Digital disruptions have already had an enormous impact on a whole set of business processes as well as the way customers react to company solicitations in general. Sales is no exception to this revolution which is ushering in a period of unprecedented change. As with every period of change, both opportunities and challenges must be skilfully navigated to stay competitive in the market and attract increasingly sophisticated customers. While it is clear to most B2C companies that they need to take advantage of social media opportunities, there are three compelling reasons for B2B salespeople to leverage digital selling as well.
Digital Selling Fosters Trust
Executives are more inclined to buy from people they have confidence in rather than from someone whom they do not trust, even if being promised a better offer. This is why putting most of your sales efforts into cold calling is a strategy that typically has low success rates, despite the fact that it will still land you some deals due to the “law of large numbers.”
Digital selling serves as an intermediary instrument between buyer and seller, allowing both potential customers and sellers first to become aware and then get to know things about each other before direct contact is initiated. This gained familiarity is mutually advantageous for both sides, as trust is earned while both buyers and sellers can observe each other’s behaviors and priorities via social media.
The most powerful digital tool for building trust in a B2B context is LinkedIn, where professionals can share interesting articles and reports, connect based on topics and interests, and engage with each other in discussions when appropriate. Statistics support this perception that social networks facilitate the building of trust. 87% of B2B buyers on LinkedIn have a favorable impression of a salesperson who was introduced to them by someone who was already in their professional network.
Digital Selling Helps Prospects Find You
Interestingly, according to a LinkedIn research, 75% of B2B buyers use social media when making buying decisions. That is why removing any obstacles between your company and potential customers is essential, and all company-related information must be easy to find and up-to-date on critical social media channels.
Fortunately, companies are no longer forced to invest massive amounts of money in advertising to attract prospects. They just need to take advantage of their current online presence and tweak it to become more targeted and relevant. An active social network presence, websites, blogs and other digital selling tools can all provide significant transparency and credibility, encouraging buyers to choose you after they have found your social media profiles.
To this end, LinkedIn is again a powerful tool. In fact, in the past handing out business cards was essential to doing business. Today it is your LinkedIn profile that needs to work for you to help you build your network and show others that you are a knowledgeable and well-connected player in your industry. Therefore, your LinkedIn profile needs to attract your target audience and be as detailed (yet also concise) as possible.
Digital Selling Helps You Find the Best Prospects
Online tools are not only useful for customers to locate you, but they also represent a modern and innovative way to generate new leads and to get to know your prospects better. To fully grasp the advantage of digital instruments, consider that LinkedIn and Facebook have 250 million and 2.072 billion users active worldwide each month, respectively. Salespeople have easy access to pools of customers that can be clustered and explicitly targeted using these platforms.
Among all the social platforms, LinkedIn is often the favorite destination for a company’s B2B marketing efforts because sales executives can gain access to an ocean of potential customers’ profiles and use an exclusive tool called LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find new prospects that meet to specific search criteria.
In addition, Facebook provides means to analyze and extract insights from data. One of them is Facebook Analytics. Crunching your customers´ big data will help you successfully customize marketing activities and improve their effectiveness for your target groups, which will enable the creation of a robust pipeline. However, remain cautious! Facebook is not suitable for every business in the B2B market, and each company must use their discretion when deciding which networks are most suitable.
Digital Selling allows salespeople and companies to get closer to potential and current customers than ever before, optimizes prospect research, and enhances customer base growth—and all of this can be done without giving potential and existing customers the feeling that you are disrupting the flow of their everyday business.
“This article was written by Sara Lunardelli (LinkedIn). Sara is a Business Consultant at PDAgroup GmbH. Her main focus is on supporting the sales department by developing new strategies for the company´s growth, prospecting potential leads and identifying new business opportunities.“