Will Social Selling become another Corporate millstone?

There is a lot of noise on the web around Social Selling; some great points are being made, some not so and others beggar belief – part of me wishes that it hadn’t been given a label or even had the word selling in the label. By having the word “selling” this means people jump straight to a perception that it is only relevant to the sales team and no one else. In Professional Services this is even more of a challenge as they do not have sales teams, let alone necessarily see themselves as a ‘selling’ their services, be it accountancy, law or property.

I absolutely agree with commentators out there such as Amar Sheth of Sales for Life @AmarSheth and Barbara Giamanco @barbaragiamanco on their views of Social Selling – if you are not following them, you should – the way people are buying is changing, that is for sure and organisations need to adapt to this changing behaviour of their customers or prospects – this is a given.

My concern is that once a company decides that social selling is the way forwards because it is the buzz word of the moment, they default to normal behaviour – It will have one champion in one division, namely the sales team – it’s got the word selling so why wouldn’t it be. Even with a great strategy to role the programme out across the sales team, if it is just one part of the business that adopts ‘socially selling’ , in my opinion it will just become a fad and then will fade into background noise – “oh yeah, I remember, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but to be honest, I didn’t really see the point – my old approach always worked, so why change”. How many of you have worked at an organisation where CRM was an unspeakable word? Our system is not fit for purpose, no-one uses it anyway, so what’s the point – I believe that social selling could go this way too for some organisations. It is like giving a child the latest toy for Christmas – initial excitement and then you find them playing with box it came in – it’s simple to use.

Outputs – if you do not explain the output they can or will achieve, it will not get off the ground. The same with any ‘system’ if you start with the input and they see no value, it will  be nigh on impossible to get the business to engage. Walk them through step by step of the customer journey and how they can influence it to the outcome they want e.g. revenue.

Relevant – may sound obvious, but make it relevant to your audience, if you don’t – as I have learnt – they will not engage.

Behaviour – I emphasise that this is not to be seen as something that they have to do like using a CRM system – this should become part of how they do business and communicate with their clients.

The sum of the whole – this is not just one part of the business doing this – everyone’s network in the organisation is part of the journey.

Who does what and why – Marketing need to provide content, content needs to come from the subject matter expert’s heads, once you have your content, your social team needs to ensure that it is fit for the relevant channels -(can your IT team share into their network, your Finance team into their network, Marketing team into their network and so on – if relevant of course) is the content being tracked back, are the subject matter experts sharing it back out into their network – this is not just a selling tool, it is so much more.

For me social selling is not a ‘thing’ or a ‘product; for me it more of  a ‘state of mind’ and it needs to approached that way in order to be successful.

Originally Published on Linkedin by myself in April 2015 – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-selling-become-another-corporate-millstone-alexander-low?trk=mp-author-card

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