The bar has been raised for sellers and feels like it keeps rising.

The amount of information B2B buyers have is at an all-time high, buyers’ expectations from sellers have grown and changed, and sellers must now add more value than ever to help buyers along their purchasing journey.

According to Ryan Barretto, President of Sprout Social, social media has quickly become one of the best platforms available to add that extra value.

In a recent episode of the Winning The Challenger Sale podcast, he makes an important point: If your commercial organization isn’t prioritizing social selling, you’re missing a massive opportunity.

(And before you tell us that you don’t believe in the ROI—Ryan has some great counterpoints to that.)

As a seller, if you can become adept at social selling, you can fast-forward building a connection with buyers and understanding what they care about so that you can provide a tailored and differentiated sales experience.

It’s a win-win.

For all the social selling tips you need, listen to the full episode to hear: 

  • How the role of a salesperson must change and adapt to the modern buyer, particularly in how they want to use and experience social media
  • Social selling as a massive opportunity for commercial teams across all funnel stages
  • Demystifying the ROI of social selling, including the strength of its halo effect on your brand and sales cycle

Listen to “#68 Making the Case for Social Selling in Your Commercial Teams” on Spreaker.

Not ready to listen right now? Head over to your preferred podcast platform and save the episode.

Adapting as a seller to fit the modern buyer’s preferences

Growing digital savviness and social media activity have not only increased the amount of information buyers have at their fingertips, but have also forced a reconfiguration in how sales builds relationships with buyers.

Before a potential buyer ever reaches out to your sales team, they are already a majority of the way through the buying process (57% to be exact). This means to have a chance at increasing conversion rates, sales teams need to have more touchpoints with potential buyers to build trust before they enter the sales pipeline.

Now, with every opportunity for buyer engagement, sales must add more genuine value than ever—this is where social media is your best friend.

“Social media has provided an amazing platform to become a thought leader and really enhance your brand,” Ryan says. “You have this amazing opportunity to speed up the customer relationship and understand what they truly care about.”

So not only does social media allow you to serve the evolving needs of an increasingly independent buyer—it also allows you to build a more organic affinity with your audience through a more human approach to connection.

Social selling as a massive opportunity for commercial teams across all funnel stages

Social selling is a big term that encompasses a variety of activities on social, but no matter how you choose to operationalize it, social selling offers immense opportunities across all funnel stages.

According to Ryan, social selling has become a major channel to find AND win business. He dives into how it can influence each funnel stage:

Improving top-of-funnel engagement and lead generation

This stage gets the most press—social selling can undeniably offer the brand awareness that welcomes buyers to the top of your funnel.

You’ll also find a treasure trove of personal and professional information on social media platforms. With a little digging and a little listening, you’ll get a lot of insight into your buyer that becomes useful in prospecting and lead gen.

When looking for ROI on social selling efforts, TOFU is usually front and center because it’s easiest to track. How many leads did we get from LinkedIn? No problem.

Advancing a purchase decision with middle-of-funnel engagement

While top-of-funnel gets the most attention, Ryan points out that the middle funnel benefits shouldn’t be overlooked.

Success in the middle of the funnel requires connection and an established level of trust. If you want to progress buyers closer to a purchase decision, you can do so by sharing relevant content (think case studies, testimonials, social proof) in the places where your buyers are spending time.

“When you’re connected on social media and share a piece of thought leadership, amazing content, trends, or a new product you’ve released that is exactly what your buyer needs, they see that in their feed,” Ryan says.

By doing this, you stay top-of-mind and build a sense of reliability and presence with your audience.

Building confidence through bottom-of-funnel engagement

As a buyer nears conversion or deal close, the continuing research and connection happening with social selling becomes invaluable to building confidence in a purchase decision.

“All of that information can really help you dramatically customize how you’re pitching to your customers—even the language you use with them,” Ryan says. 

Ultimately, social media is a powerhouse tool for differentiation. If you’re ready to jump in and enable your teams to utilize social media, Ryan offers a few starting points:

  • Focus on usability and adaptability
  • Consider your audience when selecting a platform
  • Differentiate yourself
  • Consider trends and effective formatting

Demystifying the ROI of social selling

One of the most common pushbacks when debating the value of social selling is attribution. CRMs and attribution software can’t capture the halo effect of a strong presence on social.

Still, Ryan offers several other ways to track the ROI of social selling. For example, Sprout Social advises clients to use tracked links as part of their employee advocacy solution so that activity generated from employee social media activity is captured.

“When a company leverages something like social media employee advocacy, links in each post drive customers to a specific landing page that can be tracked through to revenue and attribution,” Ryan says.  

Another solid metric: earned media value (translated in $$$). Posting on social media is free, and every share, repost, and retweet counts as earned media. With the right analytics tool, you can quantify how much value you get from that earned media.

“At the end of the day, social selling is word-of-mouth at scale. It’s about reach and engagement,” Ryan says. “Some you can see and some you can’t. But you’ll still benefit because of how your team operates, drives awareness, and improves conversion rates.”

Want to learn more about breaking into social selling? Listen to the full episode of Winning The Challenger Sale where Ryan reveals more about enabling and empowering your team to enter social selling platforms, leveraging social benefits to improve customer sales experience and what the future holds for salespeople with emerging innovations in AI and beyond.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Winning The Challenger Sale podcast on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or just search for it in your favorite podcast player.

Andee Harris

Andee Harris is CEO of Challenger. Andee brings more than two decades of experience growing and scaling service and technology businesses. She has previously led multiple companies, both as CEO and Senior Vice President, through periods of rapid revenue growth, critical fundraising, and successful acquisition. These companies include Highground (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), TMBC (acquired by ADP), Syndio and Emerging Solutions (acquired by Emtec).