The rise of the self-guided buyer journey has led to unprecedented challenges for B2B tech sellers. Fed up with being ‘sold to’ and hearing outdated pitches, technology buyers are simply ignoring salespeople. Gartner reports that, “It takes 18 dials or more to connect with a prospect over the phone and call-back rates are below 1%.” Email response rates are not much better, with only 23.9% of sales emails being opened. The modern tech buyer is disengaged with traditional sales tactics, preferring to research new products online at their own pace, and using social networks to connect with peers and industry experts for additional support. Forrester suggests to sellers, “to gain and sustain their buyer’s attention, it is essential to meet customers and prospects where they digitally reside.” Reflecting the need to adjust their outbound tactics, technology sales teams are increasingly integrating social selling as an approach to engage and build relationships with potential buyers.
What is Social Selling?
Social selling is the process of researching, connecting, and interacting with prospects and customers on social media networks (HubSpot). Effective social selling takes time. It’s more than just liking or reacting to prospects’ posts. To be successful, salespeople must deliver value to prospects by sharing relevant, educational content and answering prospect questions with thoughtful and insightful intent. By being authentic in their engagement, salespeople can build credibility and create trusted relationships with prospects, guiding them to the next stage of the buyer journey.
What are the Benefits of Social Selling to B2B Tech Sellers?
In addition to meeting modern tech buyers where they digitally reside, social selling can help B2B tech sellers:
- Achieve targeted lead generation: Social platforms used for social selling have data analytic tools available to help salespeople target specific prospects that meet their criteria in terms of industry, job title, and function.
- Shorten the sale cycle: By focusing on the prospects who are already engaging on social media about problems they face or solutions they’re interested in, salespeople can fast-forward past the laborious cold-calling stage of the sales process.
- Become an advisor to prospects: Salespeople can build meaningful connections with prospects by continually sharing relevant, valuable content that speaks to their challenges and interests. This can help move them beyond the role of salespeople to become trusted advisors.
- Generate higher quality leads: By taking the time to genuinely learn about the specific challenges prospects are facing, salespeople can create personalized and authentic interactions that will help them uncover higher quality leads who are a good fit for their solutions.
- Increase brand visibility: Companies using social selling can expand their brand visibility and awareness to a wider audience. There are billons of users on social media platforms around the world, giving sales teams the ability to significantly grow their network.
Tips for Social Selling Beginners
To be successful at attracting the best-fit prospects with inbound marketing and using ABM to provide them with an amazing purchase experience, you need to have a solid plan.
- Know your target audience: To build genuine connections that have a greater likelihood of converting, you need to identify the prospects that are a good match for your solutions.
- Represent your brand as having a solution to a challenge: Tech buyers want to buy from salespeople who deliver value in the form of insights and assistance.
- Focus on engaging – not selling: It is important to use social platforms to connect and build relationships with prospects and not as a new channel to just copy and paste your old sales pitches.
- Be patient: It takes time to build a trusted relationship with your newly acquired social media contacts to the point where they will convert.
- Understand the social media platform your decision-makers are using: Find the right social media platform to help you research, identify, and engage your B2B tech audience.