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The use of social media platforms by sales people to
generate leads and convert them into successful B2B conversions to generate
revenue is summed as the concept of social selling. It’s an approach that leverages
the use of various social media tools to filter targeted information based on
locations, business verticals & social media profiles. The process enables
sales professionals to post social updates, tweets & messages on the social
media domain from their personal accounts to build their credibility as industry
Today’s B2B social media landscape ensembles Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube. The approach for social selling across these
platforms requires individual attention in order to nurture successful B2B social
Facebook is regarded as a highly personal domain typically
used by friends & family and is considered highly intrusive to friend any
company executive. Thus it should be used to monitor what prospective company
leads are doing on their corporate Facebook page.
Twitter is an ideal platform that merges people &
ideas and the links associated with tweets to blogs & articles of common interest
are highly valuable to identify what company executives regard as important so
that an opinion is ideated prior to a formal professional approach.
LinkedIn is one of the most crucial platforms to know
about executives, influencers as well as initiate an introduction for a formal
one-on-one session. LinkedIn Groups is an ideal place to sync with professional
as well as the changing dynamics of industry developments and allows sales
professionals to learn what is being said about a company and competitors.
Google+ is one platform where you will come across people
who are not that active on other social media channels and is a social layer
that binds all of Google services together to offer a comprehensive insight
about professionals, companies & competitors.
YouTube offers the ideal platform that emphasizes the importance
of videos in marketing, support as well as testimonials. However, you won’t
come across company executives in YouTube just like Facebook, but yet it offers
a good insight of what companies are doing on their corporate YouTube profiles.
Social Selling Cycle
The cycle for B2B social selling starts with the monitoring
of prospective leads across these social media channels over a period of time
to listen, engage & connect with key executives who could be the decision-maker
Listening includes the process of analyzing tweets & social
updates that key executives are expressing to form an opinion of what he or she
is focused on so that insights & opportunities could be highlighted to
position a product or business proposal.
Engaging will initiate actions like a retweet or making a
tweet “favourite” as well as liking updates on LinkedIn. Doing so will trigger
an email to the prospects personal email address that he or she has been
mentioned or liked and introduces you as someone who is paying interest to what
are saying publicly. However do not over do retweets & like on every other
post to make your approach genuine and unobtrusive. Identify conversations from
the prospective leads based on #HashtagURLs
that they have used and try using the same in one of your updates or tweets so
that a connect is established.
Connecting will precede a period of reading, following,
liking & contributing social contents to establish your reputation as someone
who is knowledgeable about a business initiative he or she cared about and indicates
the ideal time to advance your lead with a LinkedIn invite. Follow up with a
message through LinkedIn suggesting the common ideas of interest and measure channels
to position your product or business proposal.
There are no shortcuts with the applicability of social
selling as a conversation initiator. The primary objective in its application
is to genuinely understand the executive’s interest and add value to the
discussion over a period of time. To boost your intentions in the use of social
selling, Forrester reports that “100% of decision makers use social media for
work purposes” and thus the probability of one or more of your prospective
leads using social media channels actively enhances the chances of B2B social
Statistically, global sales processes using social media show
a 10% increase in revenue and is regarded as an emerging channel to improve
sales team productivity. It also attributes a relationship formation between
the sales & marketing department by enabling discussion channels to create social
content that will be engaged by a prospective lead. Social selling creates an
online persona of sales professionals to be regarded as a trusted advisor by
sharing & discussing valuable social content to establish credibility. 90%
of CEOs don’t respond to cold emails or cold calls, thus the monitoring of
their social media updates and curating social content of their interest allows
the formation of social connections to trigger the possibilities of social
The Concept of Social Selling for B2B Sales