October 7, 2020

The Art of B2B Social Selling in 2021

by Sam Beck

Recently, at Renegade, we’ve (unsurprisingly) been noticing an increased demand for our social selling training services, so we wanted to offer a bit of guidance on the subject as it can be crucial for B2B sales teams nowadays.

What is social selling?

Social selling is the practice of sales teams using social media to start conversations with prospects, cultivate real relationships with them, and ultimately get some quality leads for your pipeline. This practice is fairly common, though it is often handled quite clunkily; you’ve probably experienced it on LinkedIn when someone sends you a message asking if you’d like to increase your demand gen by 300% within a month. Real subtle…

How can social selling help B2B sales teams?

Social selling is not going away, and it’s now more important than ever given the lack of events and the inefficacy of cold calls. Here are a few key stats to consider:

  • 75% of B2B buyers use social media to research vendors.
  • 90% of decision-makers never respond to cold outreach
  • 74% of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to add value/insight
  • 73% of salespeople who use social media as part of their sales process outperform their peers

How to use social selling to generate demand

We know social selling works. How do we implement it? Well, first you need to invest in retraining your sales team. The art of social selling is a new one, and best practices haven’t exactly become common knowledge. Here are a few tips to help B2B sales teams use social selling to attract quality leads:

  1. Don’t sell. Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive for a sales process, but it really isn’t. When you interact with prospects online, they don’t want to just hear you talk about how your product has a certain ROI. People want to do business with people, so prospect engagements should look like real conversations. Comment thoughtful responses to shared articles, congratulate them on milestones and ask how they’re doing—don’t just send a message saying “Hey, I’d love to chat about how I can save you money.”
  2. Schedule it in. B2B sales teams need to make time to engage with prospects on social selling. Schedule time for your sales staff to go through their prospect lists and look for engagement opportunities. This should be a regular thing; if your sales team isn’t regularly active on social, social selling doesn’t work.
  3. Get to know the tools of the trade. When we say social media here, we mostly mean LinkedIn. That isn’t a hard and fast rule, but in the B2B space, LinkedIn is usually the place to be. Sales teams should be well acquainted with tools like Navigator and PointDrive. These can help make your social selling efforts much easier when building prospect lists, sharing valuable content, and more.

Add social selling to your B2B sales team’s toolbelt

Hopefully, these tips can help you out. Learning social selling is an involved, at times arduous journey. It’ll require, at the very least, a considerable time investment—but it will pay off. Training your sales staff in social selling has shown to (surprise, surprise!) increase sales, and it should be in every B2B brand’s toolbelt. If you’d like to learn more about social selling during a downturn, check out part 3 of our B2B demand gen report. If you’ve got any questions about where to start with social sales or want to share any of your own social selling success stories, please reach out!