The Long Road: B2B Sales and Social Selling

By: Serena Smith is Director of Business Development for Quikstone Capital Solutions

According to a study by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Linkedin, only 5% of B2B buyers are in the market for your products and services at any time.

If that fact wasn’t discouraging enough, here’s another sobering thought. No matter how valuable your product or service is, some B2B sales can take years. The challenge involves getting multiple people with different agendas to agree on something. Recent research by Considered Content found that 78% of marketers agree it’s now more difficult than ever to get consensus from buyers on sales. Closing a deal is not helped by the fact that more than half (55%) of buyers are now considering a larger number of vendors for each purchase.

With more discerning prospects and an increasingly competitive market, new leads are harder to come by and need much more effort to nurture.

Build the Right Content
Since B2B sales are fundamentally a long game, how does your brand rise to the top when the “not-right-nows” finally enter the market?

According to Demand Gen’s 2021 B2B Buyers Survey, 80% of respondents indicated that a vendor’s marketing content significantly impacted their buying decisions. What’s more, 65% of respondents said they chose a vendor due to content that demonstrated:

  • Strong knowledge of the business landscape, pain points, and their solution
  • A mix of content tailored to each stage of the decision-making process (55%) and
  • Content that was easy to consume (54%)

When sellers have a keen understanding of the content that most resonates with buyers, they can optimize the content they share with prospects based on what has been proven most effective.

Find the Right Platform
With over 4 billion users spending about two and a half hours a day utilizing its platforms, social media has become a robust lead source for sellers. What best describes social selling? More than anything, social selling is about building relationships. 

As a result, major brands have integrated social selling into their sales processes. It’s not fast or easy. Finding your target takes learning which platform they frequent (Facebook or Linkedin) and what type of content resonates with them (product videos or educational posts).

According to the 2022 Financial Services Selling Study by Hearsay, overall, Linkedin was the channel most favored by publishers, with 48% of all posts, and Facebook followed with 40%. The popularity of these platforms makes sense because financial services professionals and firms have had social selling programs running on these channels for the longest. Despite this, Instagram was the most productive channel for financial services professionals in 2021, even though it represented only 1.4% of all posts. In addition, the study reported that Instagram drove the highest engagement rates across all lines of business.

Thanks to its visual storytelling and ability to cultivate brand awareness, display empathy, and gain trust—Instagram is finding its foothold within the financial services industry.

According to Henrietta Akpata, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Sprinklr’s Social Engagement & Sales Suite,  “As B2B sales become increasingly digital, sales teams who adopt this practice will deepen customer relationships, shorten sales cycles, and generate more revenue opportunities.”

The Monetary Benefits of Social Selling
Social selling is a powerful tool to help sales representatives build pipelines. By leveraging customer information, social selling doesn’t just focus on generating more leads; it focuses on developing the right leads. According to LinkedIn, 78% of social sellers outsell their peers who don’t use social media. They’re also able to acquire 45% more sales opportunities. The bottom line? Social selling is a proven revenue generator.

Not only can social selling make brands money, but it can also save money by reducing operating and process costs. Social selling provides information about a lead, including data from marketing and sales teams, their web presence, renewals of existing subscriptions, and activity from social media channels.

Sellers with this 360-degree view can personalize interactions and build relationships with prospects and customers. They can also use this information to understand their customers’ challenges and position themselves as subject matter experts on topics their audience cares about, building trust and generating more sales.

About Serena Smith
Serena Smith is Director of Business Development for Quikstone Capital Solutions. Since 2005, Quikstone has helped thousands of merchants grow their business with working capital that is easy, fast, and flexible.