Business to Business (B2B) Social Selling

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B2B Social Selling vs Social Media Marketing
Edward StylesEdward Styles
November 6, 2021
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Sales professionals confuse B2B social selling with social media marketing, and it's easy to see why. Contextual participation practically shuns direct product sales, which is a good thing. No one (in their right mind) wants to be bombarded by unsolicited outreach on Facebook, Twitter, and especially the niche business-centric platform LinkedIn.

Social Media Marketing vs. Social Selling

Woman engaging with social media through her mobile

Consequently, teams adapted, and accepted the fact that they couldn't just make a sale - they needed to produce relevant, informative content touching every step along the sales cycle. This created an ongoing issue...

That is...arrested development.

Creating content is just one gear in the transmission, and B2B companies became stuck in that gear. How do you respond in ways that lead to revenue generation without coming off as spammy, desperate, or inauthentic? The answer to this question explains the variable difference between social selling and social media marketing. One creates brand awareness, the other is about guiding the lead towards the sale.

If you like getting the attention of decision-makers and gatekeepers, and closing deals using a time-tested marketing strategy then stay tuned for more.

5 Statistics That Prove Why B2B Social Selling is so Effective

Construct a buyer persona and you'll find that, because of reduced face-to-face time and complexities related to digital access, your potential customer's biggest challenge is making the right decision at the right time. They rely heavily on their trusted network, and social media expedites this vital process.

The three most sought after outcomes of your B2B outreach, particularly on social media platforms look something like this:

  1. Relationship building
  2. Referrals
  3. Recommendations

Your interests overlap where B2B social selling exists, and here are 5 reasons why.

1) 75% of B2B Buyers (And Almost 90% of C-Level Execs) Use Social For Purchasing Decisions

Senior-level executive navigating through social media

An immediate benefit stands out right away; the senior, influential decision-maker is, more than likely, very active on social media. This bears repeating, but in another way: Senior-level buyers aggregate across LinkedIn for purchase support through relative value assessments and peer-to-peer consultation.

But how can senior-level executives have time to peruse the profiles of sales teams and small businesses? An eye-opening social buying study reveals that the ability to cross-reference with industry professionals of many backgrounds with confidence is the most preferred way of correlating information.

Active buyers respond to recommendations from the network. Those who aren't on social would quickly join if they knew more of their peers were already there. The cold outreach is effectively dead.

2) 92% of B2B buyers Want to Engage With Thought Leaders Who Are Also Sales Professionals

Posting regularly and engagement using content-enrichment features aid positioning tactics. There are many ways to become a thought leader:

  • Optimizing profiles with keywords
  • Join niche-specific groups
  • Lead think-tank meetings
  • Push awards and accolades
  • Become a blog, video, podcast guest

Almost half of those same buyers will analyze between 3 to 5 pieces of your content before reaching out.

LinkedIn Publishing analytics highlight an attraction and affinity for long-form posts, which are usually more than 1,000 words. Also, neutral posts invite more shares, likes, and comments versus posts with polarizing messages.

3) 31% of B2B professionals Claim Social Selling Improves Relationship Quality

You can build upon established trust and rapport by showcasing deep knowledge about the business at hand. Take a top-down approach, as in you go from discussing generalities initially to hammering out the specifics.

A financial company looking to model risks in new ways and adopt fresh financial technology methodologies needs help integrating its workflow. As a software provider, for instance, projecting returns from implementation demonstrates expertise. This is just one of many bespoke solutions strategies afforded to B2B social buyers when they partner with knowledgeable sellers.

4) Half of B2B Website Social Media Traffic Comes Straight From LinkedIn

LinkedIn Splashscreen

It's inevitable that any discussion regarding B2B selling goes back to LinkedIn, and it's been mentioned many times throughout this article for fairly obvious reasons. The famed site centralizes B2B ecosystems; at its core, it is the largest professional business network on the internet and across devices.

Due to economies of scale, growth rate, and functionality, LinkedIn enjoys ever-increasing importance within a company's digital marketing toolset. Compare lead generation analytics on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, and LinkedIn is nearly 300% more effective.

Premium marketing solutions are offered to utilize advanced targeting mechanics so sellers can locate prospects according to seniority, position, salary, education, and much more. Native, organic post impressions tend to be more liberal than on other applications as well.

5) Social Sellers Are More Than 50% More Likely to Meet Quotas

Growth Chart

The bottom line is the bottom line in this case. Gross profit isn't the only sales metric, but it's the one that matters.

Why?

Because hitting quotas means higher commissions and increased bonuses. And the data says social sellers are dominating the sales structure.

Digital marketing thought leader Hubspot did the research and found social prospectors tend to have more deals in the pipeline at any given time; they spend much less time researching and reducing turnover.

Engagement Etiquette

Try assimilating the following framework into your B2B social selling system:

  • Reverse engineer your profiles (according to successful profiles)
  • Pursue meaningful interactions with warm leads
  • Follow target profiles closely, study them
  • Be liberal with the accomplishments of others
  • Enjoy the process

Conclusion

Business-to-business social selling works so well on a contextual platform like LinkedIn because it efficiently and intelligently mimics the foundational principles of marketing. Sales challenges faced by entrepreneurs can be resolved on the back of long-term social selling.

Anyone who's interested in the depth of B2B social selling statistics can do their own research to further drive the overall point home. Tailored social selling tactics for emarketing companies is a specialty at E-Marketing Associates.

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