by Kassandra Sparks
on December 4, 2014

[VIDEO] B2B vs. B2C Social Selling: Insights from Richardson's Client Forum

PeopleLinx recently took part the Richardson Client Forum. It was a great event–frank, open, honest discussion with a high-powered group of senior Sales Enablement and Training leaders at industry leaders. One of the high points (OK, maybe I’m biased) was the panel on social selling, moderated by the ever-insightful David Meerman Scott and featuring Mike KunkleScott Kozek and PeopleLinx’s Michael Idinopulos.



The panel tackled “first principles” of social selling, including the differences between B2C and B2B when it comes to social.

Traditionally, social media has been a tool for B2C marketing. This makes sense when we think about the B2C sales process. B2C sales are largely impulsive and emotional. The B2C path to purchase is often short, and almost never involves reaching out to sales reps. (How often do you contact a sales professional before picking up a new pair of shoes or your groceries for the week?)

B2C enterprises focus on brand awareness: encourage as many people as possible to run out and buy your product as soon as possible. Social media is a great way to make this happen. It connects enterprises with huge volumes of potential consumers with lower cost, time, and resources than ever before. No wonder social marketers were jumping out of their seats with the advent of Twitter and Pinterest.

B2B is different. Social’s value to B2B is completely different. It comes down to the nature of the B2B sales process.

The B2B sales process is not about brand awareness or tapping into your buyers’ impulses. B2B purchases are often higher cost, and therefore higher stakes. B2B enterprises have thousands of customers, not tens of millions. The B2B path to purchase is much longer, and the sales professional is involved for at least 40 – 100% of it.

For a B2B enterprise, social’s power is helping to create and nurture one-to-one relationships that support a purchase decision. As Michael said in the panel, “In the B2B world, so much depends on that personal relationship between the buyer and the seller. That’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s where business gets done.”

The panelists discuss a few ways B2B sales teams can act on this. Here are some highlights:

  • Sales listening is different from marketing listening. We’ve all heard that we should listen on social, but the question is how? While marketers are listening for customer feedback, reviews, and brand reception for their company and competitors, sales professionals should be listening to their clients and potential clients. As Michael says in the video, some of the most important information you can learn from listening on social is who just got married, who started a new job, whose daughter won a little league conference. These are the insights that turn prospects into leads, and leads into deals. (34:00)
  • Metrics from social media strategies need to be married into sales metrics. (18:00)
  • At an enterprise level, CRM needs to be one system, it needs to be one bible, it needs to be one truth. And that is critical for social selling. Enterprises need to focus on how to integrate social CRM into existing CRM systems.  (24:00)

So there you have it. Social selling is crucial for B2B sales, perhaps even more so than B2C, and through metrics, system implementation, and careful listening, B2B sales professionals can see results.

Special thanks to Richardson for inviting us to speak, and allowing us to share the stage with well known thought leader and author David Meerman Scott; Mike Kunkle, Sales Leader at GE; and Scott Kozek, VP of Education and Development at Union Savings Bank.

PeopleLinx has joined FRONTLINE Selling! Click here for the press release.