The rise of social media, expected to capture 2.5 billion users by 2017, represents a paradigm shift and a new opportunity in B2B marketing. For the first time, B2B customers are a community of users who discuss everything from their jobs to politics to business products and services. Forrester Research confirms that B2B customers are buying through social media. Of those surveyed, 81 percent visit LinkedIn monthly, with 74 percent going there at least in part for business purposes. Of the 85 percent who visit forums monthly, 81 percent are there exclusively or in part for business purposes. Still, many businesses have been slow to act, with less than 25 percent having a comprehensive social media strategy. Those who have tried and failed complain about being under-resourced. But failure is less about resources than about strategy. Social selling is different, and many businesses haven’t been able to pivot from conventional B2B marketing to the new paradigm.

What is Social Selling?

Social selling is a way for businesses to engage potential customers, build relationships and leverage those relationships to sell. Whereas traditional marketing begins with a sales pitch, social selling begins with smart conversation. That means learning to:

  • Listen — to find new prospects and sleuth out key decision makers
  • Relate — by discovering common interests, both business and personal
  • Engage — by providing relevant content that establishes authority and expertise
  • Partner — based on mutual benefits and shared concerns

How to Find Social Selling Opportunities

You can’t sell your products until you find customers. The great thing about social media is that customers are already there, talking about their buying intentions. Finding them means identifying where and when those conversations are taking place. Tools like Tweetdeck, Google Alerts, and Nimble will let you monitor on all those conversations so you’ll know the most opportune moment to make your move. Finding customers is step one. Step two is finding out everything you can about them. You can do some of this by visiting their website and reading their annual report. But social media will let you dig deeper, hear what’s being said in real time, learn how buying decisions are actually made and identify business needs at the moment they surface. Step three is making your approach — and closing the sale.

Closing the Sale: How to Use Landing Pages

Landing pages are a great tool for helping you find highly qualified leads and convert them into paying customers, and you can’t qualify leads unless they respond to some call to action, pushing a button or filling in a form. Strong landing pages are the sine qua non (essential action) of strategic social selling. To be effective, your landing page needs four pillar features:

  1. Headline: A headline that grabs readers attention  and compels them to read more. The headline is the most important element of your landing page to optimize and test. Login to your Pagewiz account and create two landing page versions with everything identical but the headline message
  2. A compelling image: Visual content such as graphic elements and especially video can increase conversion rates dramatically. As the web becomes more visual, browsers expect to see more color on the screen. If they don’t, you’ll lose buyers.
  3. Your product’s benefits: Organize and simplify benefits by presenting them in bulleted lists.
  4. Call to action: This is essential. Not having a call to action on your landing page is like making a great impression with a prospective date, then not handing over your telephone number. If your call to action is a form, you can gather valuable data to use further down the sales funnel.

Social selling requires a shift in mindset and a new set of skills. B2B salespeople have a vested interest in learning those skills, not to replace traditional marketing practices, but to complement them. The potential rewards of a winning strategy for social selling with landing pages are well worth the investment of time and money.

 

This article was posted originally on the PageWiz Blog. It has been reshared with permission.

Daniel Newman
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Daniel Newman

Founder and President at Broadsuite, Inc.
After 12 years of running technology companies including a CEO appointment at the age of 28, I traded the corner office for a chance to drive the discussion on how the digital economy is going to forever change the way business is done. I'm an MBA, adjunct business professor and 4x author of best-selling business books including "The Millennial CEO" and "The New Rules of Customer Engagement." Pianist, soccer fan, husband and father, not in that order. Oh and for work...I'm the co-founder of V3B [Broadsuite], a marketing firm specializing in the digital space, helping companies be found, seen and heard in a cluttered digital world.
Daniel Newman
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