There are two main factors driving the trend towards social selling. The first thing is that marketing and advertising just don’t wor k like they used to. And technology, including social media is driving that. People arent’ reading newspapers anymore. Few read magazines. People aren’t watching cable. Send an email and you get blocked. Send a letter and it gets dropped in the blue box unread. At the same time, hundreds of millions of people are talking to each other using social media. That’s where they get their news. That’s what they do for entertainment. That’s where they get their information.
I took this graph from a report by the Aberdeen group. It shows the results that those companies that ‘get’ social for selling. Look at the boost in productivity. Read the slide.
How are they getting these excellent results? Mostly its by doing these three things. Social collaboration…they are using social media inside the organizaton to share knowledge and best practices. They are developing the skills and aptitudes of using social media tools and technologies inside the organization and reaping the collaborative benefits. They are using social media to learn about their customers. They understand who the influencers are in customer organizations, they follow them and learn by these people share. What’s important to them. Where do they share it? On Which platforms? With whom? Who is in their inner circle? People share tons of information, both personal and professional online. The key is to collect and understand this data to use it for your advantage. And they participate. That doesn’t mean tweeting buy my stuff, buy my stuff all day long. But it means answering question, providing tools and information of value and generally paying it forward. The traditional dynamic of sales doesn’t change online. People want to do business with people they know, people they like and who are their friends. Successful social sellers use social media to make friends.
These are the four main social selling activities. Use social to expand lead generation…the viral capacity of social media makes it easier to find prospects through several degrees of connection. Getting sales staff the skills and knowledge they need is key. Give them the training they need and support sharing of knowledge and best practices. Using social media for customer support has so many benefits. You can keep your customers satisfied, Deepening loyalty and trust, reach their friends and followers and avoid social media disasters. And as I mentioned in the earlier slide, you can make use of the vast quantities of data that is available online. There are hundreds of free and paid for tools that can help you wrap your arms around all these numbers and make sense of them to inform your sales, marketing and communications strategies.
These are the four main processes that successful social sellers have in place. Make sure you find and understand the key influencers in procurement. Implement a content marketing program that provides value to these key influencers. Make sure people are empowered to react quickly when opportunities arise online . Follow the news of the day. Be aware when someone gets promoted or changes jobs. Make sure you can quickly insert yourself into conversations that relevant to your own sales agenda. And finally, and probably the most important…and most neglected process. Turning a social conversation into a sales conversation. It’s a fine art and a delicate line to tread. But it’s crucial. You have to set up a way to take interactions to the next level…from social to sales. It might be direct contact. I might be asking them to subscribe to a website, if might be something else. It’s different for every organization.
But this is how IBM did it when they launched their public cloud services last year. You can see they followed the best practices we discussed earlier. They used social media to listen to their market and their customers. They invested in producing valuable content that answered the questions they were hearing online and then, crucially, they were very focused on taking the conversation from social to sales. For IBM that meant getting social media contacts onto the product web pages managed by each sales executive. That’s where conversations turned from general what if and which list discussions to detailed discussion of IBM products services and solutions.
The results speak for themselves. Almost one in five sales leads for the Public Cloud comes directly from social media. And even more importantly, on in ten of these leads ended with the person clicking through to the ecommerce webpages where sales are transacted. In summary, one out of every ten sales results from IBM’s social media activity.
That’s it for the information I wanted to share with you today. I’m happy to share any questions.
Social media to boost sales for b2b
Social Selling B2B
February 18, 2014
Founded in 1995
Employs 32 people in Toronto & Ottawa
Insight, creativity, connection
• 20 years in PR
• Social media specialist since 2006
• Former newspaper columnist & active
• Vice president of content marketing
• IABC Ottawa, United Way Ottawa
• Married, 2 kids, 1 grandkid
Why social selling?
• People are tuning out traditional advertising and
• Customers and prospects are using social
media all the time (fish where the fish are).
What do successful social sellers do?
• Social collaboration
– Internal use of social media to share knowledge
– Learning about customers; what they share, who
– Providing value, not sales messages
How do they do it?
Expand lead generation through social media
Provide training to sales staff members
Implement customer support via social
Use data (analytics) to support marketing &
Effective social sales processes
• Identification of influencers
• Support sales team with compelling social
• Rapid response planning & implementation
• Turning likes into leads
IBM Public Cloud: From social to sales
• Key strategy: Listen and respond
– Prospect questions, complaints and pain points
• Key strategy: Publish valuable content
– Research and develop content that responds to
questions and issues raised online
• Key Strategy: From social to sales
– Sales professionals drive prospects towards IBM
web pages for sales conversations
IBM Public Cloud results
• 19% of sales leads originate from social media
• 11% of these leads clicked through to
ecommerce web pages