Does a Social Media Selling Strategy Make Sense
There’s lots of hype about the new paradigm, but very few measurable results to learn from.
The problem is we won’t have a choice. The world isn’t simple any more. Good old fashioned sales tools of cold calls, pitches, proposals and closes no longer work. Territories, targets, compensation plans and commission riders aren’t effective ways of measuring sales performance. Social media is rapidly becoming the only game in town, and changing everything.
It seems sales professionals, managers and representatives need something different – a strategy based on the use of social media, because that’s rapidly becoming the only game in town.
The question is how we develop such a strategy to suit our own individual mix of style, personality, product offer and market. We’ve been struggling with this question for a couple of years. Our research into the role of social media in B2B sales has become ever more complex and the results more confusing as the phenomena of social media has spread.
We started with some seemingly simple questions.
- Is Social Media changing the art of selling?
- Do professionals like us need a strategy for exploiting social media opportunities?
- Why would we bother when most of our business contacts don’t?
- Should we forget the fools gold promise and stick to the tried and trusted methods?
The hype suggests the answer is a definite positive. There seems no limit to the noise promoting Twitter, and Facebook, and Linked In. But practical experience is a lot less positive. While numbers joining social networks soar, numbers of tweets (updates) read and retweeted (republished) are dropping like stones. And content creation has plateaued. Less than 10% of our business contacts have Linked In profiles. Less than 1% have Twitter or Facebook accounts. None of them post updates we can use to connect.
Despite the lack of positive feedback we can’t help but recognise the world has changed. If customers can do stuff on the Internet, they will. Sales professionals need to be where customers are looking, and providing what they’re looking for.
Ultimately we agree with Dave Brock on Social Media and the Disintermediation of Sales People
But how can we work out an effective strategy so as to stay productive whilst building the future?
What do you think? How will you make the most of opportunities? Why wouldn’t you keep doing the same old stuff?