The science behind the art of Social Selling in the B2B space.

A proven lead-gen tactic for building and leveraging brand trust.

While there are currently over 15 must-have social media marketing tools that promise any business the ability to deliver the right person, the right message at the right time. As a specialist B2B marketing agency, Demographica strives to take it a step further, helping our clients go beyond that. How? By also considering the right sender. The use of social media platforms and key personal profiles for product and solution-related marketing isn’t new. When social media first appeared, marketers and business leaders quickly saw and seized the opportunity to load the top-end of the sales funnel, typically broadcasting news, deals, milestones and events for the world to see, in the hope it would find its way to the intended recipients. However, it is these very same marketers and business leaders that now face the growing reality that traditional thinking in the ‘new normal’ doesn’t always guarantee the desired results – that of a healthy sales funnel [Standout statement]. This has seen various leading B2B marketers, the likes of Jason Miller in Welcome to the Funnel, undertaking an introspective analysis of the traditional content marketing approaches commonly adopted by brands on social platforms. Based on the fact that within the B2B space marketers generally deal with a smaller customer base, a higher average price point and a customer decision funnel that is more influenced by word of mouth and reputation, Social Selling has become an important phase and key tactic utilised by B2B agencies as a means to creating and bolstering engagement with the c-suite. (Although initial references to the term and its principles – such as Sales 2.0 – can be found as early as 2006.) What is Social Selling? Defined by LinkedIn Sales Solutions as: ‘The tactic of leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships and achieve sales goals’, Social Selling has become an important and commonly punted marketing tactic in overcoming arguably the biggest challenge still facing any sales team – that of prospecting new clients through cold calling. In CMO terms, it’s essentially about empowering leaders, sales teams and partners (internal stakeholders) to act as your eyes and voice on social media. As such, it offers an additional marketing tool that extends way beyond that of any brand owned platforms. What is the underlying theory? With buying and selling considered social activities, as a specialist B2B agency, we have noticed a significant increase in the amount of variance amongst the demographic, psychographic and geographics traits and characteristics of decision-making units and their individual members within large South African corporates. Here, by leveraging the voice of internal stakeholders on social media platforms, in addition to messaging that commonly appears on traditional brands platforms. you can dramatically expand your reach and gain access to spaces and conversations where your brand would typically not have a voice without the necessary connections or permissions – such as WhatsApp or LinkedIn Groups for instance. It’s a tactic that goes well beyond that of ensuring your brand is the first a potential prospect considers when they’re ready to make a purchase. Instead, it allows the prospect to undertake the first few critical steps in the sales process together with a credible face and name they trust. Considering recent research conducted by Weber Shandwick indicates that a massive 84% of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, Social Selling is unsurprisingly something that is and will continue to gather increased support and momentum as a key marketing tactic by the customer experience strategy community. For practical ways to implement Social Selling as an internal marketing tactic, make sure you download our handyCMO’s 3-step guide to the art of social selling infographic WRITTEN BY: Murray Howard

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