Picture this: you are getting ready to go on your lunch break and finally have some “you” time while eating your picnic for the day.
What is the first thing you do when you have that time to yourself?
Odds are that many people (even you) will go straight for their phone and open a social media app or type their favorite social media site into their browser to see what is happening out in the online world.
That world revolves around social media today, there is almost no denying it.
Millions upon millions of people are active within the social media world daily, with many more using it at least weekly.
While we think of a social media channel as a personal thing though, the value that businesses and salespeople can gain from it as a work tool might not be thought of as much but needs to be.
The fact of the matter is that businesses, and specifically every sales rep, should be using this wonderful tool of social media to find and reel in potential leads.
While these social media platforms have been relevant for a long while now, they have always been at the tips of the sales team’s fingers, even if we did not realize it.
The State of Social Selling
According to LinkedIn, 78% of salespeople involved in social selling outsell their peers who are not. I will repeat that, 78% of salespeople involved in social selling outsell their peers who are not.
That is such a staggering number that I should not have to emphasize the importance of social selling again. But I will.
In another study, this time done by International Data Corporation (IDC) and sponsored by LinkedIn, 75% of a B2B company’s buyers and 84% of executives use contacts and information from social media as part of their company’s buying process.
Pairing that with a study done by CEB, purchasers are about 57% done with the purchase process before they even reach out to a sales rep.
With those numbers, having a social media sales plan is essential to keep up as a seller today. If not, salespeople will likely get behind the curve of competitors and miss out on leads.
Now while the straight numbers pop out as a little stunning, the real trick is applying them to a sale in a practical way to help the number one goal of most companies: the bottom line.
A Manufacturer’s Social Selling Tips
Just get started
While getting to the point of making a huge impact on sales could take some time, getting started in social selling is easy, really.
The most important social media sites, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, specifically, are free to get started and easy to manage with a little bit of time dedicated to your social media program.
The low-risk nature of them being free and possibilities that are provided to salespeople and businesses can yield high rewards, making it a no brainer to at least get started.
Once a profile is created, the user is off and running into the world of social selling. Two of the biggest ways of making an impact on the effectiveness of social selling is creating a personal brand and becoming established as a thought leader. This fosters ways to start prospecting and creating a business relationship with those prospects.
First, branding. The art of branding all boils down to consistency and focus. Having the focus of what a potential customer wants to be seen as in the public eye combined with consistently showing that are the two biggest keys to branding.
Branding is often thought of in terms of an overall company but applying it on a person level is just as important.
The fact that branding is done by everyone in all aspects of their lives is a little undersold, with every action forming that brand.
Putting focus into how an individual comes across face-to-face, over the phone, etc. can make or break opinions about the individual, both in personal and professional aspects of lives.
The application of branding on a social media network is no different. No matter what brand a person is going for, it needs to be reflected in every single interaction online.
We’ve almost all seen a social network interaction that makes us cringe or look at the person differently than before, completely going against their brand that was in place.
Not being “on-brand” will force credibility to take a hit in the eyes of the consumer.
That credibility shown any social channel might also be known as becoming a thought leader. Thought leaders are those that are understood as being the front of the pack with their expertise.
As a salesperson, being able to establish oneself as a thought leader can do wonders for overall sales numbers and the bottom line.
In the study mentioned earlier by CEB, they found that 53% of customer loyalty is derived from the sales person providing unique insight or knowledge to others. In a social sense, this means providing unique content and having intelligent conversations about certain products in an industry.
Establishing a thought leadership with followers can be the biggest asset to a sales person utilizing social selling, as it makes the salesperson a trusted source of quality content and fosters trust from followers and leads.
That trust puts the salespeople into the ideal position of the social selling process, which is being in the right spot as a thought leader when a potential customer needs the product.
While getting into social selling and getting connected is up to you, the next time you log into your personal social media account, think about what social media can provide you, your company, and the bottom line for your sales cycle.
About Ben Nordman
Ben Nordman has worked within the professional marketing sphere for three years. Starting at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., he worked as a Sports Information Graduate Assistant, providing marketing content for the athletics’ department. Upon graduation with his master’s degree, Ben has worked at Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc. as a Marketing Specialist since August 2020.