations and sharing valuable insights, they gain their trust and attention, moving those prospects to the next stage of the funnel.
Moving further down the funnel, social selling becomes super useful for nurturing leads. At this stage, sales reps can aim to maintain and deepen the connections they have already established with the prospects at the top of the funnel. Through consistent interactions, reps can stay top of mind with these prospects, providing relevant content (industry insights, case studies and success stories) and addressing inquiries. This way, when a prospect is ready to buy, they think of your business first. And guess what? With AI and automation, sales reps can focus on the right leads, making the whole sales process super efficient, thereby boosting conversion rates.
But that's not all!
Social selling transforms salespeople into thought leaders in their industry. By sharing thought-provoking content and on the back of their expertise, they become trusted advisors to prospects, impacting their buying decision.
Benefits of social selling for B2B companies
If you're not totally sold on social selling yet, here are five rock-solid reasons why you should make it a part of your sales strategy.
Building trust: Social selling empowers B2B companies to build real connections, not just sales pitches. By engaging with prospects on social media, you learn what they need and show your expertise through valuable content and personalized interactions. This builds trust and turns you into their go-to advisor, not just another salesperson.
Targeted lead generation: With social selling you have a lead-generation expert on your team! Thanks to AI-powered tools and data analytics, businesses can identify and focus on the most promising leads in the social media jungle – saving time and boosting conversions.
Effective lead nurturing: Businesses can keep potential customers engaged and informed throughout their buying journey. Sales reps can share valuable content like industry insights, case studies and success stories, building credibility and trust. By being helpful and responsive, you can create a positive brand perception, making prospects more likely to choose you when it's time to make a purchase.
Establishing thought leadership: Social selling lets B2B companies flaunt their expertise and thought leadership, by sharing informative content, such as blog posts, articles and webinars. Doing so makes your company a trusted authority in the eyes of your potential customers. It also sets you apart from competitors and boosts your brand reputation.
Efficient sales process: Social selling is like a sales shortcut that helps sales reps zero in on interested prospects, skipping the time-consuming cold calling and generic outreach. By focusing on leads who've engaged on social media, the team gets higher conversion rates and more time to build strong relationships and eventually seal the deal with promising prospects.
Now that you have learned about the advantages of social selling, it’s time to whip up a dash of engagement, a sprinkle of valuable content and a dollop of authenticity – to craft a winning B2B social selling strategy!
6 steps to building a strong B2B social selling strategy
Building a strong B2B social selling strategy requires a thoughtful approach and a well-crafted plan. Here are some essential steps to get you started:
Step 1: Select the right platforms
Get to know your customers really well! Find out which social media platforms they often frequent. LinkedIn is popular among the B2B audience, but you might also find them on X, formerly Twitter or other industry-specific forums and groups. Look for places where they're active and sharing valuable stuff. Being on the right platform helps you connect with the right people, making your efforts worthwhile.
Step 2: Optimize your profile
Think of your social media profile as your online identity – it's what people see first! Make it appealing by creating a catchy headline that shows off what you're great at and how you can solve your prospects’ pain points. In the '’About'’ section, keep it short and sweet while highlighting your special skills and experience. Feature your best content, such as blog posts, articles and webinars, to showcase your industry knowledge and thought leadership skills.
Step 3: Create a content strategy
When planning your content strategy, be sure to tailor it for your audience. Think of five topics or questions your potential customers might have and create helpful content to answer them. Also, jot down the five main concerns they often raise, and create content that is valuable, relevant and more importantly addresses those problems. Your content should also challenge your audience.
Read More: How to create a content plan?
Step 4: Engage your audience with relevant content
Social selling is all about making real connections, not just adding contacts. On LinkedIn and other platforms, connect with potential buyers from your target market. Write a short, friendly note when you send the request, showing you're genuinely interested in connecting. Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find and engage with people who recently posted or talked about your industry.
Don’t forget to engage with content that your audience cares about. Leave thoughtful comments, share your own experiences and tag others who might be interested. Be consistent and helpful in your interactions.
