We’re at a critical time in the sales industry. I wanted to write about this topic because I’m seeing a shift happening in the market.
If you’re a sales professional reading this, there are perspectives offered here to round out your sales skillsets with formal social selling training. Additionally, if you’re a sales leader, you’ll hear about perspectives from your peers.
Three short years ago, most sales leaders didn’t know about social selling or didn’t believe in it; either way, they just didn’t give it the time of day. How three years has made a difference. There are now, literally, dozens of data points and success stories that prove the viability of social in the sales process.
So What Matters More – Cold Calling or Social?
I see a shift away from this binary and overly simplistic questioning. There is no social media without the phone, and no phone usage without social. Period.
It’s refreshing to see this perspective beginning to take shape at the sales leadership levels. So much so, that sales leaders in certain industries are looking to hire sales professionals with certain skill sets.
Add to this that in the majority of organizations we’re speaking with, social selling is now listed as one of the top three skills that salespeople are demanding. This gap is real and sales leadership is beginning to realize this.
What’s Causing This?
When speaking with one sales leader at a global tech giant, the pain points that were repeatedly mentioned were:
The initial conversations my team is having are late-funnel based.
Buyers are far more researched about us than expected.
Conversations are routinely, and quickly, turning to price and fulfillment related issues.
These are all classic signs of the empowered modern buyer in the age of the customer.
Similar viewpoints are expressed frequently by other sales leaders. And is it any surprise? IBM says that a lead developed from social media is 7X more likely to close.
And now, data from LinkedIn is even more telling:
45% more sales opportunities
51% more likely to hit quota
78% of social sellers outsell peers who don't use social media
What’s Today’s Sales Leader Looking For?
The modern sales leader is looking to work with people that have the ability to open doors and nurture in the face of so much noise.
Since we know that the buyer today is more digital than ever before, the case to be socially-savvy is clearly there. However, what’s not there is the ability to use social to engage early and engage often.
Here’s some interesting data to consider: the American Psychological Association conducted a survey asking sales leaders what attributes they seek in sales professionals. The #1 answer that came back was eventually classified into “conscientiousness.” This can be loosely translated to mean someone who works hard and is achievement-driven.
The modern skills of sales require all of us to stay current. None of us are exempt from this.
So as much as you seek knowledge about cold calling, there should be equal pursuits to learn other areas of sales. Yes, social selling is one of them.