Social selling consists in leveraging social media during the sales process.

This happens in both directions: using social media to collect information about a company, a contact, a decision maker; and/or using social media to push content to them.

This process is often used in a B2B environment, where, according to statistics, 57% of all purchasing decisions are made before a customer engages with a supplier. 

Social selling, then, would seem to have a bright future ahead of it.

Leveraging social media to collect information

The starting point of a social selling strategy is for sales teams to utilise their own network.

The most most-commonly used social media for this are LinkedIn and Twitter.

Collecting data: on whom? On what?

Social networks are a goldmine of information about companies, of course. However, they also, and most importantly, provide information about individuals.

The official Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages can be used to garner information on the health of a company, its latest deals, etc.

You can then use this information to adapt your proposal. In a social selling approach, do not overlook the individuals.

After all, a business relationship is first and foremost a relationship between individuals. Therefore, sales representatives must learn what they can about the decision makers with whom they are dealing. This will enable them to add the human touch which, for certain transactions, can make all the difference.

CRM solution connected to social media

A social selling approach requires dedicating a significant amount of time to looking for potential contacts on social networks. This can be tedious and time-consuming for sales teams.

This is precisely why it is important that your CRM solution be directly linked to social networks.

However, you need to make sure that it takes account of each user’s individual access rights. Remember the ever-present GPDR

Posting/promoting via social media

This form of social selling is quite similar to inbound marketing. It consists in sharing information on your company on social media, or showcasing your expertise on a specific topic to become a reference in the field and so to generate a natural flow of leads.

Your sales teams can use this to push your white papers and the posts produced by your marketing teams, for example. The key questions then, are; what content; to what contacts; on which social media?

Here too, a CRM solution can come in very handy. It can help you share information and promote a collaborative approach. If you do not want your Community Managers to work in isolation, you have to give them the means to disseminate information and ensure your sales, marketing and customer service teams can access this information so that, collectively, all the players can make the most of social selling.

What are the key ingredients to a social selling strategy? For what ROI?

Now that we have clearly defined social selling, let’s look at a practical example. How does one set up a social selling strategy? If you want to deploy a social selling strategy, then you will need to take time to train your sales representatives.

They must learn to build a relationship with prospects, find what to say and the best moment to say it. Given that customer knowledge is the foundation of a quality relationship, this also implies teaching them to use social data.

One way to push them in that direction could be to set them digital objectives. Some social selling experts believe it is key to make this a habit an integral part of their daily routine. Some even recommend that part of their salary be measured against their achievement on digital objectives.

Which social network for which message?

Facebook : more suited to the private domain.

  • In a B2B context, for communicating about the company’s life and boosting recruitment.
  • In a B2C context, for bringing together communities and promoting your company.

Linkedin : the world’s largest professional network.

  • In a B2B context, for generating leads.  A precursor to social selling.

Twitter : the social network for real time, for immediacy.

  • In B2B and B2C contexts, for extending the reach of the company by engaging with influencers and opinion leaders.

How should the ROI of social selling be measured?

An optimal use of social networks will help you measure your ROI with ease. The most relevant performance indicators to be analysed include:

  • social media visibility (impressions, interactions, engagement, etc.)
  • quotation requests by social prospects via your website
  • sales appointment which have been scheduled. These, coupled with your CRM software, will give you a complete overview of the commercial pipeline.

A little advice for even greater efficiency: combine your social selling strategy with your Customer Relationship Management software. This will give you all the useful data grouped together in one single tool.

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