Building up a network, being as close as possible to the customer and staying in touch - that's the be-all and end-all in everyday sales. So what could be better suited for this than social networks? After all, they are designed for extensive contact maintenance.
Digital contact maintenance pays off
Nevertheless, only one in three German sales employees uses social business networks to address customers and prospects. But the figures of a LinkedIn study do not allow for excuses: Just under 60% of the sales employees surveyed told him or her that they had achieved their goals in the last sales year as part of the study - when asked about their success, three quarters of them refer to social selling via Xing and LinkedIn. In addition to the achievement of sales targets, it was also demonstrated that there is a correlation between activity on social media and salary. Just under half of all sales employees who earn 65,00 EUR and more cite sales work on Xing and LinkedIn as an integral part of their daily sales routine.
However, social selling is not just a matter of simply moving the previously "analog" sales strategies to a digital stage.
Stop selling - start engaging
Using social media for B2B contacts is not about establishing social networks as a new platform for sales and acquisition talks. Social selling means standing out with your own business profile and filling the sales funnel with prospects, relevant information and contacts.
The goal of your own communication should be to arouse interest and offer solutions to problems to your readers - the actual selling process is the first step. This will have a positive effect on sales figures in the long term, because business is better done with experts who offer solutions than with salespeople with typical sales phrases.
Using shared content correctly
A first step in the direction of social selling is to deal with the articles and profile details published on social media. With the help of these, important information about the desired customer can be collected and potential requirements and needs of the contact person can be identified. This gives sales staff the opportunity to take up the previously discovered information in a personal conversation and thus arouse the interest of the contact person in a targeted manner. The empathy for the customer's current problems - if possible with a view to finding a solution to them - shows the contact person initiative and appreciation and clearly stands out from dull inquiries.
Advantage through expertise
Successful sales employees use social networks as a platform during their acquisition process, where they appear as experts. The spectrum of measures to become visible in this way is wide. It ranges from simple posts with relevant content to setting up your own group to get in touch with the right decision-makers. Those who share rich information that offers direct added value to potential new customers automatically position themselves in their target group and may be rewarded by sharing their own posts. This makes the shared information accessible to a much larger target group - who knows which potential new contacts will be made aware by a viral post?
Identification of the decision makers
Often several people are involved in the decision-making process. It is therefore worthwhile not just "betting on one horse", but to extend the approach to several relevant people. With the help of Xing and LinkedIn, decision makers can be easily identified. Especially on Xing, the categories "I offer" and "I search" are suitable for finding the right contact persons.
TIP: With the help of the snapADDY grabber, you can also filter specifically by keywords within these categories - a tedious clicking through the profiles is therefore no longer necessary. For this purpose, insert the relevant keywords in the snapADDY Grabber's contact person search under "Other search terms" and you will receive even more targeted contact suggestions.
Arjen Soetekouw, Head of LinkedIn Sales Solutions, calculates rosy sales opportunities in the future for those who position themselves well in the social network, shine with knowledge, and avoid sales with Brechhammer: "Those who deal with it today have a good chance of outrunning the competition - also with regard to their own salary. Between three and ten hours a week, most social sellers - over 60 percent - spend time in social networks. An effort that pays off."
Eva Keller has been an expert for digital sales at snapADDY GmbH since 2017. Previously, she worked for a PR agency in Darmstadt where she was responsible for clients from the children and lifestyle segments. The political scientist started her career as PR manager for a member of the Bavarian parliament.