We know B2B decision makers are using social media to inform their buying decisions.

In fact, a recent study suggests that 91% of B2B buyers are active and involved in social media, while 75% are significantly influenced by social content when forming their buying decisions (source). But—as B2B marketers and sales professionals—we have a lot to learn about social selling.  Case in point:

  • 72% of sales professionals feel that they are not proficient with social selling (source)
  • 69% of sales professionals are self-taught and have no active social selling training program in place (source)
  • 30% of companies say their social selling training needs ‘a complete overhaul’ (source)

If you identify with any of the statistics above, keep reading. We’ve compiled our top tips and best practices for selling to the social-savvy buyer.

What Is Social Selling?

Social selling is a strategy in which sales professionals use social media to find and connect with potential buyers. The success of social selling relies on a rep’s ability to earn the trust of an online community and establish themselves as an industry expert.

Social selling often takes more time and effort than other sales strategies. But here’s the good news, once you learn to incorporate social media into your sales process—it can really pay off. Check it out:

  • 78% of salespeople using social media outperform their peers (source).
  • Social sellers realize a 66% greater quota attainment than those using traditional prospecting techniques (source).
  • 61% of organizations engaged in social selling report a positive impact on revenue growth (source).

4 Tips For Selling To The Social Savvy Buyer

1. Monitor online review sites.

74% of today’s B2B buyers conduct more than half their research online before making a purchase (source). In fact, most buyers are already 57% through the buyer’s journey before even speaking to a sales rep (source). This means, by the time you get a potential buyer on the phone, they already know the good—and bad—about your product.  Stay one step ahead by regularly checking your online reviews.

According to DemandGen Report, here are the top B2B review sites:

  • G2 Crowd: Offers online reviews on B2B marketing services as well as business software.
  • GetApp: Allows users to search for industry topics as well as specific products.
  • IT Central Station: Described as a “Yelp or TripAdvisor for enterprise technology.”
  • TechnologyAdvice: Allows users to perform side-by-side comparisons of solutions within a particular category.
  • Trustpilot: A community where users can interact with one another regarding particular solutions they use.
  • TrustRadius: Authenticates each reviewer and validates every review through its research team prior to publishing.

Fortunately, some of these sites allow you to respond to or even control negative reviews. In cases where you can’t, work with your marketing team to put together a library of content that speaks to common complaints or issues. That way, you’re armed and ready to respond to prospects who may already be influenced by online reviews.

Even better than trying to control negative reviews, offer an incentive to customers who leave positive reviews of your product online.

2. Implement a social listening strategy.

As highlighted in our previous point, it’s important to hear what people are saying about your company. This concept extends beyond review sites to social channels. Enter, social listening.

For those who aren’t familiar, social listening involves monitoring social media sites to understand what people are saying about your brand and industry. To get started, invest in a social media management tool, track your competitor’s profiles, and monitor branded hashtags.

Keep a library of pre-written responses to use when you come across a complaint or issue.

Check out our recent blog post for a more comprehensive guide to social listening.

3. Adopt an “everyone’s in sales” mentality.

With the rise of social media, the phrase, “Everyone’s in sales,” has never been truer. Whether you’re in sales or marketing, you should be leveraging the power of your own social networks to increase brand awareness and educate buyers.

With tools like Oktopost and Gaggleamp, it’s never been easier to make social sharing a company-wide initiative. Draft a post, and with the click of a button you can share it across every employee’s LinkedIn profile—with permission of course.

If you don’t have budget for social sharing tools, you should still develop an employee social media guide and offer incentives to employees who make an effort to share company content.

4. Be authentic and offer value.

The best way to sell to the social-savvy buyer is to skip the sales pitch and the scripted posts. Use your own voice to share high-quality resources that offer real value to your network.  Not sure what this means? Before posting, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will my network care about this?
  • Will this help readers in any way?
  • Does this solve a common problem?
  • Did anyone express interest in this topic?
  • Is the sole purpose of this post to sell something?
  • Would I be interested in this post if someone else shared it?

Remember, not everyone you reach on social media is ready to buy. Be sensitive to this and share content that speaks to people at every phase of the buyer’s cycle.

Contact ZoomInfo today to increase sales productivity and reach more buyers.

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About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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