Since the UK has come out of its last full lockdown we’ve seen many companies increase their online offering. With this in mind, we asked business owners and directors if they believe social selling has become more important during the lockdown.
“Yes, I have seen the difference in the traffic online to our web site from the activity we have invested in with our social channels. We have seen an increase of 382.3 % in traffic. The content which has been put out on LinkedIn and Facebook is engaging and June showed significant increases. An increase of over 73.6% new LinkedIn Page followers. An increase of 54.2% of followers on another of our pages.”
“Yes ! From an obvious perspective, physical meetings became, shall we say “difficult” and people still buy people. Social selling is not about banging away on the phones, it’s about using the medium to understand your potential customers and approach as a warm contact. With far more people sitting in front of their computers this channel has exponentially grown.”
“Social selling has become fundamental to the sales process. Before lockdown, social selling was well understood at a global level, especially within global suppliers of services across a wide range of sectors. Businesses like Teleperformance invested in Sales for Life more than 2 years ago, training over 150 senior business development directors across the global business in social selling. However, events, conferences, expos continued to prevail as the primary source of networking for new business, and lead generation continued to be dominated by email marketing and follow up engagement. As COVID19 has ‘sent all of us home’ so the manner in which businesses are engaging with one another has had to change fundamentally – and probably for the better. LinkedIn had already established itself as the premium social selling marketplace. With the intuitive dynamic that powers LinkedIn Sales Navigator, ‘social selling’ was already becoming an established channel. With every brand and its personnel able to present themselves online, at low cost and essentially become a microsite for their brand, it was never going to go backwards for social selling as a key channel to market. As many businesses found themselves clearing the agendas of board meetings to address the new work from home challenges for operations, so too in sales and marketing, teams were reassessing their approach to lead gen and nothing presents itself as more suitable to the times than social selling and engagement. One has only to reflect on the number of messages now received from LinkedIn business development managers seeking to connect and engage in ‘these unprecedented times!’ As a proof point, earlier this year, I became conscious that the nature of posts had begun to resemble Facebook. Posts were inane, self-serving and self-defeating in some cases. As COVID closed down every other channel for serious and relevant engagement, posts began to get more interesting. Feeds were now more captivating, well thought out and well written – sales managers had found the right side of their brain! Looking ahead to a new landscape of business networking and engagement that is unlikely to re-establish the conference type event at any scale, it is clear, social selling will only grow in importance to brands and their growth and expansion efforts.”
“100%. There’s absolutely no doubt about it. I’m not a fan of the term ‘social selling’ simply because it can imply that you’re simply looking to generate immediate revenue, constantly sharing content that will generate sales for your product or service. For me, it’s more about building long-term relationships that will impact the bottom line in the future. The last 6 months has created challenges and opportunities. With people spending less time in the office, it’s almost impossible to reach them using more traditional methods (telephone). Social media gives us an opportunity to begin meaningful conversations. It’s clear that people are spending more time on social media, engaging with LinkedIn and others far more than before lockdown. If you have something to sell, it’s essential that you have a social presence.”
Social selling is surely an avenue many companies have considered. Whether now or in the past, but do we believe it’s growing? The number of users has steadily increased over time on LinkedIn. So, there is no doubt an opportunity that has raised itself for B2B sales. Whether this is attributed to the lockdown itself or just a natural progression isn’t really the question business owners need to answer. It’s about how companies now move forwards in the future.