To explain the definition of social selling in B2B, what better way than to interview the person who coined the term? Koka Sexton is the originator of the term “Social Selling”. Koka Sexton has held several positions at LinkedIn, including Director of Social Media from 2015 to 2016 before holding positions at Hootsuite, Slack, Opensense and now Betts Recruiting.
Definition of Social Selling in B2B
What is the Definition of Social Selling in B2B?
Social selling consists in using social networks for commercial purposes. But be careful, social networks are not a way to search for prospects but to approach more easily a potential customer, who, especially in B2B, already has enough information to do without a salesman.
It is therefore in an advisory role that the salesperson must approach the potential buyer, and social media are the ideal relay to share quality content (proving their expertise), communicate with the prospect to develop the relationship, get to know each other to finally bring the sale.
Because in social selling, as in real life, it takes time for a relationship of trust to develop.
Social Selling is not an additional sales tool, it’s a new approach to selling. We are no longer in the act of selling, but of follow-up.
In a social selling approach, the salesperson must, above all, listen to his customer. Thanks to this listening, he can build a relationship of advice, support.
The Limitations of Theoretical Approaches
You should not think that everything happens on social networks and that social selling exempts sales representatives from going to see their prospects or customers in the field. Social selling is a pretext to see more customers, not to stay away from them. Social selling allows you to enlarge your contact book, in order to make an appointment and not hide behind a computer.
To become a value-added advisor, the salesperson uses a multitude of channels to reach the customer.
In addition to social networks, it also has traditional channels such as trade shows, conferences, seminars, and one-to-one meetings…
The goal is to be where the customer is. To do this, regardless of the channel, you need to engage in conversation in a subtle way, moving away from the traditional sales pitch.
And to lead an intelligent conversation, the seller needs high-value content.
Trends and Innovations
According to the second edition of Intuiti’s social selling barometer, released in 2019 and which measures the impact of social networks on the B2B buying act in France, 71% of sales decision-makers use Linkedin regularly.
Linkedin is by far the most used tool, ahead of Facebook and Twitter.
Of the content that most influences decision-makers in their B2B buying journey, articles or posts lead the way at 56.9%, followed by recommendations from a contact (47.1%). Videos (32.1%) and direct message exchanges (29.9%) follow.
Tools and Methods
There are several social selling methods with different levels of personalization.
First, a traditional prospecting method can be used
This classic social selling consists in selecting companies according to their sector and contacting them via a connection request or an InMail on LinkedIn. This is a first level that is quite limited in results because the knowledge of the prospect is very low and the risk of rejection is high.
Then you can Base your Prospecting on the Legitimacy
This means using social networks to promote your expertise and prove your knowledge on a subject, to be identified by your LinkedIn network as an expert.
When a company is looking for a digital marketing writer, there are two options:
- on the one hand, it may already have that expert in its network, in which case it calls on him or her directly
- on the other hand, his network may recommend the expertise of someone he finds legitimate on the subject.
Meeting a real need
Thanks to the LinkedIn search engine, it is possible to identify companies that have a problem. It is then sufficient to directly propose the offer that will bring a solution to the company.
Of course, the approach is not spam. The sales representative does not act in an intrusive way. Through a discussion, he brings a solution to a problem encountered, a “customer pain point”.
Learn More About the Definition of Social Selling in B2B
- Social selling is about strategy with Tim Hughes