Everyone yelling, “Me, too!” as they hop on the social media bandwagon makes for a crowded ride. Understand the platforms, distinguish yourself, and get ahead of the noise.
Want to get the real scoop about social selling? There are a lot of fakes out there and a lot of confusing lingo. My colleague, Barb Giamanco tells it straight and without techie talk. And she even mentions my favorite topics—relationships and referrals. Here’s Barb’s take on social selling. She is an expert:
“I admit the “me too’s” make me crazy. It’s not like I haven’t seen it before, and I suppose it is inevitable. People pick up on a catchphrase that is garnering attention and before you know it, they are jumping on the bandwagon to proclaim that they are the expert.
That’s what is happening with social selling.
There are various opinions on what social selling actually means. Those opinions come from folks out in the world of sales and from marketers, which I admit confuses me, because marketers don’t sell.
Here’s my view…
I see social selling as the ability to integrate social technology into the front end of your sales process. Salespeople are always looking for ways to get in front of opportunities before their competitor can and using tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and InsideView gives them the leverage that they need to make that happen.
It requires learning new skills. Not only do salespeople need training on how to use the platforms, but also they need to understand how the various platforms fit, and they also need to know how to adapt their communication approach and behavior when engaging a prospect.
This is about selling. Not marketing.
I’m all for marketing and sales alignment. In fact, I happen to believe that with social media in the mix, we need that alignment more than ever. But come on…marketers taking the stage to discuss social selling? I worry that this is an example of using new terminology, but simply using it to mask old processes. As I have written before…social media marketing is NOT the same as social selling.
As you think about social selling, you need to ask:
- Are marketers doing the referral building in a sales territory or with an individual rep’s social networks?
- Are marketers out there prospecting for new, individual business opportunities?
- Are marketers doing the sales research before calling on prospects?
- Finally, are marketers maintaining the individual and personal relationship with the customer after the sales has been made in order to secure more business down the road?
If your goal is to shrink sales cycles, improve win rates, increase the percentage of profitable deals and thus, increase revenue, then you need to have a social selling conversation with someone who has both the in-depth SALES experience coupled with the technology and social media experience needed to achieve your goals.”
Barbara Giamanco is the co-author of “The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media”. An experienced Social Selling advisor and speaker, Barb was recognized by Inside View as one of the Top 25 Influential Leaders in Sales. She has a proven, 30-year track record in generating sales and capped a corporate career at Microsoft, where she led sales teams and coached executives. Throughout her sales career, Barb has sold $1B in products and services.