As sellers use tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Yammer or blogging, the number of people that they now maintain some degree of one-to-one contact and connection with via various channels and groups have dramatically increased.
After creating a plan of attack, social sales people will use social media and the social insights they uncover, to become more adept at navigating the first few critical phases of the sales process: investigate, connect, early qualify and sales call research.
Why Social Selling Fails
In a nutshell, a great number of salespeople (and their managers) stubbornly refuse to accept that times have changed. Social selling is about recognizing that the buying process is controlled by a better informed and more connected customer. Buyers aren’t just more informed, they are busier!
B2B technology buyers receive an average of… 6 phone calls and 14 emails per day from vendors they do not know. Personally, I think these numbers are probably conservative.
Inundated with data and sales pitches, it’s not surprising that buyers return… 10.5% of phone calls and 9% of emails from new vendors.
Now that informed buyers can thoroughly research their own options, a call from a new sales representative can be more of a nuisance than a service.
Yet… salespeople are busily trying to brush up on their cold calling skills AS IF that will make any difference at all.
Social selling also fails when there is no plan, a lack of understanding of how to use the tools correctly, poor selling skills, inconsistent execution and a focus on measuring the wrong activities.
Spray and Pray is Not an Effective Selling Strategy
Using social channels to “broadcast” generic messages to as many potential prospects as possible will pretty much get you nowhere. Keep in mind that the majority of people who continue to beat the cold calling drum are trainers who sell their approach to cold calling as a service. They have an agenda.
If buyers will choose to return 10.5% of calls out of all the calls they receive, yours better be pretty darn good. If you do not make a clear case for why they should call you back (and I’m not talking feature pitch), they don’t.
What You Know Matters
Sales remain a relationship-driven business, and the power of “who you know” is trumped by “what you know about who you know.”
Today’s customer is demanding relevance from salespeople, expecting them to know about them, their companies, and their needs before engaging. This has heightened the need for comprehensive sales intelligence that brings together both traditional data and social media.
As colleague, Jonathan Farrington recently put it in a blog post he authored, buyers make purchase decisions for their reasons NOT the sellers reasons.
It is imperative that sales professionals leverage the social web to actively listen, engage, and add value to the customer conversation.
Salespeople who leverage the social web to actively listen, engage, and add value to sales conversations will still be in a sales role in 2020. Will you be one of them?
NOTE: email and phone stats from 2012 International Data Corporation Survey.