When social leads to sales

<p><strong>There’s no denying the power that social media has as a marketing and brand building tool for business today. But what about social as a direct sales tool? Can it really help in the process of finding, managing and closing more business more quickly?</strong></p>
<p>When you look at the statistics, the definitive answer seems to be ‘yes’:</p>
<ul>
<li><strong>72%</strong> of buyers use social media to research before making a purchase</li>
<li><strong>81%</strong> are more likely to engage with a brand that has a strong, professional presence on social media</li>
<li><strong>87%</strong> of customers have a favourable impression of a salesperson who is introduced to them through their social network</li>
<li><strong>73%</strong> of business decision makers browsed existing discussions on social media to learn more about a topic</li>
<li><strong>43%</strong> connected directly with potential vendors on social media</li>
<li><strong>38%</strong> asked for suggestions / recommendations from users through sites such as LinkedIn</li>
<li><strong>It costs 75% less</strong> to generate leads via social media than any other channel</li>
</ul>
<p><span class="alignleft"><img id="__mcenew" src="/media/1261/social_sales_300x360.jpg" alt="" rel="1559" /></span>The average B2B opportunity involves 5.4 decision makers so social selling, where you can leverage extended networks to find multiple contact points, is becoming more effective than the traditional approach of a salesperson building a relationship with one decision maker.</p>
<p>As Simon Porter – IBM’s Vice President for Commercial Sales, Europe – points out in a recent blog article:</p>
<p><em>“While traditional selling involves reaching out to customers where you think they are or want them to be, if you get social selling right, you’re reaching people where they actually are, and you have them reaching out to you as well.”</em></p>
<p>And IBM can speak from personal experience on this subject, having succeeded in increasing their own sales by 400% over a single quarter, having adopted a <a href="http://www.socialsales.com/ibm-reports-a-400-increase-in-sales-during-b2b-pilot-program/">social sales programme</a> back in 2013. </p>
<p>You can <a href="http://linkis.com/businesspartnervoices.com/lR2Jg">read Simon Porter’s blog in full here</a>, but essentially, he identifies 10 key reasons why organisations need to integrate social into their sales strategy if they want to stay competitive in today’s digitally-driven world:</p>
<p> </p>
<ol>
<li><strong>Social has a proven, direct impact </strong>on finding opportunities and closing deals</li>
<li><strong>You can identify the same sales leads at a fraction of the cost</strong></li>
<li><strong>It’s a great opportunity to gain a competitive advantage, </strong>with a huge number of organisations still failing to engage in social selling</li>
<li><strong>Social reaches prospects earlier in their buying cycle </strong>than a traditional sales approach</li>
<li><strong>You get to make the first move </strong>– identifying a business problem, instead of selling a solution</li>
<li><strong>Leads will come to you</strong>. If you listen for the relevant buying signals and provide the right value in return, you don’t need to establish a large following or a big social presence</li>
<li><strong>Social offers infinite scalability</strong>, without the limitations of how many people you can call and how many leads you can track – making it efficient and incredibly lucrative</li>
<li><strong>You can build stronger relationships, far more quickly</strong> – exploring what prospects care about, both professionally and on a personal level</li>
<li><strong>Social accelerates the sales cycle and delivers a higher return on investment</strong></li>
<li><strong>There’s nowhere to hide. </strong>If you’re not an active social seller, then you’ll be judged by your lack of profile.<strong> </strong></li>
</ol>
<h2><strong>Where should you start?</strong></h2>
<p>In recent years, social networks have grown and evolved to provide valuable tools that can form a key part of your sales strategy.</p>
<p><strong>Use the following links to find out more about how key social media channels are enabling businesses today:</strong></p>
<h3><strong>Twitter</strong></h3>
<p><strong><img id="__mcenew" src="/media/1263/twitter-infographic_image.jpg" alt="" rel="1561" /></strong></p>
<p><em><a href="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-01-07-12TwitterTipstoHelpIncreaseYourConversionRatesInfographic.jpg" target="_blank">Check out this infographic for tips on how to maximise your Twitter conversion rates</a></em></p>
<p><a href="https://business.twitter.com/en/advertising/campaign-types/increase-twitter-followers.html" target="_blank">Find out how to build and grow your target audience on Twitter</a></p>
<h3><strong>LinkedIn</strong></h3>
<p><strong><img id="__mcenew" src="/media/1262/linkedin-infographic_image.jpg" alt="" rel="1560" /></strong></p>
<p><a href="https://content.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/sales-solutions/resources/images/infographics/8-steps-to-become-a-top-seller-infographic.jpg" target="_blank">View this infographic for tips on becoming a top seller through LinkedIn</a></p>
<p><a href="https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/how-to-guide-to-social-selling-ebook" target="_blank">Download the LinkedIn Guide to Social Selling to find out:</a></p>
<ul>
<li>How social changed the cold call</li>
<li>How to leverage your professional brand on social networks</li>
<li>Social selling success stories from enterprise companies</li>
<li>What the future of social selling holds for B2B companies</li>
</ul>
<h3>Use Social to stay ahead of the competition</h3>
<p>Social Media is undoubtedly a powerful sales and marketing tool in today’s digitally-enabled world. Get it right and you have a huge opportunity to steal a march on the competition. <strong>You can <a href="/social/social-media-top-trumps/" target="_blank">use this infographic from The IT Insider to explore the benefits and limitations of each leading social media channel as a business tool</a> </strong></p>
<p> </p>
<p>Sources:</p>
<p><a href="http://www.slideshare.net/Demandbase/2015-b2b-buyers-survey-report" target="_blank">DemandGen B2B Buyer Behaviour Survey Report 2015</a></p>
<p><a href="https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/business/sales-solutions/global/en_US/site/pdf/ebooks/getting-started-with-social-selling-on-linkedIn.pdf" target="_blank">Getting Started with Social Selling on LinkedIn</a></p>
<p>10 Reasons why Social Selling matters and 10 Tips to get started: Blog, May 2016</p>
<p> </p>