Many of us in the Social Selling circles talk about a stat that CEB has researched that reveals that 57% of a B2B buyer’s journey is now done online without a sales person. In fact, this data point has been out for some time now.
For whatever reason, this stat has rubbed many people the wrong way!
In fact, there was a mini-white paper of sorts that was released by a company (claiming to be impartial) that cried foul and pointed out how the research wasn’t conducted properly and that it lacked efficacy in many areas. Incidentally, the organization that released this was a cold-calling training company.
More recently, at a conference I was speaking at, a very senior sales consultant took the stage to openly bash this 57% stat as “ridiculous” and “flat out wrong.” Wow, please tell me how you really feel.
Caught In the Weeds
What these consultants fail to understand, and which I hope you inherently pick up.
Here it is: who cares what % of people are going online? The question is, do you believe that your customers are online (in whatever capacity and degree) learning and researching? If so, doesn’t it make sense to be online to educate them?
Forrester Research says that 70% of the B2B buying journey is done online. See my point here? Just take an honest look at your buyers and industry to see if they’re going online. If you don’t know, ask them.
1. The anti-social sales consultants today will write and publish anything. Here are the falsehoods they spread:
2. Learn cold-calling training first before Social Selling.Statistics around buying journey research is false, wrong, and incorrect.
3. ROI around Social Selling isn’t there.
I think you get the point.
Buyers Are Learning Without You (And You’re a Buyer Yourself)
For whatever reason, the anti-sales consultants seem to believe that buyers are dependent on you for learning. This is wrong on so many levels.
Give buyers the choice of learning with or without you and “x” % will learn on their own. I’m not a guru or prophet but to me, this is common sense. I’m sure the percentage will differ by industry and even down to the person.
The key is to find people at various stages and convey that you understand them, their business and the industry. Isn’t this what we all try to do over the phone and e-mail? Well, what’s so bad about approaching them on social media?
The Bottom Line
When did Social Selling become such a dirty word? The anti-social sales gurus have done a lot to discredit Social Selling but they haven’t said why. They’ve said that stats are incorrect but they fail to miss the bigger picture. They say you should learn “this type of selling” before Social Selling.
Their advice is incredibly dangerous to your career.
Here’s the bottom line. You should give yourself every advantage available. Learn all ways to sell to buyers today, this includes formal phone-based, e-mail, messaging training and more. And yes, Social Selling too.