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Social Selling: connections and content

Sjoerd Schobbers

As a business development specialist at Acorel, I see from a supply-driven economy perspective that the traditional ways of lead generation, such as cold calling, emails, direct mailing etc. are outdated. It becomes more and more difficult to get in touch with a prospect. For example, at this moment in time, study shows that it takes an average of 8 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. This means that it takes up a lot of time and therefore also very expensive (SalesUni). So, what if traditional ways of lead generation in a supply-drive economy are outdated? You try something else? YES, you do! Try social selling! Social selling is a lead generating method that is more in line with a demand-driven economy. It does not necessarily replace traditional selling, but it does replace ‘cold calling’!

Social selling is about finding the right prospects via social networks, and provide them with valuable content. The main goal is to create as much value, arouse curiosity, share knowledge and ‘plant seeds’ in the minds of your prospects. By sharing valuable content, such as video’s, articles, tips & tricks, etc. your sales reps can build trusted relationships and engage prospects on an on-going, long-term basis.

When making the choice for social media channels, it is important that you don’t use your preferred channels to share content, but that you use channels where your customers are. If you found the right channels to get in touch with your prospects, please be aware of the following:

• Social selling is not about spamming prospects with content and private messages;
• Social selling is not about closing deals online;
• Social selling is not a replacement for talking to prospects.

If we take a closer look to some social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, it can be concluded that LinkedIn is (probably) the best channel for social selling. LinkedIn got 4 pillars to get the most out of your social selling activities:

1. ‘Create’ a personal brand, let prospects know who you are and how you can help them to achieve their goals;
2. Focus yourself on the right target group / prospects;
3. Engage prospects with new insights by sharing relevant content that show’s that you’re an informer instead of a promoter;
4. Build relationships. Making contact and building a relationship requires patience. What matters is a relevant and meaningful dialogue with your prospects. First, concentrate on the wishes and needs of your potential customers and not so much on your own objectives.

It’s all about being relevant, by sharing great content, for your target audience. To get a better understanding of why social selling is important, I found some interesting social selling stats that are valuable to know:

• 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media (LinkedIn)
• 45% more sales opportunities (LinkedIn)
• 75% of buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions (LinkedIn)
• 90% of decision makers never answer a cold call (LinkedIn)

After seeing these numbers while knowing that the traditional ways of lead generation are outdated and It becomes more and more difficult to get in touch with a prospect, it can be concluded that you should incorporate social selling in your funnel.

Sjoerd Schobbers