Is Facebook moving into the social selling space? And if so, could Facebook be the next LinkedIn killer? Members at Facebook’s development team revealed to Sales for Life executives the company is planning to expand into the professional network space by 2019.
This mockup tab represents what the setup would look like. If you click on the professional tab it reveals your entire professional network: your prospects, your clients, your colleagues—everyone. And you decide which information to share with them. This was the way it was explained to me. The data within Facebook becomes the denominator.
When you login, Facebook will show you the different views, but will take different types of data towards each view. So you’re never meshing—unless you decide to mesh.
A Major Blow To LinkedIn
If these stirrings are true and Facebook is in fact looking to introduce a business platform that B2B sales professionals and all professionals could use, it will be a major blow to LinkedIn. Not just from a user perspective, but also from an economic perspective. Because Facebook would now be directly competing with LinkedIn for ad dollars.
So, how will this impact salespeople?
Salespeople will basically have more avenues to get in touch with net new prospects and existing clients. They will also be better able to collaborate with these people in new and exciting ways. All of this will help sales teams build relationships faster and on a deeper level.
If you're thinking this is crazy, just think about the features Facebook already has.
Facebook already has video calls, Facebook live and Messenger. You can be in touch with someone without physically having to be on the phone, without physically having to be face-to-face with them. You can continue the conversation well after your call or email has ended all on one platform. For salespeople, this would be a game changer.
How Will Facebook Benefit Social Selling?
It’s like saying, how did Twitter benefit social selling? Twitter is great because it allows you to collaborate, and it allows you to research. Then you have LinkedIn, and now you’ll have Facebook. The more choice we have in the market, the better our salespeople can be, right?
A report by International Data Corporation (IDC) and McKinsey Global Institute found improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise the productivity of interaction workers, what they define as "high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals," by 20-25 percent. This graph from the report breaks down the findings.
However, Accenture found that sales productivity has been tumbling. Five years ago it was at 41%, compared to last year, at 36%. Furthermore, 55% of sales reps found their company's sales tools to be more of a hindrance than help in terms of sales performance.
Could Facebook be the glue sales teams are missing?
Facebook’s entire strategy is not around social networking. It’s a productivity play. Think about the biggest groups of people that care about productivity. Sure, we care about productivity in our individual lives, but it’s in our work lives when it matters most. It’s in our work lives where organizations spend real dollars investing in productivity solutions.
When a company invests in LinkedIn Sales Navigator, they’re saying I’m paying thousands every single year to make sure that my salespeople don’t spend a lot of time performing a specific set of tasks. And that is quantifiably worth it to them.
Because they know that if they spent a thousand dollars on Navigator per user, it’ll save them an extra 50 hours a year. That 50 hours can be applied to selling time. And that selling time can yield x-amount of dollars for the business. That’s a very simple ROI.
LinkedIn is actually not in the business of selling—at least on the sales solution, social media or social networking side. They’re in the time business. They’re selling you time.
Facebook is actually the same thing. With all the different features Facebook is rumored to have, it will completely revolutionize the selling process. Because to find a prospect, communicate with them, and speak to them directly through that platform, and possibly even conduct an introductory meeting with them there, that could be massive.
Now, at that same time, LinkedIn may also have features that combat Facebook's rise into the B2B professional space. Especially now that Microsoft has acquired LinkedIn, the entire bevy of Microsoft Office 365, its suite, and all the horsepower Microsoft brings from the productivity center can now live within LinkedIn.
These are all really exciting changes for salespeople, accelerated by the modern buyer. Because customers are now on these online channels. And to find, source, educate, engage and develop a relationship with them is ultimately the goal of all salespeople.