We’ve been in several conversations recently where the term social selling has been the focus. It’s not surprising that sales organizations are feverishly trying to equip their reps with the tools to communicate value and differentiation digitally.
It’s a direct result of how we’re communicating. Research shows that leveraging social in your sales process drives results.
- Social Media helps sellers exceed quota. (Source: Forbes)
- Most corporate decision makers use social media to inform their purchase decisions. (Source: IDC)
- Best-in-class sellers use social media to build a stronger pipeline. (Source: Aberdeen)
However, the term social selling gives us pause. (That’s a nice of way of saying we don’t like it). The term implies that social selling is (1) a different type of selling and (2) that social media can do the selling for you. Both are fundamental misunderstandings.
Social selling isn’t a magic bullet. Encouraging your people to share content on LinkedIn or Twitter doesn’t mean that the leads will start pouring in and the sales will close automatically. Using social in the sales process provides a way for salespeople to engage with prospects and customers digitally.
Your salespeople can gain hundreds of followers, thousands of likes and even make valuable connections, but if you don’t have a system that capitalizes on these interactions, you’ll never see the kind of return that drives bottom-line impact.
When you use social in your sales process, you aren’t “social selling.” Rather, you’re using the media to bolster your connections and remain visible in front of contacts. You use social networks to build engagement throughout the customer lifecycle. Social Media Expert Jill Rowley uses the term magnets. Forget the hunter/farmer mentality. Today’s salespeople need to be magnets for their prospects and customers. You become a magnet by sharing valuable information and engaging digitally as well as through traditional avenues with prospects, clients and customers.
Social selling isn’t the easy fix to your sales struggles. Doing a one-day training on Twitter isn’t going to enable your teams to engage digitally with their buyers, if it doesn’t draft into other sales behaviors and accountabilities.
Think about it. If social selling is replacing your day-to-day sales activities, then why are there social selling conferences? Shouldn’t we just do live Twitter chats?
Those who attend a conference on “social selling” still understand the importance of having a conference. They get the value of a face-to-face meeting. That’s why we hate the term social selling. Social selling is simply selling. Good sales behaviors work in social just like they work in person.
Social needs to draft into those tried and tested methods of B2B sales – articulating the value and differentiation of your solution in a way that has meaning to the customer. Social media are tools that help you meet your buyers where they are and communicate that message of value and differentiation digitally. They don’t replace the importance of an in-person conversation or interaction.