Step 5: Social listening and learning
To know what's happening in your industry, follow industry influencers, key customers and prospects on social media. You'll get valuable insights into their interests and behaviors, helping you engage with them personally and offer timely solutions. Also, tidy up your feed by unfollowing irrelevant accounts and stay up to date on prospects' activities to find meaningful engagement opportunities.
And here's what takes the grunt work out of social listening – an AI-powered social listening tool! They help you keep an ear out for specific individuals, interactions and conversations that matter to your social selling game. You'll be able to spot opportunities to connect and engage with your prospects, influencers and even your competition. Moreover, it helps you understand your audience's pain points and interests, enabling you to tailor your approach accordingly.
Step 6: Demonstrate value and build trust
Want to level up your social selling? First, keep an eye on the numbers! Measure important metrics that influence social selling like lead generation, engagement, conversion rates and revenue. It's like keeping score in a game – you want to show off those wins!
And speaking of wins, share stories of how social selling has helped you make meaningful connections, generated sales opportunities and helped your brand grow. Sharing success stories highlights the real impact of social selling on your brand.
Oh, and here's a tip – don't get pushy with your sales pitches. Instead, be a friendly expert who genuinely wants to help. Chat, answer questions and share useful tips without being salesy. Be patient and focus on building trust with potential buyers. Once they trust you, that's when the magic happens.
Now you know how to craft a powerful B2B social selling strategy! You've got your game plan in place, it's finally time to take the field and score some winning points. But hold on, how do you know if your strategy is hitting the mark? Keep reading to know how.
3 ways to measure B2B social selling effectiveness
Ready to track your progress and fine-tune your tactics, to ensure your social selling efforts are positively impacting your business?
Here are three tried and tested ways of knowing if social selling is helping you excel at your job.
Lead generation metrics
First up, take a look at the leads you've been generating through social media. Pay attention to both the quantity and quality – how many leads are coming in, and how well they match your ideal customer. Also don’t forget to keep tabs on how many of those leads turn into actual customers. This information will give you the lowdown on how your social selling efforts are fueling your sales pipeline.
Observe how your audience is reacting to your social posts. Stay on top of those likes, comments, shares and click-through rates (CTR). When the engagement on your posts shoot up, it means your content is striking a chord with them. Use this valuable information to fine-tune your social selling strategy and deliver even more of what they love.
Keep a close eye on how social selling is affecting your company's revenue. Track those sales opportunities and deals that you can directly link back to your social media interactions. When you can show that social selling is directly bringing in revenue, the management will see the value of a sound social selling strategy and double down on it.
Real-Life B2B social selling examples
Now that you've learned the how you can gauge the impact of your social selling efforts, let’s check out some real-life examples.
IBM's thought leadership blog
IBM has established a strong thought leadership presence through its blog, featuring articles, case studies and white papers on tech advancements, industry trends and best practices. And you know what? Companies that prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their marketing efforts.
IBM takes it up a notch by sharing these blog posts on its social media channels, effectively reaching and engaging its target audience. Content marketing generates 3x more leads than traditional outbound marketing, and social media plays a crucial role in distributing that content. Through social sharing and interactions, IBM expands its reach and establishes meaningful connections with potential customers.
Microsoft's social listening for personalization
Let's talk about how Microsoft has taken social selling to a whole new level!
Using social listening, it monitors what customers are saying about its products and what they really want. One of its teams focuses on the hybrid work initiative, where it listens to social conversations to understand what customers truly want, making content creation a breeze. It has uncovered valuable insights, like realizing that "hybrid work" is synonymous with "flexible work" and becoming the dominant term users want to see.
The team also leverages social listening for real-time feedback on emerging products, benefiting marketing and product teams. This approach also helps build strong customer relationships and enhances their experience.
In a world where authentic connections drive success, B2B social selling is a sales tactic that you simply cannot afford to overlook. By building trust and leveraging AI-powered tools for personalization, you can unlock doors to bigger deals, shorter sales cycles and endless referrals. And with the right technology partner such as Sprinklr, watch your success story unfold with your every interaction on social media.