Over the last few years, there has been a shift in the business world. It used to be that you could run a few ad campaigns, start cold calling, hop on a plane, go golfing, have a couple drinks and close a six or seven figure deal.

Since then, the internet and technology as a whole has changed the way we sell. Prospects and leads have gotten much smarter and more skeptical of sales professionals and marketers. They are now able to research your business before you reach out to them and can point out what’s crap and what’s quality solely from the reviews they find online. They also have the power to impact your existing clients through the stories they share and the relationships they develop.

These changes have been taking place for over a decade. Over the last few years, there hasn’t been much development to help marketers and sales professionals truly excel in this new landscape. After lots of work, careful analysis and chatting with professionals, we’re excited to announce that social selling has finally arrived.

We’ve built a product that makes social selling real. It gives you the insight that you need to make the right decisions for your company and help your team work more effectively and efficiently. On top of that, it plays a key role in giving your team the tools they need to implement a social selling approach that combines big data, content marketing and social media to establish a sales process that actually works.

Social selling has already been shown to drive real results for organizations that embrace it. So organizations need to stop making excuses! We’ve talked about how important relationships are in business and even conducted research in which 98% of the top sales professionals agreed that relationships were the most important part of generating new business.

It’s time to stop making excuses as it relates to why you’re not using social selling as a part of your business strategy. Here are two studies that further push the fact that social selling is here to stay and is going to continue to shape the way marketing and sales are done as whole:

1. B2B Buyers Want Content Before The Conversation

The whole idea of sharing or providing content to B2B buyers before you contact them is relatively new. In the past, sales professionals and organizations tried to keep their information hidden so buyers interested in their services would have to talk to a rep to learn more. In today’s highly competitive market, it’s a disadvantage to not have content about your offering online.

In this study from IDG Enterprise, they asked B2B buyers how many pieces of content they typically review before speaking with a sales representative. The study shows that B2B buyers involved with major enterprise and IT products download an average of 8 pieces of content. The study also found that B2B buyers researching a specific solution typically requires 5 pieces of content before being ready to speak with a sales representative.

2. Your Buyers Are Now Prospecting YOU on Social Media

When Forrester Research investigated how B2B decision makers were using social media in North America and Europe, the results quickly confirmed how social media is changing everything. Here are just a few of the stats that reiterate how B2B decision makers are leveraging social media to influence their perceptions and business decisions:

  • 85% visit brand-agnostic communities or forums at least monthly, with 18% doing so primarily for business purposes, and another 63% for business and personal purposes;
  • 81% visit LinkedIn every month with 26% doing so primarily for business purposes and another 48% for mixed reasons;
  • 81% also visit Facebook at least monthly, but only 2% do so primarily for business purposes, as opposed to 42% who do so primarily for personal purposes;
  • 80% use vendor support forums or discussion forums on vendor or brand websites (for that specific vendor or brand), with 23% doing so primarily for business reasons.

The prospects and leads you’re trying to close are spending more and more time online than ever before. In fact, they’re spending time reversing their role as the buyer and empowering themselves in a way that is allowing them to prospect both you and the product. Buyers are now on the hunt for information about your business in communities, forums and on social networks.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to grow your business, these communities might be the right place to start. Identify what channels your target audience is spending time in, and look for forums where people in their industry share insight and knowledge. If you can identify these communities, you have the opportunity to make yourself a part of the conversation and influence what’s being said.

So there you have it, these stats show that not only is social selling changing the landscape of business but that it works. Still not sold? Check out our eBook on how the best sales professionals are using CRM and new technologies to drive results for their business.