Happy New Year, Social Selling Pros! You probably noticed that social selling had a moment in 2017. Nearly 7,000 articles were published on social selling in 2017, with nearly 1m total shares across social networks. Here’s the breakdown from BuzzSumo:
So did you have time to read 6,811 articles on social selling? We hope for your sake you didn’t. And now you don’t have to. We filtered and curated them through Anders Pink to bring the best articles to the surface, and added a little human curation to share our thoughts. We’ve looked back over 2017 to pick out the top 30 for you. So save yourself some time and catch up on a whole year’s Social Selling insights. We’ve broken it down into
- Getting Started: Strategy and Start Points for Social Selling
- Social Selling Stats and Case Studies
- Social Selling Books
- Lists and Tips
- Content Curation for Social Selling
- Helping Sales Teams and Building Habits
Hope you find something to help take the edge off January and give you an edge on your social selling in 2018.
1. Getting Started: Strategy and Starting Points
You’ve got to start somewhere with social selling. Here’s a round up of the best primers from last year to help you get off the blocks in 2018.
Where to start with Social Selling? This year we really liked the social selling guide that Dylan Hey at Sales Hacker has put together – full of practical insights for making the best use of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to build and engage your prospects. Read Dylan’s guide here.
We talked about social selling a lot in 2017. It’s just as important to talk about what social selling is not: a replacement for talking to people, about tools, about getting likes and shares, or a cure all for your sales woes. The great team at Social Experts put together a useful list of what social selling is and what it isn’t here.
Only 1 in 4 sales professionals understand how to use social media for selling. Fortunately, the very good people at We Are Social have a plan to help you up their game. It’s all about building the right team across sales and marketing, having a content plan, and helping people to make it happen. Their full action plan is here. Nice work guys.
Melonie Dodaro is one of the key voices in social selling, and earlier in 2017 her company Top Dog Social Media set out a nice simple set of steps for getting started with social selling: know your goal, start by listening, build your expertise, track the events that trigger a buying need, and track the metrics that show results. Just get started, and stick with it.
Social Selling means sharing valuable content with your network and prospects. But what content to share, with who and where? Ollie Whitfield’s always on the money with social selling, and in his post this week he shares insights on the right content strategy for social selling. You need to know what your buyers are worried about, and curate content that helps them. You need to weigh on on the hot topics and debates in your sector. That’s how you build credibility. And you need to talk to your marketing team. I know, for some sales people this may feel weird. Give it a try.
2. Stats and Case Studies
We know: you have to prove that social selling works. Here’s some articles that did just that.
Does Social Selling work? Ask SAP. They realised that the phone wasn’t just going to keep ringing as B2B buyers changed their habits and did more of their vendor research on social networks. They needed to take a different approach to connect with and add value to prospects. They switched their strategy to focus on social selling. The results include a 60% increase in quota attainment and 600% increase in average deal size. If you want to be like SAP, check out this case study on how SAP make social selling a success from our friends at Vengreso. Great advice in the video story here: Listen to your customers and prospects. Find or create articles that will help them. Do not spam, share sensitively and at the right pace. Build a rhythm to establish your authority. It worked for SAP.
Bob Woods did a great job earlier this year of collating the statistics that show the impact of social selling. Your competitors are doing it: 69% of sales professionals use social selling to build their pipeline. And your clients are listening: 84% of B2B buyers use social media to research buying decisions, 92% engage with industry thought leaders through social. That’s the building blocks for your social selling business case…
LinkedIn shared a useful breakdown of the sectors where social selling is working best. Granted, their research is all about their own tool, Sales Navigator – but it’s a useful indicator, with over half of the 14 industries surveyed seeing more than 50% of their revenue being “influenced” by Sales Navigator. Conclusion: you should probably try it..
