B2B Social Selling in 2019 – Social “Selling” vs. Social “Engagement”
Read Time: 5 Minutes
We may have tricked you into reading this post based on the title social “selling” in 2019. The thing is, Sales reps who leverage social selling are 79% more likely to attain their quota than reps who don’t. So we’re not going to tell you social selling is out. Because it isn’t. However, the way we use social selling in the sales process is evolving. Like everything else in the sales process, it’s about engaging with buyers in a non-intrusive and valuable way.
Let’s back up for about 2-minutes and breakdown social selling, as you may not have been thinking of it until today, and then we’ll breakdown 3 changes you can make immediately to shift your mindset from social selling to social engagement t in order to connect with buyers and close more deals.
What is Social Selling?
Definition: Social selling is a lead generation technique that uses social media to find and interact with prospects.
Social media isn’t another place to cold call or send an uninvited intro email. It’s a 4-way street of communication where buyers talk to each other, voice opinions, share information, and where Sales Leaders can enter the conversation without looking like an outcast and asking for value before giving value.
“The golden rule of selling is just as important via social; always provide value before you ask for value.” – Rich Stone, VP of Sales, West
Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to interact with potential buyers, the exchange is pretty similar to the following:
Seems simple enough, right? Unfortunately, even with a staggering statistic like Sales reps who leverage social selling are 79% more likely to attain their quota than reps who don’t, 93% of sales executives have not received any formal training on social selling. This most likely accounts for the confusion in what social selling actually is and its nuances over the years that lead us to more of a social engagement strategy versus the example above.
What is Sales Social Engagement?
“Social selling is an old school way to think…you should not be focused on selling on social anything but yourself and your views. Salespeople – I know this goes against the fiber of your being, no CTA, but this channel is different.” – Jake Dunlap, CEO Skaled Consulting on LinkedIn
We’re not suggesting you become a LinkedIn social media influencer by posting content regularly and that’s it. There is still more work to be done.
What may seem like a radical view really is not when you break it down. Take this other definition of social selling for instance:
“Social selling is the process of developing, nurturing, and leveraging relationships online to sell products or services…” – Sales for Life
By taking a social engagement approach you can still develop, nurture, and leverage relationships on social media—even more so. But with an engagement oriented approach it becomes more about building relationships and interacting with your audience and less about hard promotions of products and services.
Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to interact with potential buyers, the exchange of social engagement looks more or less like this:
3 Changes to Up-Level Your Social Selling Strategy to a Social Engagement Strategy
1. Automate everything you can
Putting time on your calendar everyday to engage on social media, build your network, and create content is a good place to start. In reality, however, some days and some weeks, we’re just too busy to spend 30-60 minutes a day on LinkedIn. But you can always spend 15 minutes.
The bulk of the work will be ideating and creating quality and valuable content and then actually posting it. It may work better with your busy schedule to use a social media scheduling platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, Zoho Social, or Gain. Unfortunately, these platforms no longer have free versions for individuals, but the cost is nominal in comparison to the pay-off. In automating the publication of your content, the 15 minutes you spend on social media a day can be dedicated to actually interacting with followers and prospects.
Saleshacker also has a great list of social selling tools to up-level your social engagement game outside of just automation.
2. Build a network with a personal professional brand
Your company is not your brand, and if your page has the exact same information as your company’s page, then you’re not adding value. You’re just restating someone else’s sale.
Your page is a place to be a thought-leader, guru, or data geek. A real person that other people can interact with. And we’re serious about taking a stance and building your network. 98% of sales reps with more than 5,000 LinkedIn connections meet or surpass their quota.
3. Engage, Engage, Engage
Interact, share, link, give advice, and then slide into the DMs. 90% of decision makers never answer a cold call, but 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions.
However, this doesn’t mean these people make these decisions from the many direct messages filling up their LinkedIn inbox discussing products they’re not interested in. They are looking to social media for product presence and product reviews. Social proof in a lot of ways. Your presence on LinkedIn and knowledge of what they’re looking for puts you in the perfect position to give them advice on what they need (hint: now you talk about your product and services).
No one really cares if a company page likes one of their posts or comments on their interesting idea. The person will automatically assume this company wants something from them. But a real person that genuinely engages with them on social media and gives them praise and advice will always be welcome.
78% of social sellers with long term-term training in place hit their revenue goals versus those without formalized training (only 38%). Skaled Consulting changes the way organizations engage today’s buyer. We align sales and marketing with modern technology and processes that drive sustainable results. It just takes 40 seconds to discover how to optimize your business.