Effects of Social Media on B2B Sales
Authors: Heiko Fischer
Abstract: Social Media already plays an essential role in the business-to-consumer (B2C) environment. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram are successfully applied in B2C sales to attract new customers. The usage of social media in B2C sales is profoundly analyzed. However, scholars imply that there exist fundamental differences to the application in business-to-business (B2B). On the one side, social media in sales gains increasing attention from B2B companies that seek practical advice for using social media in sales. On the other side, scholars imply that there is limited knowledge on applying social media in B2B sales. Against this backdrop, our paper presents an overview of recent research on social media in B2B sales.Therefore, we conduct research focused on social media in B2B sales. We search in scientific databases such as Business Source Premier, Science Direct, Emerald, Springer Online Library, Wiley Online Library, and Google Scholar to identify relevant literature to this highly topical research theme. Based on our literature research, our paper aims to answer two research questions: What is social media, and how can it be applied in the B2B sales process? What are the effects of social media on B2B sales?To answer our first research question, we provide definitions of social media and explain its application in B2B sales. Additionally, this section describes recent developments of social media and social CRM. This first section will build the fundament for our further research on social media in B2B sales.To answer our second research question, we try to determine how social media affects the sales practices within the B2B sales process. Therefore, we analyze the identified literature in detail. We can find out three main effects of social media on B2B sales based on this. First, the information situation is changing and leading to new challenges in sales. Second, social media profoundly changes the relationships between customers and sales. Third, social customer relationship management must be established as a new management approach to meet the customers’ new requirements. Afterward, we present a discussion on social media in B2B sales, summarize our results, and present relevant future research questions.Summing up, our proposed paper gives a profound overview of social media and how it can be applied in B2B sales along the sales cycle. It investigates the main effects on B2B sales by presenting three key changes. Our paper closes with a discussion that suggests future research questions and advice to B2B companies.
Keywords: social media, B2B, Sales, digitalization, Customer relationship management
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