Good to see some industry specific tips for social selling. We liked this focus from Paladin on tips for financial advisors looking to build their business through curation and social selling. Don’t try to write your way to a better pipeline, spread the wealth through content curation. Lots of valuable insights here for any sector – if you want to be regarded as an expert, you need to consume content and learn something new every day.
3. Social Selling Books
We read lots of books on social selling this year (and yep, we wrote one too). Here’s a few we humbly recommend for your 2018 reading list if you missed them last year.
Any Social Selling best of post worth its salt is going to feature Jamie Shanks (ours certainly does). Jamie is CEO of Sales For Life, who have established themselves as leaders in training and resources to build your Social Selling Mastery. Jamie’s Book “Social Selling Mastery” is part personal story, part playbook for building your social selling skills, habits and routines. It’s a great read. Here are our 20 key takeaways (and we could have done 40. Next time…).
Ok, so this is our own labor of social selling love from earlier this year. We curate a lot of the insights in the posts included here, along with our own thoughts on making social selling work through smarter curation and building daily habits. We’re really grateful to the gurus who helped us with quotes and insights – many of them feature in this list too. Download our free book here.
4. Lists and Tip Posts
A truckload of list posts were written on social selling in 2017 with practical do’s and don’ts. Here’s our list of the best lists:
Here’s a good list of 27 tips to be a better B2B seller from LinkedIn. They include several about curating and sharing good content for social selling: Tap into your tribe’s knowledge. Listen to your prospects and share relevant content. Be an information concierge: content is your currency for building relationships. One tip a day will see you through the rest of January. Check back in Feb for more..
Lots of the insights we’re sharing here are from a set of generous and insightful gurus on social selling. They’re the people you should be following if you want to stay on top of the latest greatest tips and insights. We put together a list of 25 Social Selling Gurus that we think you should be tracking. See the full list and a round up of their latest content here.
We love LinkedIn. It’s a great tool for social selling. But sometimes, well – sometimes you get an invitation to connect that feels like you’re at a cocktail party that’s gone very, very wrong. You’ve probably been on the receiving end of a few of these 12 examples of LinkedIn social selling fails from David Meerman Scott. For every one of this examples (and his acerbic takedown), there’s a right way to do it. If you’ve been affected by any of the examples in this list, read on – there’s a better
This post flips around that disaster list. It’s from Vengreso’s Brynne Tillman – it encourages you to get back to LinkedIn basics before you get all clever with your video feed. She shares 10 tips for making you more appealing to prospects in your network. Brynne’s right – sharing valuable content is at the heart of being useful to your network. If they’re learning from you, that’s a vital step towards buying from you.
Business to Community shared 8 mistakes to avoid in social selling. Even though their list is focused on smaller businesses, they’re relevant for everyone. We like Number 8 – You neglect the other people in the room. It’s not just about appealing to your target buyer. 7 people are involved in most B2B buying decisions. You have to influence them too, and the people who influence them. Don’t go too narrow.
90% of top performing Sales Professionals use social selling according to LinkedIn. If you want to be in the top tier of them (not in a competitive way, of course, see above), GetBase shared 3 ways to dominate social selling . Treat your prospects like heroes – pay attention to what they’re doing. Use Analytics – pay attention to what they’re sharing and engaging with. Provide context – go beyond just sharing a link and add your personal insights. Good practical tips for anyone who wants to get ahead on social selling
Sales pros who want to build relationships already know it: Social Selling works. A post from Shane Gibson defines social selling success. It’s not about broadcasting and shouting louder than your competitors on social. It’s about building trust and credibility. He shares some great statistics on social selling for financial advisors: 79% of advisors using social media gained new clients through social selling. If you like those numbers, check out his post.
We’re on the list post express we know, but this one from Digital Marketing Institute dives into plenty of detail. If you want to make social selling happen in your team in 2018, there are 7 clear steps here. We like the focus on content here. If you’re going to build relationships and trust on social networks, you’ve got to share insights and add value for people. That means finding and sharing great content – powered by good curation, of course.
