How B2B Professionals Can Use Social Selling to Accelerate ABMUlf Schroeter
Since 2004, Social Selling has steadily grown worldwide. Interest in Social Selling began to rapidly accelerate in 2012, and since then it’s become a core part of millions of B2B professionals’ go-to-market approach.
Similarly, worldwide interest in Account-Based Marketing (ABM) rapidly accelerated in 2015. Since then, it has become a core element of B2B sales & marketing strategy.
In this article, we share insights on how Social Selling can help B2B professionals improve and accelerate their ABM results.
What Is Social Selling?
There are many definitions. Here is ours:
Social Selling is a Sales & Marketing practice that enables Sellers to build their personal brands and networks, grow demand for their services, and generate qualified leads, by leveraging social media platforms.
Many people think that the key to Social Selling lies in social media platforms. However, our belief is that the key to Social Selling lies in the Personal Brands of the Sellers.
Social Selling is the only digital channel that uses personal brands as a core component of its value offering. In our opinion, this fuels its enormous potential for organisations.
What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
ABM is a marketing strategy that a B2B organisation uses to engage with a high-value target organisation as if it were a market of one.
ABM starts by identifying the high-value accounts that a business wants to target. Once these accounts are identified, marketing, sales, and customer success teams work together to engage with the key influencers and decision makers within those accounts.
The goals of ABM are to differentiate the organisation from its competitors, accelerate the sales cycle, and increase lifetime customer value.
How Social Selling Accelerates ABM Programs
Social Selling can accelerate your ABM program in several ways. Here are a few:
- Targeted Account Research. The LinkedIn free search tool or Sales Navigator are critical for ABM. They allow you to search for high-value accounts, identify key influencers and decision makers, and gain insights into a company’s structure, priorities, and challenges. Sales teams can then leverage these insights to tailor their approach to each ABM account, shorten the sales cycle, and improve conversion rates.
- Personalised Engagement: Connection Requests. Social Selling allows organisations to engage with high-value accounts on a personal level. Sellers can leverage the LinkedIn connection request feature (always use a personalised note!) to connect with dozens of relevant decision makers and influencers. This can generate enormous connectivity for organisations within their ABM accounts.
- Brand Building for ABM. First degree connections are a key ABM tool for differentiating the organisation’s value, especially at the individual level. Sellers can leverage their new connectivity to post their organisation’s content on the news feeds of their ABM contacts. This newsletter is one example: it allows our agency to promote our content (Social Selling) to key influences and buyers to whom we are already connected. Your Marketing team can play a key role here, by providing specialised ABM content to each Seller for their target segments.
- Relationship Building for ABM. Leveraging their new connectivity, Sellers can use the Direct Message feature to directly share valuable thought leadership (e.g. whitepapers or eBooks) with their ABM connections. This value-laden process builds relationships at both the individual and organisational level. Again, your Marketing team plays a key upstream role here.
Ideas for Integrating Social Selling with Account-Based Marketing
If you are interested in specific ideas around how to use Social Selling to improve and accelerate your ABM program, have a look at these two:
Due to its micro-targeting and high-engagement features, Social Selling can play a key role in improving and accelerating any organisation’s ABM programs.
Our advice to B2B professionals: set up cross-functional meetings to explore how sales, marketing, and customer success can integrate Social Selling within ABM. The combined effect is likely to enhance your brand’s differentiation, shorten your sales cycle, and grow lifetime customer value.
Intersocial specialises in Social Selling for B2B organisations. You can find us on LinkedIn.