I’ve been in sales for the last decade (since the dot com bubble of 2000). I’ve seen the inside of at least 500+ sales organizations. There are so many sales models – some were fads, some just didn’t work, but the best ride the wave of evolution.
We are now in one of those fundamental inflection points in sales. We used to “cold call” our way into a business and educate the buyer. I assume anyone reading this can agree that “educating the buyer on a new solution” is not always necessary anymore (nor the best use of your time). The buyer doesn’t need your call to get answers. The buyer has endless online tools to research their way into becoming an educated consumer. As an example, there are car dealerships across North America experimenting with “sales rep-less” environments. They’ve realized that a customer has done so much homework before walking into a dealership, that the costumer is even carrying a pricing sheet outlining their custom made car. The dealership doesn’t need a sales rep talking about Bluetooth or heated steering wheels, as the customer already knows this.
The inflection point we are in right now is the migration of social media trickling down from personal use, to marketing, to now sales (and mainstream across all departments). The big question is: will Social Selling be a fad like “3D Mailers” or Marketing Open Houses where – only to be replaced with innovation? Or is Social Selling a fundamental shift in sales that will transform the job function like Microsoft Outlook did?
If you’re curious, 3D mailing was very popular in the 1990’s by adding a widget in the mail, inside the envelope with your brochure/prospectus to make the mailer look more important (3 Dimensional). After 9/11, the post office didn’t appreciate random widgets in the mail.
If you honestly believe that social media in the sales department is either a fad, or “something for those new Gen Y reps”… you’re dead wrong. Social media inside the sales department is and will be as vital as your email account. Social media in the sales department will be as vital as your telephone. It’s only a matter of time. All you need to do is look at the consumer world to realize that a vast majority of our population is glued to social media.
If you’re still skeptical about social media as a mandatory tool for sales professionals within the next 2-3 years, then do me a favor. I’d like you to Google “Social Selling”. After you’re done reading the 100’s of articles, case studies, success stories on the subject, I hope you’ll see social media as a necessary evolution for your sales team.
If you don’t want to be left behind the 8 ball – you need to start to take action. The following dozen blog posts on utilizing Social Selling strategies using LinkedIn can help you start. If you are really looking for some hidden gems on how you can attract a very specific prospect, I recommend you check out – 42 LinkedIn Tips
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