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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

On a recent post of a video I recorded when I was in Sydney, Australia, there were a number of comments, reading through them, I wrote this blog.

Thank you for all those who offered support and I was amazed that the connection requests telling me how much they supported me.

The video was about how you can get higher, quicker with social selling, than cold calling. Something we have been saying here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) 12 months now.  This blog isn’t about getting higher, quicker with social selling rather than cold calling, it’s about the comments.

There were a number of comments saying they supported a multiple sales strategies or in one case a “mash-up” of sales strategies.  We don’t support this here at DLA for two reasons:

  1. It does not work.
  2. It does not work.

Let’s look at the first reason.

First of all, I’m not saying that cold calling is dead.  I know people who make a good living cold calling.  When you push them further, you find they are selling low value products or service, low down in the company.  For example, I know somebody who sells advertising for a magazine which retails at £5K ($6.5K) a time.  This is low enough to be signed off at Manager, rather than Director (C-Suite in the US) level.  My clients are high end B2B companies, people that are selling 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 figure deals. Doesn’t matter if that is £ or $, it requires a Board (C-Suite) sign off and a Business Case, not a quick decision on the telephone.  If you sell low value products, low down in an organisation this article isn’t for you.

In addition to that, talking to a sales guy from one of our clients, a large software company. He said “If I cold called the Finance Director of one of my clients, the switch board would just laugh at me”.  I agree, it’s a total fallacy to think that the Finance Director (CFO) of Oracle, Microsoft, GSK, GE or any large company is sitting there waiting for your call and will give you “30 minutes” for you to pitch your product.

Of course, there was a comment on this article from a vested interest, the telesales agency. Sorry guys, but you know it’s true!

The next facility people seem to fall for is that social selling, means you do everything on social.  Social is just the mechanism to get you the face-to-face.  I’m not sure which joker social selling Guru said it all has to be on social.  Anyway, I needed to clear that up.

Why Social Selling is Now The Only Way To Sell in Large Scale B2B

While most people in the social selling field will talk to you about the “57%” and while that argument is relevant, there is an efficiency and effectiveness here.

We have discussed before about the blatant inefficiency of cold calling.  In most discussions I have with cold callers, you have to phone 100 people and you might get 10 conversations.  Where as with social, you can find those 10 people straight away. It’s then down to you (and your personal brand) on how successful you are at contacting those 10 people.  If we assume you can contact 10 sets of 10 people in the time it takes to call 100 people then that makes social selling 10 times for efficient than cold calling.  Let’s assume you can only contact 20 people on social in the time it tales to call 100 people,  that makes social selling twice as efficient.  Not bad ROI.

If you cold call somebody you will get 4 responses; –

  1. Sod off
  2. They listen to you
  3. They say call back in 3 months
  4. They say they purchased the product before.

Social selling, helps you with 3. and 4. so much so you can steal deals from under the noses of your competition.

As you can see the maths adds up, social is by far the most efficient and effective way of selling.

The Second Reason

A mixed sales strategy is the worse of all words.  It reminds me of the social selling training company that cold called me and the social selling company that uses advertising.  So what you are saying to me is, you actually don’t believe in what you do, so much so you are not prepared to “eat your own dog food”.

Let’s look at the state of Marketing right now:-

  1. Email – In the 1990s everybody read all their email, now in the attention economy we are trying to get people’s attention and nobody reads spam emails anymore.  With the introduction of GDPR nobody send unsolicited emails anymore.
  2. Advertising – While Billions seem to be spent on advertising, nobody looks at ads and especially if you are in the B2B Enterprise space, you are not going to sell products by paid media. Whatever your paid media agency tells you.
  3. Cold calling – We looked at that legacy option above.

So here’s a thing.  If nobody reads your email’s, nobody reads or adverts and nobody takes your calls. Where you going to go?

The Good News

As a number of Marketers have said to us recently “nothing works anymore” and while there will be some throwers and vest interest comments, most people know that the game is over.

There are two ways you can take this:-

  1. Search for a silver bullet.
  2. Put in the hard work that social requires and you will get the results, as Gary Vee says “95% of marketers won’t take this route”.

Please Note

  1. Yes your clients are on social, 30 mins with Alex Low world’s number one Sales Navigator expert will prove it.
  2. Yes I do include referrals as part of this process, referrals are a way that you get get higher, faster with social than you can with cold calling.Social is an excellent, platform for which you can get and be given referrals.
  3. Public Sector – In our experience, Public Sector (Federal in the US) is a little slower to adopt social media. In our experience, about two thirds of the people are on social.  That said, rolling over and saying people “are not on social” isn’t sales “leadership”.  In my last role we proved that with a little pro-active work and excellent content, you can drive people to social and give them a reason to be there. Critical for suppliers is that you can then influence public tenders, a subject of a previous blog.

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