Over a glass of Chenin Blanc at the weekend, we discussed the nature of social selling and why B2B businesses really need to start utilising social channels as part of their marketing strategy. I personally don’t think it just boils down to marketing. It’s about business. And that’s clear when ‘social selling’ is becoming an essential part of the sales person’s tool kit.
Social selling is a fascinating phenomenon. With clear visible layers to the strategy, there’s broadcasting (AKA ‘noise’) right through to strategically handpicking individuals that fit your buyer profile to develop relationships with and nurture as part of a long term sales strategy. For me though, social selling should be developed further into a social strategy and this is why.
For years, probably since business started, referral has been the single biggest factor in creating sales in business. People trust the opinion of their friends and peers. That’s why it’s a critical factor for both complex sales, consultative sales and product sales too – both in the B2B world and with consumer marketing. That’s one of the reasons that social media and social networks become so powerful – it’s peer to peer.
Where I believe that social networking comes into its own is when it’s used strategically. It’s not just about broadcasting and hoping that your target client will see and read your message. You need to do much more than that.
For us, we specifically hand pick the people we want to work with. We actively target them after having identified them through LinkedIn based on our ideal company profile. We then review the management team, the organisational structure and the marketing department, carefully selecting the people we want to influence. From there we reach out with specific, targeted and direct messages through LinkedIn.
Where we are different though, is that we seek to find what they do in the real world and to physically network with them. For most, they’re not active on LinkedIn, but they do share the same groups and some activities. By placing yourself in those physical places, you can take your social strategy further and capitalise on richer relationships and more valuable sales. How do you do social selling?