Social selling is changing the way we do business. It’s more then simply a trend; it’s the way of the future.
Furthermore, social selling is completely flipping our sales strategies and traditional approaches inside out creating a huge shift in terms of generating new sales, corporate customer relationships, reputation management, and customer intelligence.
Those who have embraced social selling are creating new opportunities that completely bypass traditional approaches.
These four stats could make you rethink your approach to sales and energize you to start social selling today:
1. Conversion rates for B2B online leads are their highest in January and February
Conversion rates are highest at the beginning of the year in part because companies tend to renew their budgets and have access to new funds. The cycle then begins to slow and eventually starts to drop off drastically in June due to summer vacations and again in December as the fiscal year comes to an end.
This means that we really only have three to four strong months of converting customers. The challenge is that we all share those months and are competing with the same leads for the same business. This knowledge gives organizations an advantage when developing their sales strategy. It helps inform a strategy that recognizes the importance of integrating content marketing and relationship building for most of the year so that when that four-month window opens, your customers will have you at top of mind when they’re ready to spend.
2. 72% of buyers planning to purchase a business product begin their research with a Google search
Would your company appear in the search results?
It’s not enough for marketers and sales to coexist, they need to work together. Integrating content marketing with your social selling strategy is the key to success in today’s sales environment. Marketing and sales are two peas in a pod and in order for one to succeed; both need to be working toward the same goals with shared metrics. Sales needs marketing to provide quality content that is both informative and relevant to customers and prospects. And marketers need sales to nurture customer relationship and move prospects along the sales funnel.
We know that people prefer content that is short (under five pages) and informative. That’s all. Marketers should to dive deep into customer’s needs and wants and provide content that meets their customers’ expectations.
3. The 45–54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic on both Facebook and Google+
This is a big shift from the mindset of most that these channels are ‘just for kids’. The demographics of the most popular social networking sites are beginning to skew to the ages of many of your clients and prospects.
This creates new opportunities for marketers to learn more about prospective customers and introduces new channels for sales professionals to connect with them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should abandon the networks you’re already using, such as LinkedIn, it means that you should start embracing some of the new channels, as well.
Facebook, as an example, is a great tool to strengthen business relationships because of the personal connection it allows between you and your “friends”.
In addition, when you’re going to do business with someone, it’s natural to want to learn more about them, sometimes even before you meet them. It’s one thing to see their professional experience on LinkedIn, and it’s another to see what they post publicly on Facebook—which offers more personal insights.
Connecting with clients on Facebook can help you get to know them and learn how to build a better bond with them. Give it a try!
4. 98% of the top sales professionals say relationships are the most important part of generating new business
When we did a survey of hundreds of the top sales people in North America, it wasn’t a surprise when they pointed to relationships as the most important aspect of generating new business. It’s the age-old saying that people buy from people they like and trust.
Relationships not only help companies retain existing customers, but relationships also generate referrals that lead to new business. A successful selling relationship is personal, professional, creates value and builds trust.
Having a strong relationship with your customers and clients can, in itself, be a direct path to new business. Establish trust and credibility with prospects by sharing content that makes their life easier, connect with them on social media and engage around topics that are of interest to them. Help them solve a problem or give them free advice. It’s these qualities that make a company trustworthy and a sales professional likable.
In short, social selling is about using all the tools we have available to make stronger connections, learn more about our market, build better relationships, and most importantly – drive sales! Consider these stats and start thinking about how you can put social selling to work for you.
What’s really holding you back from rewriting your sales strategy to include social selling?