It’s not surprising that social media has had an impact on sales just like it has on marketing. Social selling is the process of developing relationships via social networks and includes sharing relevant content, interacting with potential buyers, personal branding, and social listening. It’s different than social media marketing because of the focus on sales and also because it aims to cultivate 1:1 relationships.
So it’s not surprising that LinkedIn has developed some key tools in the area of social selling to compliment the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions I talked about in the last post. I wanted to explore these as well because they can be used as another key weapon for account-based marketing and other integrated marketing campaigns. While many sales professionals use LinkedIn, some of the new tools can clearly increase their effectiveness.
The reason LinkedIn is so important for sales prospecting are similar to the ones that make it effective for marketing as well. There are over 350 million users that have completed fairly detailed profiles about their professional experience skills and other info. In fact, a recent IDC social buying study has shown 50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn as a source for making purchase decisions.
Sales Navigator is the key tool from LinkedIn Sales Solutions that enables sales professionals to prospect smarter, not harder. It helps you focus on the right prospects, get insights for more effective selling and build trusted relationships. Combined these help you turn cold calls into warmer relationships.
Here are some of the key features that you get with LinkedIn Sales Navigator to help with your social selling:
- Lead Builder – uses custom criteria and advanced search to build lead lists.
- Lead Recommendations – gives suggestions on other influencers customized for you.
- TeamLink – shows who within your company is connected for warm introductions.
- Real-Time Sales Updates – sends relevant insights and updates on your accounts and leads.
- InMail Messages – helps you reach your prospects in a credible way, even if you’re not connected.
As you can clearly see, these features could really help with an account-based marketing plan. You could build lists of prospects and target accounts in LinkedIn so you can follow all of their activities and updates. This will result in more current and useful information than you can glean from a database alone. And then, when you’re ready to reach out or follow-up on a lead generated from a different part of the campaign, you can see if a colleague can give you warm intro or use InMail to reach them if other methods fail.
It’s safe to say that social selling is here to say as the results speak for themselves. Social sellers create 45% more opportunities, are 51% more likely to achieve quota, and 78% outsell peers who don’t use social media. LinkedIn provides yet another secret weapon (ok not so secret anymore) to help in that respect. The synergies between these tools and account-based marketing are clear and this same approach could be used as part of any integrated marketing plan.