We had a great 2 days at the Social Selling Summit in June. And we didn’t even have to leave our chairs. The virtual summit featured 15 great experts and 2 days of online sessions with lively discussions and chat between attendees. Very smart way to run an event, kudos to Jamie Shanks and the team at Sales for Life for putting it all together and being so generous with what you shared. Here were our 26 key tips from the event.
5. Content Curation and Social Selling
Lots of posts this year joined the dots between smart content curation and its value for social selling. We may have been responsible for a few of those. Here are some curated highlights.
What makes social selling successful? One way is to look beyond your promotional content, and find, filter and share content from different sources to establish your authority. Content curation can power social selling, take some of the pressure off your content marketing, and help you to help your clients and prospects with insights. Matthew Royse shares some tips on content curation (yes, by interviewing us) in his recent post.
We are what we share. Is what you’re sharing on social helping prospects, or pushing them away? Useful analysis by Sales for Life here on the types of content that engage buyers, and how to keep track of what’s working. What you share and when you share it makes a difference. That’s what good content curation is all about.
Salespeople need to be learning animals – keeping pace with new trends in their industries, their clients, and sales best practices. They need to do it for themselves of course, but also for their clients who expect them to be experts and consultants who sare valuable insights. That of course is what social selling is all about. Finding the insights and sharing them with your clients is why content curation matters for social sellers. Here’s a blog (guest posted by us, in full disclosure) from Matthew Royse with 10 tips on how to curate content for social selling.
We turn to Koka Sexton quite a lot for social selling insights. In this article, he explains that all social selling really means is providing value. We like his definition of the social seller as an “information concierge”. You’re helping buyers to make the most educated decision, even if that decision doesn’t result in them buying anything from you. As any concierge knows “You need to add value that exceed whatever you’re asking for in return”, and that’s what good content curation delivers.
“Visibility creates Opportunity”. That’s the mantra of LinkedIn and Hootsuite veteran (and actual army Veteran) from that man again, Koka Sexton. He was a guest in June on the always interesting Social Selling Podcast from Linking Into Sales. He shared lots of great insights on where social selling is going, how LinkedIn works from the inside, and how AI can help sales professionals be more effective. He’s another big fan of the 5:3:2 rule: if you want to build visibility and authority, share other people’s content. Like this. Literally what we’re doing right here. Did we do it right Koka?
6. Helping Sales Teams and Building Habits
Finally – with social selling you’ve got to go from talk to action, and help it happen every day for your team. Here are a few choice posts with that focus:
B2B buyers are on social media. 80% of them use social media when making buying decisions. Ok – so what to do about it? How you conduct yourself on social as a sales professional makes a huge difference. Hello, social selling – Nice introduction to social selling and how to get your team started on social selling by Matt Goldman.
Talking about social selling is all very nice – but how do you motivate sales teams to put it into action? Tim Hughes is an expert on making social selling happen for teams. This week he shared some insights on ways and means to motivate sales teams to try social selling. Hint: sales professionals (and we include ourselves here) will find a way around anything that seems a chore and not relevant to hitting targets. That’s your starting point.
If you could put in 60 minutes a day to get a 60% increase in your sales figures, would you do it? Let’s say that’s a yes (I think that’s called an assumptive close in the business). So how would you spend that hour on social selling? Here’s some suggestions from us on how to invest 60 minutes a day to build a social selling habit. Your mileage may vary, but just going from zero minutes to sharing one article a day is a big shift.
As everyone knows by now, cold calling is dead. If you want to engage prospects and clients on social, you need to share useful content with them. Harvard Business Review shared their insights, including some great stats on how effective it is to just simply be helpful on social media. If you’re responsible for helping a sales team find and share useful content, start here: How Social Selling Helps You Win
So that’s our take on the must reads of 2017 – but let us know what we missed. We hate to miss stuff. But we love to curate the best on social selling for you. Much more to come in 2018…