Rethink Your B2B Sales Funnel for Social Selling Triumph
Are you finding it a challenge to integrate social media into your sales funnel? The problem may not be your social media strategy, but the way you’re looking at the funnel itself.
To really put your social media strategy to good use, start looking at the funnel from a new perspective.
Social Media and the Traditional Funnel
The traditional B2B sales funnel has three core stages: top of the funnel (ToFu), middle of the funnel (MoFu), and bottom of the funnel (BoFu).
At the ToFu stage, you’re not trying to make a sale, but simply seeking to make customers aware of your brand; you want the right people to know you and your solution exists. You might use Facebook here with targeted ads, sharing blog articles and podcasts, or YouTube videos to encourage people to become fans. Once they begin to follow you on social media, then you can interact with them and educate them, moving them deeper into the funnel.
At the MoFu stage, you’re still not making the sale, but rather earning their consideration as viable option. LinkedIn and Twitter are great channels for B2B social media prospecting at this phase. Case studies, demos, webinars and testimonials are all good content choices, when your prospects are actively comparing their options.
At the BoFu stage, you’re enabling leads to make a purchase decision. This is where trust comes into play. You need to make the purchase decision easy and comfortable, with clear buying paths and a worry-free path to closure. LinkedIn is valuable here too because it gives you a chance to engage in discussions on groups and via direct message, but you can also use Snapchat, IM, and Twitter DM to answer specific questions. Any social channel that allows you to directly connect with your prospect can be valuable.
Adding Three More Steps
Looking at the funnel in a three-stage approach can be helpful to some extent, but it doesn’t take all of social media’s power into account. In reality, the customer journey is too complex given today’s multi-channel, multi-screen habits to be represented in a straightforward funnel. People come to your website from search engine results, via direct traffic because of an advertisement they saw, through any number of social channels where you’re active or people are talking about you. It’s tough to fit this all neatly into your three-stage funnel.
On the other hand, because we still need some way to manage the challenge of solid lead generation, conversions and sales, the funnel concept remains alive and well today.
The traditional B2B sales funnel stops at the sale, moreover, but we all know the work is never done at that point. Social media gives brands a huge opportunity to leverage customers after the sale, which allows them to build more leads. To do this, we have to look at three additional stages in the customer journey, where your customers are now using your product, forming opinions about and talking about their experiences. A strategy approach to social media can help you leverage this stage of the funnel into more leads for the ToFU stage.
Utilize Customer Reviews
Pew Research shows that 77% of buyers say it’s important to be able to read reviews from other customers before making a purchase, and 82% read reviews before making a first-time purchase with a brand. Nearly half of all shoppers say those reviews help them feel more comfortable about making those purchases. It’s no wonder, then, that sites with more customer reviews tend to have higher conversion rates.
To make this work for you, feature customer reviews prominently on your site. Encourage customers to leave reviews whenever possible – through any touch point you have with them. Share customer reviews in your promotional emails, and share specific reviews as social media posts to help bring awareness to new followers.
Why this works: People trust recommendations from peers more than any other source – whether they actually know the reviewer in real life or not. When you make it easy for customers to provide reviews and make it easy for potential customers to find them, you are almost guaranteed to lift your conversion rates.
Nurture Your Community
It can be hard to manage brand chatter and nurture your community while keeping up with everything else you need to do for the company. You’re pressed for time, and there’s always a new community to participate in, or a new metric to track. That’s where a comprehensive social media dashboard can help. It eliminates the need to constantly log in and out of countless accounts, and allows you to see the 30,000-foot view of what’s going on in your business.
Monitor your brand and address issues and kudos in real-time. It will help build relationships with your current customers, and generate trust in your prospects as you act in real time to solve problems. The dashboard can also help you identify key community influencers, and turn those insights into actions to help grow and strengthen your brand.
Why this works: Social media is your brand amplifier. You won’t always control the conversation, but using the right tools ensures you can participate at the right time, in the right voice. This is a huge leg up when it comes to closing more deals. After all, people do business with people, not brands.
Connect with More Leads on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is huge, with 433 million registered users and approximately two new members joining every second. If you haven’t personally connected with your leads on LinkedIn, after the sale is a great time to reach out and connect.
Some 94% of B2B buyers research their options on their own before making a purchase decision. This means your prospects generally find your content on their own, provided you’ve done a great job at optimizing your digital footprint. Your existing connections will often lead to new visitors to your content.
Capture user data about these visitors with a good lead capture tool that shows what companies your site visitors come from. Then use that information to search for common connections on LinkedIn. From there, ask for introductions from people you already know to ease new prospects into your funnel.
Why this works: Timing, relevance and trust are critical in B2B sales. You can easily build solid relationships by being introduced by someone you both know, and offering information specifically related to the content they viewed on your site.
Is Your Funnel Structurally Sound?
Your sales funnel doesn’t stop with the sale. Social media can help you make the sales funnel a never-ending loop, as touchpoints after the sale continue to strengthen relationships and grow additional leads.