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In a world where all market stakeholders are well connected on social media platforms, it’s natural for purchase decisions to be impacted by social interactions. This trend is captured in what is known as social selling strategies. SAP is leading the social selling game, investing in efforts to gain real-time insights about potential buyers, build trust, and pitch products at the right moments.

SAP’s focus on social selling is evident from the fact that the ERP giant has trained more than 7,500 sales and marketing personnel in leveraging social channels for product promotions and sales. This effort is focused on leveraging modern B2B product research and product purchase behaviors. The tools used to execute social selling strategies are LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Grapevine6, and Twitter.

Pull Marketing In Place of Push Marketing

In the words of Malin Liden, VP at SAP Experience suggests that social selling is about using the personal knowledge and personal relationships of people to uncover opportunities online, build rapport with potential customers, and eventually make the sale. Social selling begins with trust building, and then pulling people towards the brand rather than pushing promotional content at them. Liden has also talked about how the company faced challenges in making salespeople trust the social selling paradigm, and had to execute a pilot test in 2014 to prove the efficacy of social selling.

The SAP ‘Social Selling’ Experiment

SAP had two of its teams sell similar offerings with small sales cycles using LinkedIn Sales Navigator. However, only one of the groups was taken through an enablement and training process, wherein principles of social selling were explained to them. By ‘feeding’ interesting things to customers, the team that used these tactics had 7 times the pipeline building success as the other team, after a period of 9 months.

The Tools Used for Social Selling

LinkedIn Sales Navigator: This tool was used to identify optimal engagement opportunities and touch points to share the right targeted content with the right audience, at the right time. It allowed salespeople to plan on account activities, identify and follow up with leads, and listen for prospects’ problem statements.

Tools such as Twitter, InMail, LinkedIn connections, WeChat, or Xing was used to make initial contact with prospects.

SAP’s Jam Social Collaboration tool: This tool allowed salespeople to showcase sales expertise, serve well planned and timely content to prospects, and provide a forum for two way communication.

Grapevine6: This tool helped to share highly relevant and engaging content to build credibility and trust with audiences.

Manage A Social Selling Strategy For Your Brand

To manage a social selling strategy for your brand, you will need strong social content capabilities, along with the project management functionalities that a good CMS can offer. Some methods to trust are:

Use a CMS to create and manage digital content easily. Teamweek allows teams to input calendars and crucial resource management data such as timelines, task details, and member availability that are essential components of a successful project delivery.

Run branded webinars using tools like Clickmeeting in order to educate your audiences and bolster your image as an authority on a subject that B2B purchasers are interested in.

Ensure to add fresh content every day to your social profiles in order to ramp up activity on your brand’s social profiles. Make use of tactics to increase your Facebook page engagement and follow it up with SMS marketing for starting healthy conversations that convert into leads. Moreover, use a social listening tool like Sentione to monitor online discussions and brand mentions from thousands of web sources.

Tremendous Success For SAP With Social Selling

After its early adoption of social selling back in 2014, SAP has upped the ante and has 10,000+ LinkedIn licenses in use now. Top sellers at SAP have recorded achievement rates of 160%. Social listening, as well as content management, plays an integral role in social selling. This helps sellers understand what the prospects are interested in, and then create content targeted at their interests. SAP is on track to scale the model up, and being at the forefront of the social selling journey, setting the right examples for other ERP, CMS, cloud service, tech service, and even B2C brands.

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