The Outcomes of Using Social Media as a Tool for B2B Sales and Marketing

The Outcomes of Using Social Media as a Tool for B2B Sales and Marketing

B2B sales and marketing

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing and sales

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing and sales is highly competitive and organisations are always looking for new ways to improve their competitive advantage.
There are a wide range of technology tools designed to enhance the sales process and increase customer loyalty. Currently, one of the most popular tools for B2B sales is social media.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing and selling tends to be based on the use of technology to create content, develop social and professional networks and make improvements to the sales process. Technology has transformed traditional B2B and B2C (Business to Consumer or customer) sales tasks and techniques. The intention is to make them more effective in today’s complex digital-physical sales environments. Social media tools like Facebook and LinkedIn are frequently used for building and maintaining prospect/customer/client relationships.

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Common themes surrounding social media usage

There is a wide range of uses for social media in B2B marketing and sales, beyond building and maintaining prospect/customer/client relationships. There is, however, little research about the outcomes of these uses.

social media - B2B sales and marketing

Previous research

Previous research looking at the use of social media in B2B marketing and sales has found that:

  • 84% of VP-level customers have based their purchasing decisions on the quality of their social media interactions with the selling organisation.
  • 83% of organisations involved in B2B sales globally, actively use social media for the purpose of marketing and sales.
  • Social media’s role in business-to-business is increasing exponentially due to COVID and the increase in in-person social interactions generally.
  • Social media tools are associated with more integrated communication and higher employee engagement.
  • Social media helps employees enhance the sales process by leveraging digital channels to connect with customers during significant points in their purchase journey and can be used to create deep business relationships.
  • Organisations selling B2B can improve their product development capabilities by using social media.

A new study

A new study by researchers from the Indian Institute of Management – Indore in India and the University of Miami in America has looked at the trends and themes in B2B marketing and sales using social media and how it can increase sales.

 B2B sales and marketing


The study found that there are 15 primary themes related to social media usage for B2B marketing and sales:

  1. Social media has become a significant tool to collect intelligence about customers, the market and competitors.
  2. Many B2B marketing professionals are still unsure about ways to effectively use social media to improve sales. However, the explosive use of social media has created a “gold-rush” like atmosphere, where people follow the next ‘new thing’ without any critical analysis.
  3. Practising sales-service ambidexterity causes a problem. This is where service delivery people are increasingly expected to be part of the sales process and salespeople are expected to include service as part of their role. This often results in both service and sales people experiencing role ambiguity and conflict when this is expected
  4. Positive peer influence and support from the organisation, coupled with market readiness of products and services are precursors to the effective use of social media as a sales tool.
  5. The use of social media for B2B marketing only increases customer loyalty among high-status customers or those with smaller buying centres or groups of decision-makers.
  6. For small-to-medium organisations (SMEs) social media helps them access new markets and survive downturns in their original market.
  7. The use of social media by key account managers in B2B marketing is becoming more popular for a range of purposes, including intelligence gathering, understanding customer issues and, to a limited extent, maintaining and building relationships.
  8. Social media use is often a precursor to value creation in the sales process.
  9. B2B sales organisations that only use social media technology to retain their customers tend to experience low customer relationship quality. Building and maintaining relationships requires more than one approach.
  10. Managers should use both customer resource management (CRM) systems and social media technology to support the marketing and sales process and improve information sharing with their customers.
  11. Individual employee commitment to the organisation and high customer engagement both predict higher levels of social media involvement in B2B marketing and sales.
  12. Many salespeople are comfortable with using social media and integrating it into sales processes to build relationships with potential customers, but tend not to be consistent with its use.
  13. Using social media tends to enhance customers’ trust in salespeople and their belief in the products and services when they display integrity and benevolent intentions. This in turn reduces the customers’ perceptions of purchasing risks.
  14. Social media platforms such as Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter are now a significant part of the customer needs discovery process.
  15. Researchers are still unclear about the precise factors that link social media use and higher customer engagement.


Kumar, B., & Sharma, A. (2022). Examining the research on social media in business-to-business marketing with a focus on sales and the selling process. Industrial Marketing Management, 102, 122-140.

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Disclaimer: This is a research review, expert interpretation and briefing. As such it contains other studies, expert comment and practitioner advice. It is not a copy of the original study – which is referenced. The original study should be consulted and referenced in all cases. This research briefing is for informational and educational purposes only. We do not accept any liability for the use to which this review and briefing is put or for it or the research accuracy, reliability or validity. This briefing as an original work in its own right and is copyright © Oxcognita LLC 2024. Any use made of this briefing is entirely at your own risk.

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