Somewhere along the line, with all the talk about Social Media, Social Selling, Sales 2.0 and web tools it seems that some have gotten the idea that Social Selling eliminates the hard work of selling.
Axel Schultze, CEO of XeeMe and Chairman Social Media Academy shares his definition:
“Social selling is a sales technique, leveraging social media, to get and maintain a 360 degree picture of the clients and their influencer on an ongoing basis. It allows sales people to manage and maintain 5 times as many active customers compared to traditional techniques. Social selling allows an average sales person to become a top performer simply by using tools and techniques that allows them to socialize in a way that was only accessible to the top sales guard in the past.”
I like the first sentence of Axel’s definition, and the second sentence rings true as well. But that is where my nodding head stops. “Social selling allows an average sales person to become a top performer simply by using the tools and techniques that allows them to socialize in a way only accessible to the top sales guard in the past.” That my friends is a recipe for disappointment and possibly a new career. It is simply not true.
I attribute one of my favorite quotes about web tools to Trish Bertuzzi, President of The Bridge Group,
“A fool with a tool is still a fool.”
Now that is from a gal that has and is leading a sales organization that is successful in this new economy. She knows full well the hard work that is still required to achieve success in sales.
I’d like to add
“A fool using Social Selling is still broke.”
Gerhard Gschwandtner, CEO of Selling Power magazine and Sales 2.0 Conferences defines Social Selling (or Sales 2.0) this way:
“Sales 2.0 relies on a repeatable, collaborative and customer-enabled process that runs through the sales and marketing organization, resulting in improved productivity, predictable ROI and superior performance.”
Nowhere does he say that it is simply a matter of applying some tools and techniques and then, presto, you will have a team of top producers.
Social Selling and web tools should simply be viewed as force multipliers. Deployed correctly, results will increase significantly as compared to a team that has not embraced the core principles. The game has definitely changed over the last few years. The top producers know that, and have been integrating this new thinking and awareness into their selling process. The most successful sales trainers are integrating modules for Web Tools into their curriculum.
Anthony Iannarino, a new friend and prolific sales blogger writes frequently about the continued importance of creating value for your customers. At it’s core, sales success is still measured by the ability to create and deliver value for your customer. Social Selling tools and tactics can expose a larger number of opportunities than would have been available previously. It still requires focus, discipline, structure and understanding of your customers needs to succeed.
Social Selling is not for the lazy! It is for those who are willing to integrate Social Selling into a proven sales approach.
If you want to learn more about Social Selling, I recommend exploring Social Selling University, powered by InsideView and Koka Sexton (@kokasexton). For another example of what can happen when you use only Social Selling techniques in your selling activities, read Nigel Edelshain’s post titled: Sales 2.0 fact that can Kill your Sales Funnel.
Where do you stand on this? Tell me what you think.