Business buyers are socially-savvy. They use Twitter for personal branding, and LinkedIn to network. They’re not afraid to try new tools, and they expect the same of the businesses they buy from. Is your sales team up to the task?

Social media can be a fantastic tool in your sales team’s arsenal. The right mix of people, platforms, data and processes will empower your team to meet the needs of their prospects, close more sales, and contribute to a faster-growing bottom line.

Here are four ways that social can improve your sales funnel:

1. Provide insights about your buyers

Who are the people behind the decision to buy from you? What are their likes, dislikes, guilty pleasures and favorite brands?
Knowing exactly who your sales team is talking to is critical to closing a sale, and social media offers up reams of freely accessible data that you can tap into. Public tweets, pictures posted to Instagram, recent posts on LinkedIn… all of this can be gathered, plugged into a CRM platform, and used to build complete pictures of the individual decision-makers in your pipeline. This can then be used to qualify leads and build more robust profiles of the most promising prospects.

2. Enable multiple touch points

If your sales team makes a phone call, that’s great. But if they can connect to that same prospect on Twitter, via a well-timed whitepaper offer and on the phone, that’s even better. Social media offers up multiple additional touch points for your sales team to use to build a relationship with your customers. Whether that relationship takes the form of simple brand awareness via some well-positioned content, or one-to-one conversations is up to your own sales strategy, but social media provides the channels you need to put yourself top-of-mind with your prospects.

3. Help you solve their problems

Ultimately, your customer doesn’t want to hear about all the bells and whistles your product has to offer. They want to hear how your product will make their life better. By tapping into social data about your target customers, you can learn about their pain points and where your product fits into their daily lives. You can then use this information to work up better marketing messages, sales pitches, and scripts for your team.

4. Nurture leads

Not every prospect will become a customer. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not worth engaging with over time and nurturing until they’re ready to make a purchase. Using social channels, your sales team can keep tabs on promising leads, and reach out periodically to check in. You can also develop drip campaigns to provide them with great content, related to their needs expressed via social media. Or, simply monitor leads and wait for opportunities to engage them on the topics they are interested in.

Social media is reshaping the B2B sales space in a way that brings customers closer to businesses, and sales teams closer to their prospects. It provides channels for genuine relationship-building and data-gathering. So if your sales team has been ignoring social, now is the time to jump in with both eyes open.