How to Navigate the 3 Challenges of B2B Social Selling Jonathan Herrick One of the biggest changes to B2B selling over the past few years is the emergence and growth of social. It enables salespeople to build better relationships, increase credibility, and creates a faster way to connect with potential customers online. But these changes in the sales landscape don’t come without a few pitfalls. Think of “B2B Social Selling” like manning a ship. A stronger sail could get you to your destination faster, but running into choppy waves could cause you to capsize. With the right marketing strategies for B2B social selling, you can overcome some common challenges to make your online selling smooth sailing. Problem 1: Using the Wrong Channel All social networks are created equal when it comes to driving sales for your business. If you’re focused on B2B, then chances are the channels may be quite a bit different than if you operate a B2C business: With so many options out there, a big challenge for most small businesses is deciding which social platforms to spend time and resources on. To start off, it’s important to understand who your ideal buyers are and where to find them online. While Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram have their place, according to a study by The Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Linkedin and Twitter were a top the list of sites for B2B sales and marketing: The reason? Both platforms have a large user base (LinkedIn alone boasts over 400 million profiles) yet they both enable sales to connect to prospects on a one-on-one level. By using their search function, you can filter based on role, company and even the groups or hashtags your prospects engage with. As you narrow your list of ideal prospects, the next step is to engage in a two-way conversation with them. Remember: it’s better to give than receive. Begin engagement by sharing and liking posts/tweets from your prospects – it helps to foster goodwill and build brand awareness. Once you have established trust with your audience, reach out and make the connection. Problem 2: No Customer Value People want to do business with people they know and trust. That means publishing irrelevant, self-serving content online without insight into customer interests will leave you missing the mark: There is no better way to turn a new contact off than to give them an immediate sales pitch. So in order to make B2B social selling work, you need to shift from a selling first mentality to that of a thought leader–providing useful resources that solve your customer’s greatest challenges. In fact, according to the B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, 71 percent of buyers cited the importance of relevant information from sales professionals. To change the conversation and add value to your audience, you can use tools like Linkedin and Buffer to help you to capture data on your audience’s interests and track engagement: With real time insights, you’ll know what topics they are talking about on social and can better align your sales strategy with appropriate, valuable content. The more you can make your social content more audience-centric and less sales-centric, the greater chance you have to see a return on your sales efforts. Problem 3: Lack of Tracking A big stumbling block for B2B selling on social is the inability to track how all their online activities are converting into sales. It is not enough to just measure likes and followers. To truly determine the effectiveness of your social efforts, you need to dig deeper. Metrics such as the Linkedin SSI score can be a good early indicator that your sales team is active and finding success with social selling. A study by LinkedIn found a strong correlation between sales reps with high SSI scores and their ability to exceed quota. Another way to track social ROI is to use technologies such as a sales and marketing automation software. Marketing automation enables sales reps to capture online prospects, segment them, then nurture connections with relevant content based on where they are in the buying process. It also gives your business tools to grow your social relationships and visibility into which connections are visiting your website and converting into sales opportunities. When you put a sales and marketing platform in place, it gives you insights into which social channels are converting and which ones aren’t: B2B social selling is an effective way to boost your conversations and bring in more sales. In fact 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media. By finding the right social channels for your small business, adding value for your audience and tracking your results, you’ll be in better position to navigate the social seas.