Growth-oriented small businesses can’t really afford to experiment with sales. They need a reliable way to open up wider pipelines of leads and shorten their sales cycles. Those are both areas where social selling techniques tend to excel.
The Aberdeen Group found that about two-thirds of sales teams that are using social selling techniques are reaching or exceeding their sales quotas. Top social sellers are posting 160% of quota. In comparison, only about half of traditional sales team have been able to do that.
A 50/50 chance just isn’t good enough for small companies, where thin margins and overpowering competition can throttle profitability. Growth or collapse are really the only options until a business can secure a sustainable revenue model.
Not everyone agrees on what social selling is, though, or on which social sellers to follow.There tends to be a great deal of confusion and misinformation about what the ideal social selling strategy looks like.
For example, here a list of things that social selling isn’t:
- Not outsourcing sales to marketing -- the two must work in closer coordination
- Not a single event – promoted posts are part of social selling, but it doesn’t end there
- Not an instant fix – its about building long-term relationships with customers
- Not an excuse for spam –impersonal mass messaging on any channel is still spam
- Not a replacement for calling – phone contacts are a cornerstone of social sales
- Not just about social media – the end game is connecting on- and off-line
To get a firm grip on what social selling means for your small business, go directly to the source. We've put together a list of the top nine social sellers to follow for the great advice and inspiration. All of the social sellers here have been talking about their underlying philosophy and financial results for several years now. They've seen how it has grown and evolved. Learn from their experience and you'll soon be on your way to building up your own expetise in social selling.
@kurtshaver CSO at Vengreso
Best quote: “Companies that would NEVER adopt an ‘every rep for themselves’ approach to CRM usage, by default, are encouraging a ‘random acts of social’ approach to LinkedIn by failing to establish goals, guidelines, training, and management of social selling practices."
@jamietshanks CEO at Sales for Life
Best quote: “Social selling alone can’t deliver a seamless sales experience or record-shattering performance without a critical mass of interrelated sales innovations to support it. Digital has forever changed the buying process. The sales teams will need a cluster of innovations behind them to be effective at the new speed of B2B purchasing."
@kokasexton Hootsuite’s Principal for Social Selling
Best quote: “The reality is that even though social selling is highly effective, getting your decision makers on the phone is still necessary in most sales cycles. Moving from online to offline with efficiency is the key.”
@NealSchaffer Author of Maximize Your Social
Best quote: “Social media replaces nothing yet complements everything…. With social we get a deeper look into the inner workings of people, who they are, who they're connected to, and what’s on the top of their minds.”
@jill_rowley Startup Advisor
Best quote: "A fool with a tool is a still a fool. A fool with lots of tools is an even bigger fool and a fool with a social tool is an amplified fool. What’s needed most in sales is a mindset of serving and helping buyers; not selling them."
@jillkonrath Author of More Sales, Less Time
Best quote: “Sellers who have embraced social media are creating new opportunities that totally bypass traditional sales channels. It’s about good selling – using all the tools that are available to you today.”
@keenan CEO at A Sales Guy
Best quote: “What behaviors do you celebrate? FYI, achieving quota is NOT a behavior. HOW one achieves the quota is what you need to be focusing on. Cultures are funny. They exist whether or not you create one. You have a culture. The question is, is it the one you want or the one you have?”
@HeinzMarketing President of Heinz Marketing
Best quote: "In B2B, I have yet to see a building write a check. You’re not really selling something to a business, you’re selling to people. Those people make rational and irrational decisions, logical and emotional decisions, they’re motivated by selfish pursuits as well as company objectives. This is important to keep in mind not only in how we communicate to them (most B2B marketing messages are entirely too stuffy) but in the topics we choose to engage & influence them."
@MelonieDodaro Author of The LinkedIn Code
Best quote: “One of the mistakes that most people make is they keep their relationships completely online and they never move them forward. And so, what I teach in the book and in my online courses and whatnot is to how to start those conversations and relationships, how to move them forward and then how to take them offline.”
Social selling toolbox
It’s an exciting time to learn social selling as it evolves along with advances in technology. Make sure you have the essential tools for social selling in place and you know how to use them. Social sales is easier with a phone system built for small businesses and flexible enough to grow with you. Download a free trial of the Spoke app and run your business from anywhere.