The Buyer Journey & Social Selling

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

Social Selling Buyer JourneyChinese proverb

The journey of the buyer usually begins with a single step called search. Buyers have questions and they are searching for answers. Google puts the number of B2B researchers who are online using search to research business purchases at 90%, which is where you can be helpful by providing the content that feeds that need.

“If only it were that simple.”

Common refrain

Creating and tagging content is what we marketers do best. Need a testimonial? A case study? A stat? We’ve got that. How about a demo video? We can get one made, but will it be effective? That depends in part on relevance and timing. At its essence, marketing is about matching customer to product or service. Social selling seeks to match content to customer in the time and place of their choosing.

You’ve seen the stats about how much research is done before a customer approaches a vendor. It’s estimated that a B2B researcher performs 12 searches before choosing to engage with a specific brand, which is why you want to meet customers where they are and provide what they are looking for at that point in time.

“I’ll know it when I see it”

Average customer

So, how do you know what they want and when? Well, you can consult the analytics from your owned and earned channels and that is always a good place to start. Understand what content people gravitate to and where they spend the most time. Then go beyond the reports and ask some questions of your best customers. Take them to lunch, buy them a cup of coffee or pull them aside at the next trade show to help you understand what motivated them and what was their experience in searching for a solution? What questions did they have, where did they look for the answers and what made them choose you? Marketers understand this concept as modeling, as in who are my best customers and where can I find more like them and it can be a valuable exercise for understanding what you are doing right.

Other typical factors social sellers will want to understand are who and how many people are involved in the decision making process and the unique needs of those stakeholders. What are the pain points or problems they are trying to solve? How close are they to making a decision and what kinds of content can you provide that will endear them to you?

So many questions, so little time, so get cracking ’cause recent research puts socially savvy sales pros way ahead of their standoffish counterparts.

About Victoria Bianchini

Victoria is an active and engaged social media manager with a penchant for creating and curating content that makes people think. She started her career on the Web with Prodigy, then was one of the founding members of before going on to work in marketing communications for and Sphere (an AOL properety). These days she has taken what she’s learned and helps business owners realize the potential of social media.