Why Social Selling Counts in 2021?
Sander Biehn is founder and CEO of Thought Horizon, LLC. After a successful career in sales at AT&T, he founded his company in 2013 helping organizations to build, manage and succeed using social selling.
Creating the future in B2B Social Media.
Haven’t we all moved our lives online in the last few months? The shift to virtual is also visible in the business world, including the rise of social selling. Three sea change forces have come together to make social selling a de facto standard in 2021 in B2B and enterprise sales and marketing.
Social selling means that salespeople use their social media profiles to interact with customers and prospects with the goal to influence their purchasing process. However, contrary to its name, social selling is not so much about ‘selling’ per se. It is primarily about forming relationships, sharing educational and value-adding content, and starting conversations, being ‘social’. Social selling can be used by individuals but often develops into a program organized by marketing enabling sales teams to be active on social media.
- Social media is where relationships are happening now
Let’s first look at the apparent factor: Social media is where relationships are happening today. 2020 has led us to a place where connections are happening online – not face to face. Social networks, especially LinkedIn, are the de facto way buyers get new information through content and conversations. It is also the way to go to create new relationships.
Let’s take a look at some interesting data to illustrate this:
According to LinkedIn, three new professionals join the platform every SECOND! Other research LinkedIn has made it among the top 20 most visited websites in the world. Statistics from 2021 show there are now over 700 million LinkedIn members globally, 40% of them active daily. Sixty-one million are senior level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions. Nine out of ten B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions and 84% of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions, as this source suggests.
While social selling has seen widespread adoption over the recent years among industries like IT, technology and professional services, other more traditional branches such as financial services and manufacturing are starting to change as well.
Now, let’s take a look at the less obvious forces.
- Sales has become scientific and compartmentalized
The recent rise of account-based selling and marketing has been a massive factor in shifting toward scientific and compartmentalized sales. Both are ways of targeting specific prospect companies and individual buyers with an even more particular message depending on their professional journey. Nowadays, we look at sales from a more scientific point of view. We focus on what and how often it needs to be said before a buyer is going to buy. Tailoring to the specific person is the super-power of social media without looking spammy.
- Time is money – like never before
Companies aim for transparent analyses and are viewing sales as cost-center in ways never seen before. The use of big data and artificial intelligence has given us the ability to analyze down to the minutia, and large sales organizations are doing just that.
Creating an executable and more efficient sales process is studied by branch leaders and marketers alike. And it’s obvious: Time is money like never before. The age of salespeople practicing the ‘dark art’ of relationships, getting things done and bringing in revenue is over. These days, leaders expect sales to initiate specific tasks and certain cadences while business gets done as quickly as possible.
These trends have pushed interest toward social media. Social offers the ability to be many places at once with online conversations.
Still, today marks only the beginning of a new automation process to create connections and begin conversations online. In our content series “Creating the Future of B2B Social Media”, we will examine how companies can use tools to make their social selling processes more efficient while maintaining the authenticity and personal aspects critical to success.
Sander Biehn is the Co-Founder and CEO of Thought Horizon. He is an enterprise sales expert who has pioneered and developed social selling strategies and tactics for over a decade. Thought Horizon has helped B2B organizations leverage the power of social media since 2013.
(Note – Image credit: Gatis Marcinkevics,via Unsplash.com)