Social Selling on LinkedIn: The Ultimate Guide for B2B Sales
Between all the generic messages that are left unopened in our LinkedIn inboxes, putting personalization back into your sales strategy can go a long way. Approaching sales with a more prospect-focused mindset, like social selling, can help you stand out, grow your network, and generate more leads.
Compared to traditional sales techniques, the goal of social selling is to form valuable and lasting connections that result in repeat business and higher retention rates. Common practices include optimizing your LinkedIn profile, using filters to find the right prospects, nurturing relationships, and providing your network with valuable content to build thought leadership.
Unarguably, one of the most effective social platforms to implement a social selling technique is LinkedIn. With over 760 million users globally, LinkedIn offers B2B companies countless opportunities to reach potential clients and generate leads. In fact, LinkedIn contributes to 80% of B2B leads generated through social media.
To support you in your social selling efforts, we have put together this guide that provides all the ins and outs of social selling, best practices, and how to use this approach as one of your selling techniques.
Let’s get started!
Table of contents
- What is social selling on LinkedIn
- Why LinkedIn is an effective platform for B2B companies
- 5 benefits of using social selling techniques as a B2B sales professional
- How to implement LinkedIn social selling step-by-step
- Overcoming common social selling challenges on LinkedIn
- Your free guide to building a sales strategy for 2023
“78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media”LinkedIn
What is social selling on LinkedIn?
At its core, social selling on LinkedIn is about finding, connecting, and building relationships with prospects, with the long-term goal of converting them into paying customers. It’s not about pushing for a hard sell. Instead, social selling focuses on creating connections and building trust through valuable content and meaningful interactions.
Through tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator and advanced search filters, the platform allows sales professionals to create a more personalized and targeted approach to selling. This can ultimately result in increased sales and business growth.
Why LinkedIn is an effective platform for B2B companies
LinkedIn has carved out its niche among social media platforms and has become the go-to network for professionals. With over 760 million users globally, it provides B2B companies with countless opportunities to reach potential clients.
LinkedIn contributes to 80% of B2B leads generated through social media, and 92% of B2B marketers prefer LinkedIn over other social platforms.
With its focus on business networking, career development, and industry-specific content, LinkedIn provides a unique opportunity to reach decision-makers and influencers directly.
5 benefits of using social selling techniques as a B2B sales professional
Now that we have covered the basics let’s have a look at how social selling can help you attract, nurture, and convert more leads:
Better access to decision-makers – One of the biggest challenges in B2B sales is getting into meetings with key stakeholders. LinkedIn allows you to identify decision-makers within an organization and adapt your messaging strategy, which can significantly increase your response rate. This also allows you to bypass gatekeepers and ensure your message reaches the right people.
“92% of B2B buyers engage with sales professionals who are known industry thought leaders.”LinkedIn
Attract more leads and build thought leadership: Becoming a thought leader isn’t easy, but a solid content strategy can help get you there. By sharing engaging and valuable content that answers your prospect’s questions, you will position yourself as a go-to resource for industry-specific knowledge. Your network will appreciate your engagement and may even look forward to it.
Stronger customer relationships: Social selling enables you to engage directly with potential customers, allowing for authentic and more meaningful conversations. These interactions will also give you a deeper understanding of your target audience’s needs, challenges, and objections. These insights, in turn, can help you continue personalizing your messaging strategy and content creation process.
Sustainable sales pipeline and higher retention rates: The relationships you build through social selling don’t end when a sale is made. By continually engaging with your customers, you can create a sustainable sales pipeline. Nurturing relationships with ongoing interactions often result in a higher retention rate and referrals.
Generating High-Quality Leads: Social selling isn’t about reaching a broad audience; but the right audience. Sales Navigator and advanced search options allow you to find and connect with individuals who fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Focusing on these high-quality leads can increase conversion rates and achieve better ROI on your sales efforts.
How to implement LinkedIn social selling
What does social selling look like in practice? Here is an outline of how you can get started with social selling on LinkedIn:
Optimize your profile for sales and build a personal brand – Your profile is the first impression potential clients get of you. Make it count. Pick a high-quality headshot, write a prospect-focused tagline, highlight your achievements, and explain how you can help people solve their problems in the About section.
Personalize your messages – Before reaching out to anyone on LinkedIn, take a moment to look through their profile. Find out who they are, what their challenges and needs are, and get familiar with their interests, and fields of work
Use filters to find the right prospects – Filtering Sales Navigator can help you identify the key decision-makers and build relationships with company stakeholders. You can personalize your search by specifying filters based on location, industry, job title, or seniority.
Nurture relationships – Once you get new prospects into your network, make sure to stay in touch. Check in regularly and celebrate with them when they get promoted or reach a goal. This builds trust and helps you stay top of mind.
Create valuable and engaging content – a content strategy can help you position yourself as an expert and build credibility. Valuable content can include everything from industry-related insights and expert advice to client wins or starting conversations by asking open-ended questions.
Measuring success: The Social Selling Index on LinkedIn
If you already use LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator and want to integrate social selling as part of your sales technique, the social selling index (SSI) is a good starting point. It acts as a guideline that helps you increase your reach and connect with decision-makers. According to LinkedIn,
“Social sellers create 45 percent more opportunities than lower social sellers.”
The SSI measures your social selling effectiveness and indicates your performance based on four key pillars:
- The effectiveness of your professional brand – your LinkedIn profile
- Building and nurturing strong relationships
- Finding the right people on the platform
- Sharing relevant and engaging content
- And your interactions with others
Besides paying attention to your SSI, make sure to also pull in key metrics like the number of connections, engagement rate, and conversion rate. By combining both and regularly tracking these metrics can help you adjust and continuously improve your social selling strategy.
Overcoming common social selling challenges on LinkedIn
Social selling, undoubtedly, adds a lot of value to your sales efforts. But implementing a new sales technique will also present you with some challenges.
Let’s look at three common ones and how you can bypass them:
Time management: Social selling can be time-consuming. Set aside dedicated time for social selling activities, and consider using tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to streamline your efforts. A well-kept content calendar can also help to stay consistent with make sure to deliver content that resonates with your target audience consistently.
Time management tip: Use your best performing messages as templates. If there is a message that gets more responses than others – save it. This helps you save time and improve your overall outreach success rate. Now, before sending it out, you can just add a few words or phrases to make the message more genuine and personal.
Balancing sales and social selling: Finding a balance between traditional sales activities and social selling can maximize your overall sales success. But finding that balance can be tricky. First, it’s important to understand that social selling doesn’t replace traditional selling methods but complements them. Social selling techniques will help you attract new leads and nurture relationships, while traditional selling methods will help you close the deal.
“Businesses that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.”Marketo
Content Creation: Building engaging content and consistently coming up with new ideas can be challenging. But knowing where to look for inspiration can make this process much easier:
- Pay attention to conversations happening in your industry and among your connections and build your content around it
- Participate in discussions and leave thoughtful comments. If you focus on adding value, your comments can be just as helpful as the content you share on your feed
- Stay on top of industry trends and share your unique perspective and opinions
- Reshare content from other credible sources
LinkedIn has changed the way B2B sales professionals connect with prospects and clients, taking relationship building to an entirely new level. Understanding and leveraging social selling on LinkedIn will help you to stand out in the crowded B2B landscape, foster stronger relationships, boost sales, and, ultimately, drive sustainable growth for your business.
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