Article

Kristin Smith
Kristin Smith 19 May 2021
Categories B2B, Social Media

Social Selling in B2B Marketing: The Rise of a New Trend

As an integrated part of customers' and businesses day-to-day activities, upcoming social selling and digital platforms offer them the ability to connect to products and services via online sources or mobile channels. Based on the current trends, social selling will become the dominant and preferred business model in the future!

Few significant factors are driving this shift, the leading factor is changing customer behaviour that focuses on delivering a differentiated experience to the target markets. Post-Covid-19 period, the new reality of selling is social and digital which is preferred by both B2B buyers and sellers.  

The big ‘Social Selling’ is here to stay and has now become the next normal!

S3 or 3S – Social Selling Seeking a Step Forward

A report notes that ‘B2B buyer is shifting from buying products and solutions to buying experiences that generate value from the first interaction to long after the order is placed’, also ‘B2B buyers are being influenced by their experiences as consumers.’ 

As a result, B2B customers seek experiences that are personalized, fast and easy, and deliver the outcomes that deliver value to their company with a broader understanding of online trends.

This shift in the importance of social interactions is reflected in customer behaviours. When researching the businesses, socially-enabled sales interactions as customer preference has jumped significantly, with suppliers’ mobile apps and social media or online communities showing their sharpest increase since 2019.

Interestingly, customers were already actively using supplier websites for this part of their journey as such importance of a supplier’s web page did not change much likely. Among Chinese buyers, mobile apps are twice as important for researching products, as they are for those in the UK or Germany.

In making a purchase, buyers cited a strong preference for self-service, with suppliers’ mobile apps more than doubling in importance since 2019. This carries on a pronounced trend of preference for social selling channels across every stage of the B2B marketing, which we first started tracking in 2016.

Social Selling Statistics

  • 49% of users say they use Google to find or discover a new product or item.
  • 51% of shoppers surveyed say they use Google to research the product they plan to purchase online.
  • 60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly using the search results such as the "click to call” option.
  • Before going to a store 46% of shoppers surveyed confirm inventory online.
  • Business can be contacted directly using the search results by 60% of smartphone users.
  • For an easier and faster purchase, 39% of smartphone users are more likely to browse or shop a company or brand’s mobile app well before.
  • 1000%+ more traffic is driven by SEO social media.
  • Text will always be the foundation of search so making sure the text around your website's assets is descriptive will help businesses rank well in search.
  • The top technical SEO tactic used by marketers to improve site performance is optimizing mobile performance.
  • 24% of landing pages, the least popular type of signup form, have the highest conversion rate.
  • 4% popups that are the most popular signup form, have the second-lowest conversion rate.

The New Business Ecosystem – Better Addressing Human Needs Through Fusion

Every organization’s C-suite executives have left the future growth opportunities on the table through a largely defensive mindset. For them, the top three outcomes or areas to focus on are:

  1. Improve risk management
  2. Accelerate the move to social technologies/platforms
  3. Improve productivity and efficiency

Through a combination of examples from the field and research, we explored how brands can fuse new partnerships that integrate social platforms and customer insights in their innovation road maps to delight and surprise the people they serve and look beyond what they do today.  

The early days of the pandemic helped incubate many creative, unexpected business partnerships to solve new challenges. Beyond the pandemic, there are many examples of companies moving outside of their traditional domains to meet emerging needs, such as ExxonMobil’s collaboration to create a new car care ecosystem in China.

Though entering new business partnerships was a distant second to digital acceleration initiatives (64% versus 36%), we see evidence that these new business partnerships have the most staying power after the pandemic.

How do we know this? Or what is evidence of this whole research?

To prove that the social selling has impacted the business models in B2B Marketing, we asked the board members and executives that if they would carry on with the new models or revert to old models once the current situation subsides?

They indicated the changes in well-order that says, highest of all the business models will change and the rest would be retained to some degree! 

For organizations to tap into the bottom-line results of fusion and competitive advantage, the C-suite should move toward aspirational and innovative partnership strategies and shake off its largely operational mindset that drives future growth.

Own the Roadmap is the Social Selling Trend

With executives seeing marketing and sales as the second-most critical function in the coming months (63%), after social selling (68%), CMOs are positioned to advise the organization on its innovation strategy and should rise from being just the “receiver” of a strategy to customers downstream.

Covid-19 pushes social selling innovation to the forefront, marketers can help their organizations to open new doors, new partnerships, and new social platforms that capture their customers’ hearts and minds.

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