What is Social Selling – a first approach

9 janvier 2017

What is Social selling, or social media selling… Are you bored with this terms? It’s maybe because as many professionals you hear it every day but you don’t really realise how social selling can help you and your sales team to reach great successes.

What is social selling?

Are you a sales professional in a small or medium company? If the answer is yes you certainly work on your actual customer database, in the best case with a CRM to help you. If you are well organised, you intensively use tasks and emails and your best friend is your phone.Later, when your company grows you hire a marketing executive or a marketing manager to help salespeople in their day to day business, sending blast emails, buying databases (that sales people won’t use “what is this database, I can’t even find a decent prospect in it! »). This is the classical, some say “old”, way to do business.

Social selling is the result of a fact: today, it is impossible to escape the influence of social networks. So why not tap into new uses and create new business opportunities? The issue is of importance because it is quite possible that tomorrow the traditional sales methods are becoming obsolete.

Great actors in this field give the following definition of social selling:

Social selling isn’t just a buzzword – it’s become a crucial way for successful sales teams to communicate with their prospects. Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. Thus, the use of social media in sales allows salespeople to delight their prospects rather than interrupt their daily lives with cold calls and hard sells, eventually converting them into loyal customers.” (Hubspot)

« Social selling is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals. This sales technique enables better sales lead generation and sales prospecting process and eliminates the need for cold calling. Building and maintaining relationships is easier within the network that you and your customer trust.” (LinkedIn)

Why is it so important?

I may give you tonnes of figures on how social selling can help you organisation to be more efficient. Hereafter those I found more relevant:

  • 91% of the time, cold calling doesn’t work (source: Harvard Business Review)
  • 90% of C-suite executive say they never respond to cold calls or email blasts (source: Harvard Business Review)
  • Social selling leaders create 45% more opportunities (source: LinkedIn)
  • Customers don’t want to deal with salespeople until they are 70% down the path of the buying process (source: HubSpot)
  • 8 attempts to reach a prospect today with a cold call vs. 3.68 in 2007 (source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group)
  • 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  • 80% of introductions generate a sale (source: DSWA)
  • 75% of customers say they use social media as part of the buying process (source: IBM)
  • 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media. (source: LinkedIn)
  • 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media (source: MediaBistro)
  • 47% larger purchases result from nurtured leads than non-nurtured leads (source: The Annuitas Group)
  • You are almost 5X more likely to schedule a first meeting if you have a personal LinkedIn connection (source: Sales Benchmark Series)


How should you start?

  • Create qualitative profiles, customised, comprehensive
  • Make contact with prospects on social networks, maintain, establish a relationship of trust over the long term; in short, to develop a network of contacts that favors quality over quantity;
  • Update your profiles demonstrating your activity, posting or relaying information
  • Optimise web pages of your brand or company on the networks
  • Deliver top quality and relevant content to become a reference in your field
  • Target potential buyers (certainly the more important)
  • Finally, convert the virtual experience (the digital exchange) in real meeting and sales (the conclusion of the sale cycle)


Do you need social selling?

This is a great question. I recently visited a group on LinkedIn where people were discussing whether Social Selling was important for sales. Pros said yes, cons said that nothing would replace a salesperson. My conviction is that Social Selling is like Business Development. You can’t evaluate the success in terms of transactions, but it participates in the growth of your business:

« Business development comprises a number of tasks and processes generally aiming at developing and implementing growth opportunities within and between organisations” (Wikipedia).

If you want to have more leads, achieve quotas and improve your deal size then you should try social selling.

By the way, do you know your Social Selling Index? Check it out know!

You may also be interested in reading :


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Auteur : Nicolas ROUSSEL

De formation marketing et commercial, j'accompagne depuis plus de 20 ans les entreprises technologiques dans leur développement. J'ai créé l'agence I AND YOO pour répondre aux problématiques de génération de leads en vente complexe.