Social selling is a sales technique that leverages social networking services to identify prospects, build relationships, and close more deals.
Unlike social media marketing where companies target specific audiences — think expecting parents interested in nursery items — social selling focuses on nurturing one-to-one relationships with business leaders and prospects. It essentially means, “being genuinely helpful online and maybe selling eventually.” In social selling, sales professionals are playing the long game instead of eyeing immediate returns.
Social selling may sound optional — sales people already leverage so many channels — but it’s an essential cross-selling motion in the modern sales toolkit. How do we know?
- Salespeople who use social selling are 51% more likely to meet their quota, according to LinkedIn.
- B2B buyers spend 27% of their purchase consideration time conducting independent research online, compared to only 5–6% with a sales rep.
- B2B buyers consume an average of 13 pieces of content before choosing a vendor with 53% of that content found on social media.
Wth B2B social selling, sales leaders meet their current and future customers on social media, where it’s easy to connect and share information, while employing a personal touch.
Here’s a list of our favorite social selling tools for you to consider to assemble an ideal technology stack to improve and streamline your social selling efforts.
Top 10 Social Selling Tools
1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Social Selling Index
LinkedIn is the dominant professional network and the most essential B2B social selling platform. Thankfully, LinkedIn offers Sales Navigator, an easy-to-use feature for sales professionals to discover, save, and segment LinkedIn leads. It provides an advanced search option to find your ideal customers based on specific criteria, such as job title, company size, and more. Sales Navigator also offers real-time updates on your prospects and customers for improved communication.
Another useful tool from LinkedIn is its Social Selling Index that works in tandem with Sales Navigator to build and measure how your social selling strategy stacks up in these four key areas:
- Establish your brand
- Find the right people
- Engage with insights
- Build relationships
The Index gives you a score for each of the four pillars, which adds up to one final “SSI score.” This is essential to understanding how effective your social selling strategy is and for improving in areas you may be lacking.
Hootsuite is a popular tool for sharing and managing social media posts across platforms. It’s also an effective tool for social listening — keeping track of prospects’ online conversations about your industry and brand. With Hootsuite you can identify important prospects and influencers, engage with them through social media, and measure the effectiveness of your outreach efforts. Content libraries allow you to save your frequently used replies so that you can deploy them efficiently while engaging with multiple prospects — and save yourself from embarrassing typos.
3. ZoomInfo ReachOut
Our ReachOut feature simplifies your social prospecting process. With this Chrome extension plugin, you get access to a prospect’s direct phone numbers and email addresses from ZoomInfo’s B2B database when you view their LinkedIn profile. While in the profile, with one click you can export the prospect to Salesforce or Outreach, or send them a direct email.
ReachOut makes it easy to integrate B2B data directly into your existing workflow. It’s the perfect solution for recruiters who’ve found that LinkedIn has become oversaturated, or for sales reps looking to prospect within their standard workflow.
4. Bambu by Sprout Social
Your sales and marketing teams aren’t the only ones who can impact your social selling strategy. An employee advocacy tool, like Bambu, allows you to harness the power of your entire organization’s social media reach. All of your employees can help generate leads by sharing information and content on social media.
The key to turning your employees into social media advocates is for them to share authentic content that is accessible and easy to navigate. With Bambu, employees can see and share the latest content with just a few clicks while staying on message.
As your organization grows, your sales enablement content will inevitably live in multiple places. This can waste valuable time for your sales team as they search for the right document to share with a prospect.
Seismic is a centralized tool that makes it easy to find the right content at the right time. It even recommends the best pieces to share with clients and prospects. Seismic makes sure that everyone on your team has the most recent version of your branded collateral — no more pouring over four versions of a pitch deck wondering which one to send — while also allowing for on-the-fly customization.
You can reply to a prospect’s tweet or leave a comment on their LinkedIn post. But for the ultimate personal touch, a short video reply is an excellent way to engage. Vidyard allows your reps to create and share video responses that immediately warm up their outreach and can stand out in a sea of mentions and replies. Even better, because reps can see how individuals interact with the video, they can prioritize their follow-up with the most engaged prospects.
If sales reps want to organically engage with potential customers, they have to know where to find them. BuzzSumo allows your reps to discover what’s being talked about in their sphere and home in on a prospects’ concerns and needs. Instead of spending hours scouring the internet, BuzzSumo allows you to set up search criteria and create alerts so that you can join conversations when and where they happen.
You already understand the importance of a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Nimble is a CRM designed for the social media age. The platform organizes your buyers and leads and allows you to keep track of your entire relationship with them — including your social media interactions. With Nimble, your sales team can quickly import a record of what their prospects have been talking about on various social media platforms.
Social selling really begins with social listening. Meltwater helps you understand how your industry, your competitors, and most importantly your company are being discussed on social media. The social listening platform scours online forums like Reddit, news coverage, social media channels, YouTube videos, and even podcasts for mentions of your company or key terms you’re interested in. Your sales team can leverage this data feed to stay ahead of trending topics, uncover market opportunities you may have missed, and gain insight into how people view your brand with sentiment analysis.
10. Google Alerts
Setting up a good old fashioned Google Alert is a free and easy way to stay in touch with your leads, allowing reps to engage in timely, relevant conversation. Sales reps can set up Google Alerts for mentions of their prospects, whether they’ve received recent funding, or launched a new product, as well as keywords related to their industry.
How do you choose the best social selling tools for your business?
Before you begin assembling your social selling tech stack, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind to avoid adding techno-clutter and extraneous tasks. You want social selling to be a value-add, not a drain.
Here are several key questions to ask when deciding which social selling tools will benefit your sales team:
- What are your specific goals? Do you want to begin more conversations in social spaces? Share more content? Attract prospects? Break into new markets? Knowing what you want to do will help you decide what tools you need to get there.
- What are you currently using? Look at your toolset and your team’s experience. What’s working? What isn’t? And what do you wish you could do?
- Where are your customers? Knowing where your prospects “live” online and how they prefer to consume content can help identify the tools you need to reach and engage with them efficiently.
- What can you learn? Tools that have reporting capabilities can help refine your social selling approach by showing you what outreach works best. If you plan on making social selling a bigger part of your overall go-to-market strategy, you’ll want a tool with robust analytics.
- What about integrations? The last thing your sales team wants is another tool that doesn’t fit seamlessly into their sales rhythm. Look for tools that work with your existing tech ecosystem.