Should Social Media Be Used as a Sales Channel? – The Ongoing Debate
Today, business buyers are savvy and turn to search, social networking and peer recommendations rather than company sales teams when searching for business solutions. To build revenue, the question still remains: should B2B social media be used as a sales channel?
If sales teams are to capitalize on prospects seeking product information, they need to connect with the prospect where they live online. A great way for sales to accomplish this is to use B2B social media as a sales channel and utilize Sales 2.0 best practices for optimal conversions. The following steps will help your B2B sales team utilize social selling:
- Connect first – Using social media with sales involves one important factor – connect first before selling. If the only message sent from your social network is selling, few, if any buyers will want to connect with you. Instead of selling, learn to connect and build rapports with prospects. Understand needs, issues and focus on listening instead of shouting sales pitches across the social divide.
- Provide benefits – After building a social rapport and understanding the prospect’s needs, provide valuable resources via targeted content. Share content including: B2B blog posts, white papers, articles, podcasts and other types of content pertaining to their needs. Establish yourself as the go-to resource for answers to questions prospects in your industry search for.
- Trust and sales – Becoming the go-to resource for your industry will earn trust and this leads to improve lead generation. By first listening and answering questions without hard selling, sales can integrate B2B social media strategies with non-direct selling techniques. When lead scoring classifies a prospect as sales-ready, move them into the funnel.
Although immediate sales are possible in B2B social media, it’s important to nurture prospects with the right, non-sales oriented message first. This can seem counterintuitive to traditional sales professionals, but it’s essential – engage and build trust before you start selling in this channel and you’ll reap the rewards.