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By Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

We were called in to see a prospective customer the other week by the marketing director and were told we needed to meet the marketing manager.

“I don’t know why you are here really” said the marketing manager, “we are already social selling!”

“Are you?” was my reply. I had (obviously) checked out people’s LinkedIn profiles before the meeting and you could see that little had changed since 1990.

“Talk me through what you are doing”, I asked.

She opened her notebook and pointed at the page.  “Every quarter,” she said, “We run a webinar for the sales people and tell them what makes a good LinkedIn profile.”  She added, “We do this every quarter to make sure we get new starters”.

“Are you seeing an uplift in sales,” I asked?

She shrugged her shoulders and said I would need to talk with the sales leaders.

We come across this time after time

People telling us that they need to social sell, but another part of the business telling us they all ready have nailed social selling.  When it’s clear from the company’s employee social profiles that they haven’t got a clue.

Social selling has a clear ROI. We as an organization get three leads a day now coming inbound.  I can also get even higher much quicker on cold outreach than somebody cold calling.  You should also have a clear policy to be getting inbound from your social profiles.

Social selling isn’t some new-fangled way of doing things; it’s a reaction to the world today.  Social selling is also a different way of working, which requires change to what we do.

Changing the way people work cannot be achieved through webinars.  Webinars are excellent at passing data to other people, but it been proven not to work when requiring change.  Why?

People will just join the call to “tick a box”. They will sit there and do email or eat their lunch.  Anything but watch people who know nothing about selling tell us people who work on the selling coalface every day how it works.

We have been called in so many times to a particular social selling company that delivers all its materials via the web.  The criticism is that money is spent but there is no sales uplift.  Which feels like a waste to us.

So what can you do about social selling?

We are obviously biased in suggesting that you need an independent third party to help you with social selling.  A bunch of people that have experience of pushing change through large organisations that have a clear social track record on their social profiles.  But we would say that.

Independent third parties cost money.  This is true.  But offset against a 30% sales uplift means that it has a clear business case.

Let us also not forget that social selling isn’t for Christmas it is for life!  Enabling your sales people to be self-sufficient when it comes to demand generation is a pretty good legacy for any business leader.

Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.



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