How to Leverage Social Media in B2B Sales

May 8, 2013


Social media selling might seem obvious for business-to-consumer sales. After all, all you have to do is offer a discount coupon or conduct a fun contest to guarantee interaction, which if handled correctly, can lead to greater sales.

In B2B sales, some of which deal with amounts in the tens of thousands or even millions of dollars, and a clientele which ranges from important CEOS to government officials, this approach doesn’t quite cut it.

Here are some tips to increase sales using social media for B2B sales organizations.

Share Without Pitching

People do business with those they like and trust, and the key in using social media is not to blatantly sell all the time, but to allow your audience to get to know you and your firm. The primary goal of social media in B2B selling is to first develop rapport and trust, and this requires patience.

How is this accomplished? Try either providing something for free which is normally good enough to charge for, or something entertaining or personal.

Some ideas:

  • Host a podcast with a leader in your industry with tips for increasing business for your prospects.
  • Give away an e-book with market research.
  • Share pictures of your staff in social settings, or of your workplace. Use common sense with what you share!
  • Offer free sales tips (like this blog).
  • Curate good information from reputable sources around the web which is of value to your target audience.

Look for Trigger Events

One of the best things about social media is that people willingly share information, making social selling a less interruptive affair. As described in an article with tips to increase sales using social channels by Hootsuite, social selling allows you to use this information to your advantage.

As an example, rather than pester prospects with unnecessary phone calls and e-mails just to stay in touch, wait for trigger events to arise before contacting them. How much more meaningful of a conversation do you think you will have if instead of saying, ”I’m just calling to touch base,” you start with, “I saw your post about the difficulty you are having with your current supplier. Is now a good time to resume our conversation about switching over to (your company)?”

Differentiate

Most businesses have Facebook Fan Pages. This is almost a necessity nowadays. Ditto for Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. But these spaces are crowded, making it hard for businesses to be heard in the din.

There is currently an opportunity to take leadership positions on other social media platforms including, surprisingly, Google+. According to Real Business Rescue, only 39 percent of B2B companies currently use Google+, compared with 80 percent and above for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Pinterest and Instagram represent even greater opportunities, with only 26 percent and 7 percent utilization, respectively, among B2B businesses.

Get creative, and develop a strategy on these lesser-utilized but still well-populated social channels.

Navigating the social landscape can be tricky. Use the above tips to increase sales using social media as a starting point, and start piloting different initiatives today. You never know if one of your ideas will go viral, leading to great exposure and more sales.