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Social selling has become a mainstay of many B2B sales teams' strategies – and for good reason.

Social selling leaders have 45% more opportunities per quarter than social selling laggards. Plus, B2B sellers who embrace social selling are 72% more likely to exceed quota than their peers who don't.

There are many reasons why social sellers are more successful than their peers. One of those reasons has to do with the length of the sales cycle. The strategic use of social networks can accelerate sales conversations. In this post, we'll discuss four ways that social selling can speed up the sales cycle, as well as help nurture high-quality prospects. Let's dig in, shall we?
 

Social Selling Creates Better Conversations

Savvy social sellers do much more than broadcast marketing messages on social. They also listen closely to their prospects. They try to identify their buyers' interests and business problems so that they can build stronger relationships and have better conversations, be they on social, through email, or on the phone.

As a starting point, here are a few areas you can research:

Keep in mind that social listening isn't just about researching individuals; it also enables reps to tap into conversations about their industries.

By keeping up with the latest trends, reps will have more knowledge to share with prospects and have more productive, intelligent conversations, cutting down the time needed to "win over" potential customers. Customers, after all, want to learn something new about their business, which brings me to the next point…

Social Selling Warms Up Leads

Social selling can help you prime decision-makers at target accounts before sales conversations actually begin. Sales reps can do this by routinely sharing a mixture of educational industry content, as well as branded content, with their contacts on social.

By educating prospects and starting to build awareness about their company before hopping on the phone, reps can increase the likelihood that the account will close once the prospect reaches the decision-making stage.

Social Selling Helps You Identify More Decision-Makers

B2B sales are complex. Nowadays, 6.8 stakeholders are typically involved in the decision-making process, and unfortunately, most marketing department won't be able to source all 6.8 names your sales team will need. That means sales reps have to shoulder the responsibility of identifying and engaging members of the buying committee.

For that, social networks are a godsend. Let's say that you are trying to sell a CRM to Trapit. You'll probably need buy-in from sales management, marketing management, and finance. To identify the key stakeholders at a target company, you can head to LinkedIn and search for the people you need to engage. In the top menu bar, for example, enter "Trapit Marketing."

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Which would yield results like this:

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By using LinkedIn, you can start to identify who you need to contact and create a plan for engaging those people.

Social Selling Nurtures Current Customers

Social selling isn't just about fostering relationships so that reps can build pipeline and close deals. It's also about staying in touch with your current customer base with the goal of closing upsell and cross-sell deals faster.

Think of social selling as another touch point as your sales reps manage their accounts. When an opportunity is closed and won, the lines of communication are anything but closed, and for account executives, networks like Twitter and LinkedIn are fantastic ways to keep customers interested and grow the lifetime value of their accounts.

For a few ideas about how to use social networks for nurturing customers, see this post: Social Selling Doesn't Stop at the Sale.

Social Selling: The Sales Accelerator

When these benefits of social selling work together, they have the effect of accelerating the sales cycle, enabling reps to engage buyers faster, warm them up speedily, and, ultimately, close deals more quickly. But be warned: Organizational buy-in for social sales is key for finding success. Without the support of your sales enablement, sales, and marketing teams, your deals can quickly derail.

Want to better understand the organizational harmony needed? There's an ebook for that. You can download it here.

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Posted by Mark Bajus

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