Is social selling a waste of time for sales professionals? No? Yes? Maybe? The right answer: It depends.
Here are 3 ways social selling can be an utter waste of time (whether you’re a sales leader or individual contributor).
If social selling efforts aren’t tied to revenue.
Social for the sake of social is meaningless. Let’s face it, its useless to tweet and sharing content just for the sake of it. We may as well keep “liking” pictures of people’s lunches on Facebook in this case.
When you begin social selling, it’s great to start but it’s absolutely necessary to have a plan in place for revenue. This means that you begin to think empirically about how you’ll drive more leads with precision and convert these to viable opportunities for your pipeline.
You need to remember that these tools (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) are powerful business development and relationship building platforms. You must treat them with the utmost care. Treat them like the powerful business tools they are, not for personal reasons.
As one small example, having a LinkedIn profile look like a resume is an utter waste of time in today’s day and age. Additionally, do not join LinkedIn to simply connect with all of your work colleagues. You’ll be chasing the corporate tail if this is the case.
Instead, use these tools to build an audience. Your audience should consist of prospects/future advocates, influencers, and people that you can generally help with your knowledge.
Now that you’ve got all that in place, make sure you’ve got a framework to tie your initiatives back to revenue. We’ve got a framework here that’s been deployed thousands of times. It’s a great place to start and we know it works. Try it out (don’t’ worry it’s free).
Lastly, if you’re not able to tie social efforts back to revenue you’ll feel demotivated. Imagine investing all this time in something that doesn’t get any results. What a big turn off.
If you just tells reps to “figure it out”.
There are many companies we’ve talked to where sales leadership is more than happy to outsource all social media activities to a few sales reps in-house. "Here you are: go figure it out!" Like I stated above, you can’t just throw your reps into social selling thinking leads and opportunities will start magically flowing into your pipeline. If only it were that simple.
This means that sales leadership needs to take the time to research how they’re going to use social media as a viable sales channel. There needs to be a plan in place. Reps will be confused if told they should pilot something, figure it out, and then teach it to the rest of their sales colleagues.
You’ve got to have a plan of attack, and one tied back to revenue is a great start. After all, you've got to justify why all those likes, shares and comments really matter!
If you’re not using the tools you have properly.
We view social selling as an ecosystem of products/tools, processes and frameworks. This means you’ve got to know how to use these tools effectively. It brings me back to my second point, situations in which where management expects reps to figure things out on their own.
We've heard success stories from sales professionals who are now bringing in the bulk of their revenue from social, sometimes north of 50%. Did your parents just throw you the car keys at 16 and say “figure it out”? That idea is inconceivable to most people, yet we do this with our sales reps when the company quota is at stake.
Taking the time to learn what you have with social selling training and how to use it is essential. A few classes here and there may pique your interest, and it may even start reps on the path to social, but not having a game plan in place that’s tied to revenue is a waste of time.
In short, know the tools available to you and use them well.
The Bottom Line
Social selling is a huge waste of time if not planned properly. Whether you’re a sales leader or an individual sales rep, it’s important that you have a plan in place that ties your efforts back to revenue. Also, know the tools and take the time to get to know them. If you don’t have the time, hire someone. But learn them – this is critical for your success.
If you're looking for more insights on how you can get started with social the right way, feel free to book some a time to chat with me using my calendar below.
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