What is social selling and why it should matter to you

What is social selling and why it should matter to you

What’s the purpose of social selling?

Social selling gives brands stability, strengthens your personal network, and lets you create meaningful connections.

What is social selling?

Definition: Social selling is a way for teams to connect with prospects and provide them with value through social media platforms.

Why social selling?

90% of decision-makers never answer a cold call, but 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions.

According to IBM, when a lead is generated through social selling or employee advocacy, that lead is 7x more likely to close compared to other lead gen tactics.

Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels.

How to start defining your social selling strategy

To define your social selling strategy, think in terms of objectives and key results (OKRs). This will help you to focus your strategy early on and track whether it’s actually working.

What are some of the most common objectives for a social selling program?

  • Build brand awareness
  • Drive inbound traffic
  • Generate leads
  • Nurture leads and shorten sales cycles
  • Engage with key communities for your product, service, or business
  • Connect with partners

You may want to achieve all of these objectives, but your strategy will be more effective in the short and long term if you only focus on one or two. Choose what you think will best support your strategic business initiatives over the next 6-12 months.

That covers the O (objective), now let’s look at the KR’s (key results).

Imagine that you chose to generate leads as your only objective for the next quarter. What key results could you attach to that?

  • Connect with 20 new suspects per month or more.
  • Have four conversations or more per month.
  • Close one or more sales per month from a lead generated from social.

Clearly defining your objective and the results that demonstrate you’re achieving that objective will help you track the success and ROI of any strategy you choose to invest in.

Who should participate in social selling for your company?

The execution of your social selling program and the employees who participate in it will look different for every organization. But, there are two factors that largely determine it:

  1. Your overall objective
  2. Your team size and structure

For example, a SaaS company that's trying to build brand awareness and increase the number of free users on that platform may have its entire team doing social selling. This is what we see companies like Drift doing.

On the other hand, a specialized medical device manufacturing firm that’s trying to generate leads may only have the C suite and sales staff participate in social selling. This is what we see companies like Medtronic doing.

Look at your objective and your team, and use common sense. Ask yourself, can this group of employees meaningfully contribute to the objective? Also, will they willingly participate and understand it as part of the job? Your answers to these questions will help you decide who to involve.

What type of foundation do you need to support your social selling strategy?

For your social selling program to succeed, you need a few foundational elements.

  • A well-written professional LinkedIn profile.
  • A network of connections who will contribute to your overall objective.
  • A content to maintain a regular and active presence.
  • A system for turning online engagement into offline relationships.
  • A method for tracking key results.

Without these elements, it will be very difficult for your program to succeed. While this may mean some investment, it can be done more quickly than you’d expect. You just need the right guidance.

How to get started

Starting a social selling program at your company will require a few important conversations and decisions. Ideally, you should schedule 30 minutes to an hour with your internal stakeholders and marketing leader (whether this is a VP or director of marketing, or a CEO/who’s still in the marketing seat).

Your goal for this conversation should be to discuss and decide on the following:

  1. What are our strategic business initiatives?
  2. Can we create a social selling OKR that would support that strategic business initiative?
  3. What is our organization willing to invest to achieve that OKR?
  4. What is the minimum ROI needed for this investment to be viable?

Once decisions on those questions are made, you can start to assess what it will take to get your social selling program up and running from a tactical standpoint.

A worksheet to support you

To facilitate your conversation, we’ve put together a worksheet to help you get started. It covers the four key questions your team needs to discuss before it can move forward. This worksheet allows you to accurately capture the output of that discussion and make realistic calculations. If at any point you have questions or would like to go through this worksheet with your team, you can reach out to me directly: Alex@contentreactor.io.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you find the worksheet useful!