As digital disruption has changed the way marketers and buyers operate, in the same way salespeople are now starting to evolve and adapt in different ways, creating value and relationships through online channels. Social Selling has become a buzzword among salespeople, especially for those who are active on LinkedIn and Twitter.
I’ve learned the hard way how important it is to create value for the person you want to connect with upfront, before asking anything of them.
“Thanks for thinking of me, but I'm not looking for anything new at the moment.”
This is the LinkedIn "auto-message" you don’t want to see, and it’s the result of poor relationship building. It isn’t enough if you favourite a couple of tweets or even exchange comments on a post. It takes more than that. You have to be able to create real value for them, giving them something that they didn’t even think of asking.
That being said, there are many social sellers who really know how to do it and have been able to leverage social channels to build relationships, make better sales and measure the whole process. According to LinkedIn Sales Solutions’ report, social sellers get better results than salespeople using more conventional methods. They create 45% more opportunities than their peers with a lower Social Selling Index (SSI) and are 51% more likely to reach their quota. On top of that 78% of social sellers outperform peers who don’t use social media.
I reached out to some of my connections, who are very familiar with Social Selling and its tactics. I asked them to give their thoughts on what social selling will look like in 2016.
Quotes from social selling top experts
Timothy Hughes, Social Selling Pioneer / 2nd in Global List of Social Sellers
"My view is that in the last few years there has been very few changes as to the view and outlook of Social Selling. Many of the articles you see are pretty much the same. 2016 will see a step change.
"Social Selling is not all about messing about on LinkedIn; it is about generating leads and revenue."
My blog, socialsellinglounge.com details how people are using Social to generate leads, of course. But it also details how people are using Social to sell. Using social to support sales progression, using social to shorten sales cycles and using social to close deals. 2016 is when Social Selling moves out of Marketing and into Sales.”
Jack Kosakowski, Regional Sales Manager, Act-On-Software / Social Selling Evangelist
“Sales organizations that understand the “We” not “Me” mentality will shift to value selling to stay alive in 2016. Infusing social media into the traditional sales process is going to become a common practice with these buyer centric organizations. New channels allow for more conversations…"
"Those who can start to keep the conversation alive will win in 2016!"
Gabe Villamizar , Social Selling Director, Hirevue
“In 2016, Social Selling is going to be widely adopted by sales professionals worldwide. What this means is that social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn and others will be used by B2B sales reps in their sales process to identify, listen and engage with their buyers to accelerate the sales process and increase revenue like never before.”
Getting real with social selling
These quotes clearly show what is happening: Social Selling is becoming about generating leads and revenue; real KPIs can be measured. Digital sales tactics will be fused with traditional sales process already seen throughout the sales world. Salespeople who can’t keep up with the digital transformation and utilize it will be in trouble.
Social Sellers are using more and more tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, but also other simple yet effective tools that enhance marketing efforts, like Leadfeeder and Pure Chat. With these tools salespeople get better quality leads by uncovering website visitors who are already showing an interest. It’s easy to take a hot lead from there and start your Social Selling approach.
So gear up and be at the forefront of digital sales in 2016!