How To Buck The Trend of Social Selling Failure for Profound Success

The 2015 State of Inbound report from Hubspot is out, and it’s not pretty if you’re looking at it from a sales perspective. The two biggest eye-openers being:

Social selling is still more hype than reality. However, pockets exist where interest is on the rise — notably among executives…

Prospecting is the most difficult step of the sales process.

So executives buy into it (social selling) and it easily (when process is applied) addresses the biggest challenge that sales faces, yet it’s still “more hype than reality.”

Hmm… having run a program for the last two years that has been responsible for over $4.2MM in brand new business strictly using social prospecting (what I prefer to call “social selling”) I can attest to how effective it is, regardless of how savvy the sales person implementing it is with social, technology, etc. Let’s look at the problem.

Social Selling Best Practices Need

“Social selling… I like it,” says the exec. “Go make it happen sales team,” is the marching order. What’s next? Herein lies the problem.

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There have not been properly defined best practices when it comes to social selling, which was the first thing that I put in place for the sales force I work with. Here are the rules of social selling that impress out of the gate:

•    Don’t waste time on social — you must be laser-focused, so use the tools that each platform gives so that your attention is singular-minded, targeted and eliminates all of the noise.

•    Get active! Actively share all of that great content that your marketing team is making readily available for you to share across all of your social platforms (wait, marketing is doing this, right?? They better be!) If you’re not active on social, you’re not relevant. This content will keep you top of mind, as well as position you as a valuable resource. Marketing has to not only create great content, but make it easy to share.

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•    What’s your strategy? Having a LinkedIn profile is not a strategy… that’s like saying, “I own pants!” if I ask you how you’re planning on maximizing a big business networking meeting that has many great prospects and contacts registered. You have to have a game plan — targeting your ideal prospects, saying focused on them and… this leads me to my next bullet.

•    Know, like and trust. That’s what it’s ALL about! If you’re trying to automate everything, broadcasting a thousand pre-made tweets daily or anything else that is not building relationships, you’re missing the boat. And no, marketing can’t do it for you… the interns can’t do it for you…

Tweet: You cannot outsource a handshake.

It’s about real relationships, so find prospects, listen, engage and interact. Apply what you’ve learned about sales in this environment and you’ll be golden.

‘Sales and Marketing’ or ‘Sales & Marketing’

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Imaging if the starting pitchers and relievers of your favorite baseball team (Go Cubs!) sat in two separate dugouts and threw in two separate bullpens. They’d probably feel pretty separate, when the truth is that the function of the starting, middle relievers and closers are all part of the winning process and have the same goal in mind, just that they enter into different points of the cycle. The same is true for the sales & marketing process. It’s all a single funnel — and in the best scenarios, the Starter (Marketing) hands the ball over to the Closer (Sales) in a comfortable position to win.

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Sales and Marketing sounds like two separate pieces, which is how the two units, unfortunately tend to operate. We need to see more ‘Sales & Marketing’ teams. That being said, Marketing needs to be more involved in making technology decisions, such as CRM platforms and engaged in how it’s used, since there’s a confidence issue with CRMs. They need to be powering the sales force, for one powerful consistent and congruent message.

See how Proforma has been able to successfully leverage social media and grow our footprint and bottom line via our Social Media White Paper.

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