Why Sales Leaders Are Falling In Love With Social Selling

Social Selling Love

Have you ever thought about using social media to make the first contact to a prospect or lead rather than email? I know I didn’t until I was chatting with a colleague who mentioned he was seeing a 50% better response rate.

While I don’t have any formal research on that concept, I’m quickly realizing that the way we do business is changing faster than I may have originally thought. I was watching a video from Jill Konrath on the Rise Of Social Selling just a few weeks ago and something she said stood out to me. She said:

“Sellers who’ve embraced social media are creating new opportunities that totally bypass traditional sales channels… It’s about good selling – using all the tools that are available to you today.” – @jillkonrath, The Rise of Social Selling

The idea that sales leaders who are embracing social media are bypassing those who are sticking to traditional is supported by research. I have to reiterate this because there are still non-believers. In the comments on Jills video alone, you’ll find comments from naysayers who express that they still believe that “social media is a fad.” Sales professionals around the world who are adopting social media as a tool are finding significant results. Here are a few stats to prove it:

  • B2B marketers who use Twitter generate twice as many leads as those that do not (Inside View)
  • Marketers spend an average of 4-6 hours a week on social media (Social Media Examiner)
  • 74% of B2B marketing companies use Twitter to distribute content (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 55% of B2B survey respondents search for information on social media (MediaBistro)
  • 86% of IT buyers use social media in their purchase decision process (IDG Connect)

If you’re still not sold on the power of social media, allow me to give you a few practical tips on how you can use social selling to drive results. These are strategies I’ve used to close prospects and strategies the best sales professionals are using to close deals as you read this:

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Social Media Prospecting

Prospecting is a sales process by which a sales representative determines if a sales lead is a genuine prospect or business opportunity. In the past, sales professionals would do prospecting by speaking with the prospect – today; all you need is access to Google or LinkedIn.

A quick search on social media can help a sales professional identify a prospects role in a company, how long they’ve been there and how much power they have in regards to the decision making process. Social media can help save sales leaders time and effort by identifying who they should focus on and stop them from wasting their time on leads that don’t have any impact on the deal.

Relationship Development

Sales is built on trust, and trust is built on strong relationships. In fact, when we conducted a study earlier this year, we found that 98% of sales professionals believe that relationships play the biggest role in their ability to generate new business. As such, it’s increasingly important for you to look for opportunities and channels that can help you strengthen relationships with existing clients and potential prospects.

Here at Introhive, we’ve built a platform that helps you measure the strength of relationships within your organization. In doing so, you can be more strategic in identifying which accounts need more love and which potential prospects have strong ties with your organization. Through a combination of big data and social media, our software will help you unlock the power of relationships.

Opportunity Identification

At the entry to the sales pipeline, marketers and sales professionals are identifying true business opportunities through social media. Inbound-marketing firm HubSpot surveyed 3,300 executives and marketers and found that social-networking sites now contribute 14 percent of marketers’ total leads and yield 13 percent more than average leads in conversions to sales.

Any sales leader knows that their pipeline and funnel is their second most important asset after their existing relationships. Social selling gives organizations and sales professionals an opportunity to identify opportunities within their network they may have missed otherwise.

Introhive allows sales leaders to understand the relationship strength of their team with different organizations and identify who on their team is the right person to reach out or make an introduction. It’s through the combination of social media and big data that social selling is finally being made real.

In a nutshell, sales leaders are falling in love with social selling because it works. It’s an opportunity for organizations and sales professionals alike to achieve their goals and drive success. We’ve read the reports, we’ve seen the studies and we’re watching our clients achieve results day after day.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and start selling!

Comments: 4

  • Matt H says:

    While social media can be useful for prospecting, it is far less useful for building relationships. Phones will always be the most effective way for first contact because of the human aspect that gets lost in electronic methods.

    • Ross Simmonds says:

      Good point Matt – I’d say face to face will always be the most effective. Phone is definitely great as well for building the relationship but you can never replace face to face interaction.

  • Consultant says:

    Great article, Ross. I am sorry Matt, I have to graciously disagree with you. I meet 100% of my clients first through LinkedIn. These clients are from all over the world now; India, Dubai, Singapore, Germany, South Africa, Pakistan and of course the U.S. LinkedIn allows you to begin building relationships with those you are interested in connecting with. It expedites the relationship building process because they go to your page and learn about you before ever connecting. I have a true interest in knowing who I am reaching out to and what they are all about before ever doing it. I have over a 95% success rate of individuals accepting my connection request. From there it leads to appreciative inquiry and that’s where the dialog begins. From there I have over an 80% success rate of setting up a phone call or a face-to-face GoToMeeting. I prefer GoToMeeting because it’s so much more personal. Here’s the best part, Matt. The relationship has already begun to take shape. That first call or face to face is so much more powerful because your not trying to feel each other out. I don’t believe cold calling a client is anywhere near as effective as LinkedIn. I have done both and I will stick with LinkedIn any day of the week.

    Best to you,

  • Director of Marketing says:

    Matt, I’m surprised by the “far less useful for building relationships” comment too. I’ve been successfully building relationships with partners and potential clients over both LinkedIn and Twitter. One of my best B2B networking relationships came from Twitter… I think it really comes down to how we as individuals are using social.

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