The increasing digitalisation of our society not only presents enormous opportunities, it also poses major challenges, especially for B2B companies. More and more sales managers are seeing a significant decline in the effectiveness of traditional marketing. Conventional measures such as outbound campaigns, trade fair visits or PR campaigns are losing their promotional effect and they no longer lead to product sales as they once did.
A study by the TOPO Sales Development Practice has confirmed that nowadays an average of 18 telephone calls is necessary to close a deal. In addition, only 24 percent of all outgoing mailings are opened by the recipient, meaning that the conversion rate drops significantly. Instead, personal recommendations really affect the buying process. B2B companies urgently need to revise their sales strategy over the coming years if they want to remain competitive.
Why Potential Customers Shun Classic Salespeople
Today, many businesses still receive multiple advertising messages and calls every day that are completely irrelevant to them. In most cases, the benefits of using an advantageous offer do not outweigh the enormous investigative effort that is required. It is for this reason that many potential B2B customers generally ignore incoming requests and can therefore no longer be reached with classical outbound marketing.
Another reason for the emerging scepticism is the dubious approach that many sellers adopt. As a rule, they tend to put their own sales agenda above the interests of the customer. They list the benefits of the advertised product and neglect to solve the customer’s actual problem.
How Can Social Selling Help?
Social Selling enables you to use the many and varied possibilities of social media for your sales. Your sales team contacts potential customers and builds valuable customer relationships. These are steadily strengthened by answering emerging questions and the continuous exchange of knowledge. This way, you keep in contact with interested people. Although Social Selling is often associated with Social Media Marketing, these are two completely different approaches.
Social Media Marketing aims to reach as many people as possible with high-quality content in order to increase general awareness of the brand or product. The content is thus created in such a way that the readers share the content very often. In contrast, Social Selling publishes more focused content, which solves a specific problem of the interested person and promotes a direct conversation with the reader in question. It is therefore not aimed at masses of people, but rather at individuals. This difference is difficult to recognise because both strategies create valuable content.
What Advantages Does this Sales Strategy Afford?
Many companies are using Social Selling effectively to achieve their quota and revenue targets. According to the B2B Buyer's Report, 53 percent of the decision-makers surveyed said that information from social media networks plays a key role in choosing the right products, tools and technologies. 72 percent of all businesses achieved a direct increase in sales by using high-quality content.
At the same time, 82 percent of the buyers surveyed said they usually opt for a provider that could give them new insights into their own business. This is where Social Selling starts. In addition, it is characterised by a minimal time investment. If your employees invest just five percent of their daily working hours in social media, this will result in an attractive return on investment within a year.
What Should B2B Providers Bear in Mind with Social Selling?
The quality of the content provided plays a decisive role in ensuring the success of this sales strategy. It must be fully aligned with your sales funnel and must be addressed to customers at every stage of the sales cycle. According to a study conducted by the American Content Marketing Institute, creating regular, high-quality content is currently the biggest challenge facing many companies. However, this is a prerequisite for your success in Social Selling.
With the right content, you will benefit from every point of the customer journey. Provide detailed information on your website or in a blog article to attract attention. Provide checklists, how-to guides and infographics available to download in order to gain useful contact data. Webinars and customer references serve as supportive sales triggers in the last step. In this phase, you can also meaningfully use interviews, instructions or informative talks. Finally, references to trial versions and demos or seminar invitations provide the necessary incentives to buy.
However, do not neglect to continuously evaluate all the measures you have taken. If you create all content according to a well-defined content strategy, you will be able to reliably measure their success at every stage of the customer journey. Through purposeful Social Selling, you can achieve a significant increase in your traffic, incoming requests or product referrals. In addition, the costs per lead are also reduced and there is a significant reduction in sales cycles. If implemented correctly, this sales strategy will increase your company’s success in the long term – with manageable investments in your Social Selling programme.