What is Social Selling and Why Should Your Brand Care?

So just what is social selling? Instead, it’s an important new approach to selling that allows salespeople to laser-target their prospecting, establish rapport and trust through existing connections and networks, and possibly even ditch the dreaded practice of making cold calls. What is social selling? It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers that keep you—and your brand—front of mind, so you’re the natural first point of contact when a prospect is ready to buy. If your sales team has not embraced social selling, your sales are quite simply not what they could be. That leads to more meaningful ongoing prospect and client engagement, with 31 percent of B2B professionals saying that social selling tools allowed them to build deeper relationships with clients. If you’re not actively engaged in social selling, you’re not showing up in that social purchase research: that’s a lot of potential missed sales. The good news is that, according to LinkedIn, 76 percent of buyers are ready to have a social media conversation with potential providers, and more than 62 percent of B2B buyers respond to salespeople who connect with them to share insights and opportunities relevant to their business. It just provides you as a sales professional with an additional suite of tools to incorporate into your work so you can focus on the most productive parts of the sales process and maximize the benefits of existing relationships and connections to build an expanded network of prospects who actually want to hear from you. Learn how to leverage social media to save time, drive a larger number of qualified leads, and increase deal sizes with Hootsuite Academy, our free social media training.

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What is Social Selling and Why Should Your Brand Care? | Hootsuite Blog

Social selling: by now you’ve certainly heard of it, but you may not be entirely sure what it means. Is it the same as social media marketing? (No.) What about social media advertising? (Nope, that’s something else altogether.) So just what is social selling? Is it simply one more digital buzzword soon to be relegated to the virtual dustbin of 2016?

With sales professionals who have incorporated social selling into their sales process way outperforming those stuck in the pre-social sales funnel (we’ve got the statistics to prove it below), social selling may be a buzzword, but it’s in absolutely no danger of being tossed away.

Instead, it’s an important new approach to selling that allows salespeople to laser-target their prospecting, establish rapport and trust through existing connections and networks, and possibly even ditch the dreaded practice of making cold calls. If you have not yet incorporated social selling into your business, you’re likely already losing sales to your more socially savvy peers.

What is social selling?

Social selling is the art of using social networks to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers that keep you—and your brand—front of mind, so you’re the natural first point of contact when a prospect is ready to buy.

It’s quite simply using online social tools to engage in the relationship-building strategies that have always been the foundation of what good sales professionals do.

If you have a Facebook Business Page, LinkedIn profile, or professional Twitter account, you’re already engaged in the basics of social selling—even if you’ve never actually used the term to describe your online activities, or thought all that much about exactly what social selling really means.

Learn more about social selling with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

Perhaps equally important to explaining what social selling means is to explain what social selling is not. It’s certainly not about bombarding strangers with unsolicited Tweets and private messages. There’s a name for that: spam. And you shouldn’t do it.

Social selling is not just about gaining access to contacts but about building relationships and strategically listening for the right moment to join the conversation so you can present yourself as a solution to a current problem, addressing a pressing need to make your prospect’s life easier rather than becoming just another irritant to swipe and delete.

Now that you understand what social selling is, let’s look at why doing it (really) well is so important for your business.

3 reasons why your business should care about social selling

You’ll read a lot of statistics in this next section as we look at why your brand should care about social selling. But really, there’s one big 800-pound gorilla of a reason to care: social selling works. Period.

In this socially connected world, 78 percent of salespeople engaged in social selling are outselling their peers who are not using social selling. If your sales team has not embraced social selling, your sales are quite simply not what they could be. Here are three key reasons why.

1. Social selling lets your sales team build real relationships

Let’s face it: Nobody likes cold calling. And the truth is that it’s not very effective anyway: 90 percent of top decision-makers say they never respond to cold calls. Using social tools to listen in on conversations relevant to your industry—known…

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