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The best salespeople are spending an hour and half a day on social media on average – and it’s great for business

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New research recently released by professional network LinkedIn has revealed that Aussie salespeople who spend up to an hour and half a day on average on social media could be more likely to hit their targets compared to their colleagues who indulge in it less. The best salespeople are also using a suite of digital tools in order to close more deals and grow their revenue.

The rise in social media adoption among salespeople is causing a shift away from the traditional approach of the ‘hard sell’ towards ‘social selling’ which places importance on building relationships. In a survey of 401 Aussie sales and business development professionals, over two-thirds (65 per cent) rated the ability to quickly build trusted relationships as more important than a prospect’s willingness to buy when it comes to winning new business.

More than a fifth (22.2 per cent) of respondents spend 5-10 hours on social selling tools each week. This time investment is clearly paying dividends, with 83 per cent of top sellers considered social selling to be ‘very important’ to ‘important’ in their ability to close deals.

What do LinkedIn’s findings mean?

Mark Dick, Head of Sales Solutions, LinkedIn Australia and New Zealand, remarked, “In the sales function today we are finding two types of professionals – those who immerse themselves in online tools and intelligence, and everyone else.”

“Success in today’s social world relies on sales professionals being able to navigate complex social structures within the businesses they want to work with,” he went on to say. “The top salespeople are using social media to gather intelligence on their prospects and using that effectively to build trusted relationships more quickly.”

Other findings from the research include:

  • Social selling tools are now more widely used than customer relationship management (CRM) tools, favoured by 65 per cent of respondents over 32 per cent for CRM
  • 83 per cent of top salespeople rely on social selling tools, compared to 65 per cent of overall sales professionals
  • Nearly half of the respondents are more likely to spend more time using social selling tools in the next year
  • Over half of the respondents (51 per cent) are also closely working with their marketing department to prospect customers

Here are some top tips for successful social selling

These days the typical B2B sales process involves more than five key decision makers from across an organisation so sales teams need to build relationships right across the board as well as make use of connections within their own business to be successful.

LinkedIn has put together three top pieces of advice for any business and/or salesperson looking to master and succeed in the art of social selling:

1. Every relationship matters

The most successful social sellers make use of all the connections within their own organisations to build relationships with their customers and prospects. Social media has made it easier to see where those relationships exist, whether through an old contact of the CEO or a family friend of the office intern.

For example, LinkedIn’s TeamLink feature within its Sales Navigator tool enables salespeople to see who in their organisation might be able to make the key introduction, even if they are not personally connected with that colleague on LinkedIn.

2. Be relevant

Social media has put more, if not all, of the power into the hands of the buyer. Today business decision makers can be up to 60 per cent along their decision-making journey before engaging a vendor so it’s more critical than ever for salespeople and brands to find a way to engage their target audience within that initial part of the journey. You have to sell before you start selling!

Having a well-established online professional brand and sharing relevant content are two quick and simple ways to grab the attention of the right decision makers.

3. Pick your moment

Any good relationship takes time. It’s unlikely you’d ask someone to marry you on a first date, so don’t just jump in cold with a big ask in business without investing in learning more about your prospect first.

Social media has made this much easier by enabling you to keep track of the relevant decision makers within companies, take note of the articles and updates they share in a professional context, and look for opportunities to engage them with relevant content of your own.

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