Social Selling: What it is and How to Use it

May 30, 2014
Social Selling: What it is and How to Use it

This is a guest post by Al Berrios, originally published on his blog #makesocialeasy. Al is a social media strategist and consultant who helps companies make social media marketing easy, productive, and profitable.

Lots of talk out there about using social media (especially LinkedIn) to sell B2B – also called “social selling.” I’m here to tell you it can be done. But first, let’s clear up some misconceptions.

First, you don’t use social to sell.

You use social to generate a lead. The rest is still done the old fashioned way and if you don’t have those resources in place, then that lead you generated via social won’t close. And by the way, if you don’t understand what a lead looks like for you – where it comes from, how much it costs to get, how much it’s worth – then I hate to break it to you, you’re not really selling.

Second, not all social media sites are effective for all types of business.

If you don’t know why you’re using a particular site, don’t use it, even if someone on your team (or some enthusiastic fan) put you on it. For example, Twitter has so many apps tied into it that it’s used by overworked social marketers who want an easier way to do social, not because it actually works to drive leads or sales for B2B. What this means is that you should focus on a single social site that makes the most sense for the way you want to sell your products/services. And when you’ve mastered that site, leverage it to drive audiences to another social site, if/when you’ve figured out what you want to use that other site for.

Third, your customers are on social.

You’ve probably assumed that your customers aren’t on social media because their companies block social, or their own websites are so 1990s, or because you simply don’t use social and can’t imagine anyone you know using it either. That’s not what the numbers say. Looks like despite what your smart ad agency, loyal senior team, or trusted network says, everyone’s on social. It’s just that they’re not accessing it the way you think. And what this means is that you can’t continue to use the same techniques (cold calling, anyone?) that you’ve always used to continue to drive sales growth. You need to upgrade and integrate, like your customers have.

Finally, social has inverted the sales funnel.

Instead of starting with a broad pool of prospective customers who’ve never heard of you and funneling them down through the various stages of purchase, social turns the funnel upside down. (Remember: the stages of the sales process look different for different companies, so you might want to work with a professional sales consultant to help you understand what your funnel looks like rather than trying to make everything fit into the Carnegie method). You’re actually starting with a narrow group of passionate customers who know everything about you and want to sing your praises to their friends – or give you the feedback you need to make your product better – if only you gave them some guidance. That means it’s your job to use social media to empower and enable this small group to tell their friends and grow that group into a larger and larger pool of pre-qualified leads.

Want to get leads, convert them, and improve your sales using social? Contact me.

Image source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2014 presentation via The Atlantic

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