Last week I had conversations with two people, one in B2B sales and the other a business owner, who insisted that almost no one they know, other than sellers of consumer products, has made sales from social media. One of these individuals said to me, “I bet you that only about 1% of B2B’s actually get any business through social media”. My response was, “Then we’re in the 1%, because we’re a B2B company and we get regular inquiries and even close sales as a result of our efforts in social media. We’ve never even met some of our new clients in person. And, by the way, our B2B clients are seeing results as well.”
You might argue that the reason we make sales through social media is because, well, we SELL social media consulting and management. But the fact of the matter is, we are no different than any other company selling services to other companies. We could be selling accounting services, legal services, office furniture, or printing services, and we would still be strengthening our brand, increasing our visibility and expanding our pool of prospects by using social media. Why? Because we like results. After all, sales is still about numbers and sales cycles, and you never know where in the sales cycle your latest tweet or blog post will hit the decision maker.
We still use other sales strategies, such as in-person networking and even cold calling, but the in-bound inquiries we get as a result of our social media efforts almost always turn into sales.
It’s true that a good portion of B2B’s are not seeing any sales as a result of social media. But, in our experience, that’s because many B2B’s aren’t actually using social media with any regularity. All of the reasons are familiar- “It’s a time waster.” “We don’t have enough time.” “It’s too confusing.” “Until we know the ROI, we’re not touching it.” These are all valid reasons, of course. They just don’t help you expand your network and reach.
Social media is not rocket science. Sure, some of the tools can be confusing at first, and changes are always happening. However, like traditional marketing, the “trick” to social media comes down to a strong brand, good content, consistency, frequency and some strategy thrown in for good measure. Using a social media consultant, just as you use a sales or business process consultant, can help you simplify the process and put you into the fabled “1%” of B2B’s that make sales through social media.