A crucial aspect of the sales process is understanding and getting to know your prospects - and establishing relationships with them. As you'll already know, social media is a fantastic tool, which when used effectively can help you accomplish this step quickly and easily.
It has been said that marketers have made tremendous strides in growing their audiences on social media channels, but there have been concerns regarding how well social media can work for B2B businesses. Just by looking at HubSpot as an example, it is evident that social media works for B2B companies...
Social media expert Jennifer Fong said that, "Not only can it help you generate new leads, but it allows you to build deeper relationships with existing clients that drives them to purchase again and again". But how do you get from social media engagement to sales? Keep reading to find out more...
Listen, respond and be helpful
In order to generate new leads and bring in new customers, you have to dig deeper into what people are saying about your company. You need to be flexible enough to jump into relevant conversations to proactively engage with people who are mentioning keywords related to your business, brand, industry or even your competitors.
Your prospects know what kinds of issues they're dealing with, and like many of us, will turn to social media in the hope of finding a solution to their problems, so be there to answer them. By monitoring social media channels, you will not only be made aware of opportunities to engage with potential customers, but you can offer your help to them too.
Here's an example of the social media monitoring tool within HubSpot and how it can help you to listen and respond:
It isn't all about intercepting conversations either, but starting your own which will build brand awareness and encourage engagement. For instance, the above tweet where Katapult has been mentioned, we could respond and say thank you to @DanCarthy2 for sharing our blog, might not seem like much, but it's the beginning...
Don't see these opportunities for engagement as a sales pitch, use them to begin to build relationships.
Build relationships and keep engaging
Social media is a long-term commitment - you can't begin to use the platform and then ignore it. Once you have made a connection, it's vital to keep the conversations flowing and maintain engagement with your socially connected customers. By doing this, you will create more loyal followers, who will, after being nurtured further, be ready to engage more with your brand.
It's very easy for your business to be the only one talking on social media, and the real challenge lies withing keeping your clients and your prospects engaged, but if you spare time and attention to engaging on social media, you will succeed.
Jennifer Fong continues in her assessment of B2B marketers on social media, "The most important thing that salespeople need to know is that they need to develop relationships more than they need to develop leads, because good relationships will turn into leads. People share a lot of information, and if you monitor and listen to what they are saying, you will eventually be able to engage in a meaningful conversation with them".
Relationships, nurturing and developing an emotional connection will lead to leads - simple.
Provide opportunities for soft conversions
Its important to remember that not everyone who follows you on social media is going to be at the same stage of the buyer's journey. Some will be researching products, some will be just about to call you for a quote, others may not be interested at all. What you've got to offer your social media followers is a breadth of opportunities that allows you to gather more information to help turn this follower into a customer.
As well as offering content such as eBooks and webinars that require a form to be filled out to collect their data, offer soft conversion opportunities such as 'subscribing to the monthly e-Newsletter' or 'subscribing to the blog'. These conversions may mean the follower's journey takes a little longer to complete than someone who is ready to buy, but this helps you better target your followers dependent upon their preferences.
From these subscriptions, you are then able to provide followers with a mix of content that helps to push them through the sales funnel, while providing valuable information to them - giving you a better opportunity to convert your leads into sales.
Sales and marketing strategies...
Using social media engagement to nurture leads is just one part of your marketing strategy, and there are so many other ways that you can improve your lead quality and close more sales. To find out how you can do this, and what other digital tools you can take advantage of to boost your sales, download our free guide, Sales-ready lead generation for manufacturing businesses here.