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Thinking sales? Think social media

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

A recent LinkedIn study surveyed 2,000 U.S. business-to-business professionals about how they see technology affecting sales. Here’s some data from the study, along with steps you can take.

1. Social media should be your go-to for learning about potential customers. The study noted that 94 percent of respondents said they get insights about customers from social networks. If you’re not hitting social networks to research prospects, you’re at a disadvantage. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they won’t engage with people who don’t know their business.

2. Buyers would rather work with salespeople who have a social media presence. Over half (62 percent) of the study’s respondents said they look for an informative profile before talking with a salesperson. And 69 percent of millennial buyers are more likely to connect with salespeople who have a professional online presence.

3. Buyers care more about trust than price. Thirty-nine percent of respondents answered that “trust in our relationship” was the most important factor for closing a deal, while only 33 percent answered “return on investment” and only 13 percent cited price.

4. Social media builds transparency, and transparency builds trust. Despite sales people’s reputation for slippery tactics and the hard sell, this study found that 43 percent view salespeople as “trustworthy” and 31 percent say they have “high integrity.” If you want to become a trusted adviser, your behavior has to live up to it. That’s especially true on social media, where customers can see your every click, like and post.

Social media should never replace calls or in-person meetings. Using social for sales doesn’t mean doing less work, but spending more time with social media tools will probably give you more relevant contacts, higher open rates and a stronger presence.

— Adapted from “Why Your Sales Strategy Needs to Become a Social-Media Strategy, Immediately,” Heather R. Morgan, Inc.com.

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