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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

I was on a call with Microsoft the other day and they told me that their go to market is all about “Relationship Selling”.  You as reader are probably like me are pretty cynical and I thought I’ve been told that selling is all about relationships, certainly for the whole time I’ve been in sales.  So what’s changed, or what is new and improved?

The case for Social Selling has never been stronger.  Consider this article by Simon Kemp (@eskiomon) just released this past week:

  • 4 billion people (55% of the world’s population use the internet)
  • 1/4 Billion connected in 2017!
  • 2/3s of the world’s population of 7.6 Billion have a mobile phone
  • 200 Million got there first mobile in 2017
  • 3 Billion people, 42% of the world’s population, use social media
  • Growth in social media usage is up, on average by 13% year-on-year
  • 1 million people join social media, every day!

Social Selling is all about two things Revenue (so what you sell) and getting inbound (people coming to you looking to buy) and of course it’s not just about demand generation but used throughout the sales process.

Something else that hasn’t changed is also our network.  In the old days we had business card books or a “little black book” of contacts.  Now have a network on LinkedIN.  Note, I’m not saying contacts on LinkedIN but a Network, there is a big difference.

On that basis, Relationships are at the centre of what we do, here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) don’t do any outbound. All of our business comes through our network, or working through our network and getting referrals.

But how do we add value across the pipeline at scale?

Let’s step up a gear, Relationships are still centre to what we do, but we haven’t had so much data.  As salespeople we often dismiss data as sales is all about “gut” after all.  That said data can help us, save us time and make us more efficient and focus on the right things.

For example, data can allow us to work out who in our Territory to focus on.  The losers now those making endless calls, hoping that if they throw enough mud at the wall some of it will stick.

We now have tools that will allow us to profile our territory and tell us who we should be calling.

Tools like Sales Navigator on LinkedIn will gives us the people in accounts to target, we can understand, what our target individuals think, share, their interests everything we need to build strong relationships from the get go.  As a new business salesman, something I would have given my right arm for, back in the day.


I’m going to use the term artificial intelligence (AI), don’t stop reading, keep going.  There are now systems that will listen to what is going on in social media and find “intent”.  It’s a simplistic example, but if I leave to go to work and my car won’t start, I will now post a comment on social media.  There are systems that will listen to this and find “intent data”. Being able to set a system off and leave it going and listen for “i’m looking to buy an new accountancy system” or whatever it is that you sell.  This just chugs in the background while you go out and sell stuff.

It’s interesting that the most common question our customers now ask us is “how do we use all this data in a meaningful way”.  But I will be honest, all this data is all very well, but you have to understand social first.  I’ll give you an example, we spoke to a prospect this week and they said “we sent 200 inmails” and got nothing back.  As I say, you need to understand social.  A fool with a tool, is still a fool.

People who read this also read:

Spamming, Cold Calling and Annoying Ads – Know Your Rights!

If you are not connected, how will you know what your market’s intent is?

5 attitudes that say your organisation’s not ready for all-out social media

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