by Jeff Molander
Time to read: 4 minutes. Social media in B2B sales is filled with bullshit ideas that don’t work. Successful B2B sellers aren’t trying to influence prospects; nor persuade buyers to choose them on social media. Are you using your blog to PROVE your product or service is worth investing in? They are. Are you using LinkedIn to create confidence in the buyer—rather than the product or service? They are. Hmm. Might your competitors be creating confident buyers in ways that creates trust in them… and connects to their sales funnel?
Foster Confidence in the Buyer not in You
What if you could make buying what you sell a logical “next step” in a journey your prospect is on—instead of something to price shop or even contemplate? You can if you shift the goal to being a thought provoker—not just an engaging thought leader. Successful social media in B2B sales is all about using 3 key success principles that are founded in one big idea: Instilling confidence in the buyer—not the product, service or company.
Why are so many B2B marketers using content marketing to attract online buyers, but getting so few sales out of it? We’re all using blog articles, videos, white papers, ebooks—engaging customers and educating them as a way to cozy up and SELL to them. But why aren’t more of us getting LEADS and SALES from this strategy?
Because most of us are missing the most important part of the equation: Confidence. We’re too busy being distracted by aimless storytelling and pointless engagement. And because we’re being given so much bad information about social media in B2B sales to begin with.
For the record, creating confidence in buyers is an age-old, tried-and-true tactic. And that’s the genius of it!
Engage in Ways That Causes RESPONSE
Pushing out gobs of blogs, videos, ebooks, white papers and such—and NOT seeing leads and sales as a result? The missing piece is likely response. What ends up happening with “content marketing” is we push out LOTS of content. We’re told by “experts” that quantity matters—frequency matters.
What ends up being overlooked is a plan to create response to what you’ve painstakingly published on social media.
There’s a big focus on frequency of blogging, updating Facebook, pushing out videos… but as part of that process we’re taking our eyes off the prize: the quality of what you’re putting out there and the DESIGN of it (to create response).
The end result is your business pushing out loads of CRAP that has not call to action—does not connect to your sales funnel! And crap comes in 2 flavors:
- Knowledge that your customers or prospects already have (things they already know… posing as new information).
- Things that don’t matter to your customers as much as you think they do.
In both cases what causes this problem is a focus on what “experts” claim works (and what actually does not). Make sure you have a laser focus on content marketing sales conversion. Here’s how…
Effective Social Media in B2B Sales Creates CONFIDENCE (in them, not you)
So what to do? Make sure your content marketing and everything you do on social media creates MEANING.
Ask yourself, are we…
- Telling lovely stories that don’t have a point or don’t serve a specific call-to-action within our blog, video or paper?
- Pushing out messages rather than designing provocative content that provokes prospects in ways that gets them to take an action… that leads them toward becoming more confident buyers? Are we focusing so much on the frequency of publishing content & engagement that we’re overlooking response?
- Speaking in meaningful ways with customers that get them to take an ACTION? (that connects to the sales funnel)
Design Social Media in B2B Sales to Create Confidence
The truth is your prospect does not…
- Understand your thing (product or service)
- Want to value your thing
- Believe YOU—that your thing will do what you claim for them
- Think they can actually DO what you want them to take action on (use your thing to create the needed result)
- Feel like they can afford it
So, what’s the common element that could help you overcome these objections? What’s the killer ingredient that changes everything for your prospect?
The key to effective selling has always been to make customers believe not in the product but in themselves—so much that they pull the trigger and buy. An educational approach to social selling offers powerful tools to help customers get confident—help them feel like they CAN get what they want, on time, without any heads rolling and even with a sense of joy and accomplishment.
So when you create your next blog post or series of blog posts… or white paper or ebook… or a check list that helps customers remember what to do make sure you create these 3 things:
- Confidence: Make sure you’re helping customers solve problems, learn new skills and become smarter buyers in ways that create results in advance of their purchase. Because when we start helping customers become more confident buyers we end up earning their trust. Why? Because human beings TRUST the source of their confidence.
- Curiosity: Make sure you’re explaining your remedies in ways that creates clarity AND active curiosity. You’ve got to blog or produce ebooks or produce videos in provocative ways… in ways that make exploring more about what you’re talking about irresistible to readers or viewers.You’ve got to create an “AH-HA!” moment that creates HUNGER for more details in your prospect. THIS creates that response I’m talking about. You’ve got to make them think, “hey, I never thought about it that way… that’s dangerous… or there’s big opportunity there… I need to get more access to that kind of thinking.”
- A Way: Make sure you’re always showing prospects a way to take IMMEDIATE action on the thoughts you’re provoking. Be sure you’re helping customers choose a pathway to get more detailed information on the remedy (and to become a business lead).
Sh*t Social Media ‘Experts’ Say
You’ve heard “the experts” say, “you can’t sell on social media… people aren’t there to be sold to.” Well that’s just not true.
Social media is FILLED with people expressing latent and implicit buying intent!
Every day people are firing up their Web browsers and typing questions about their fears, pains, questions, goals they’re trying to achieve or risks they’re trying to avoid into this thing called Google. And every day they’re landing on blog sites, YouTube videos, LinkedIn groups that provide ANSWERS to those questions… solutions to those problems.
B2B buyers are finding new ways of achieving their goals—paths to take the help them avoid risks in clever ways, for instance. So to say that all we can do is influence people on social media or that it’s just something to “do branding” with is pure nonsense. We have have all this latent and implicit demand expressing itself out there. People need our products and services!
Don’t let this nonsense get in the way of using social media in ways that can help you—to help people via your product or service! (and to get paid for doing so)
Whatever you do with social media in B2B sales (and content marketing) resist the urge to take the “soft sell” approach and hoping sales show up. It doesn’t work as well as what I just explained above. Good luck.
And remember the difference between B2B content marketing that sells and that which does not is 1) Response that connects to your sales funnel and 2) A focus on creating confidence in the buyer, not in your brand/business/yourself.
Photo credit: Mahalie
About the Author
Jeff Molander+ is the authority on making social media sell. He's a sought-after corporate trainer to small businesses and global corporations like Brazil's Petrobras. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded what is today the Google Affiliate Network. Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His new book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.