Better B2B Customer Experience through Social Selling?
What makes a great customer experience? I could probably answer on my own behalf but not for yours as all customer experiences are unique and individual experiences. These days, for any given domain, there is no shortage of competition yet somehow you and your business needs to stand out from the crowd. Building personalized customer experiences — and building them early, is a great place to start.
What is sometimes missed by the business is that everything can be connected into a single, simplified customer journey. Your customer journey and their experience with you starts well before you have reached any kind of formal agreement with a client. It starts as early as with brand recognition, exploration and researching alternatives online.
One research indicated that 71% of all b2b purchases start by using Google search. Now think about this for a second and then tie it back to the idea of customer experience. How are you able to create great customer experiences without having any idea who your potential customer is? This is where social selling comes into play.
As buyers have taken their purchasing online and are already half-way through the process before even contacting suppliers, wouldn’t it be only natural that there is a great demand to be able to influence that process and to support customers throughout their path to purchase? It really is this simple. If your buyers are online, where do you think you need to be?
This is the tricky part. Social selling does not mean that you get to forget reality. Sales has always been about relationships, human to human. It is continuing to be so but these relationships are now taking new forms thanks to social media. It is suddenly ok to be friends with you clients in Facebook or follow each other in Instagram, and share interesting content via Twitter and LinkedIn. This change is happening fast, really fast. About a year ago, I wouldn’t have thought of having people that I don’t actually know well as my Facebook friends but now it is totally ok (mind you, there are ways to limit what each type of connection sees on your timeline).
Today, customer relationships start online
For building better customer experiences we need to build connections, trust and bring value to our customers. What’s intriguing today is that to increasing measure, this is taking place without people actually meeting each other. We are building rapport and trust through digital means on different social platforms. And we are loving it! We instantly like a person better when they like one of our posts or tweets. Why? Because it’s psychology! We like people who we feel are similar to us, people who have something in common with us.
And there is nothing wrong with that. Now there is a whole new generation of both buyers and sellers alike springing up with technological savvy and armed with social media skills. Social selling isn’t changing anything, sales is and will continue to be about relationships but just on a wider context. I see social selling as a way to make for better interaction with clients and a great way for delivering better customer experiences.
B2B Sales is moving towards Social Selling
Social selling as a modern sales strategy is finally gaining traction and several recent research shows that it’s climbing on the agenda of sales executives. Here are some highlights from the shift in b2b sales I have picked up from latest research.
- Online has become the new mainstream, customers expect to be met in the channels they use.
- Social media is blurring the line between personal and professional. 74 % of those who use Facebook personally, use it also professionally.
- Sales people are transforming into advisors and consultants.
- 62% of B2B decision makers say they wouldn’t engage with a salesperson if the communication was not personalized.
- Artificial intelligence is fast being implemented into sales tech to increase more personalized messages to potential customers.
- Companies with formalized social selling processes are more likely to hit revenue goals: 78% of social sellers hit their revenue goals in the past year vs. 38% of non-social sellers.
For more enticing facts and figures you can download these reports for yourself from HubSpot, Hootsuite, Sales for Life and LinkedIn Sales Solutions. I have curated them for you in a separate blog post which I intend to keep updated for similar sales & marketing trend reports in the future as well.
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Image: Unsplash / Patrick Tomasso