B2B sales is an industry that is ripe for disruption as teams and organizations are currently going through a period of flux and change as tools, tactics and even methodologies that have been employed for years are suddenly finding themselves ineffective and adopted by the masses. The only way to improve things is through a large scale change of mindset across the industry and an openness to embrace new things in order to succeed. This is precisely why I am calling this particular time period the Social Selling Revolution. Social selling is changing the face of sales for the better by improving the entire sales process for both the buyer and the seller.
Meghan Biro hit the nail on the head when she outlines how B2B sales teams in particular, are resistant to change by nature. Salespeople have processes, tools, and methodologies that guide their approach in order to make it repeatable and scalable. However, it is these exact elements that have stopped some companies from fully adopting social selling and using social media to gain an advantage. One cannot be faulted for resisting the adoption of new tactics when organizations depend sometimes solely on sales teams for revenue, however, the time has come where sales operations will see significant drop-off if social selling is not used as a tool set.
Throughout 2013, big-data driven companies like Oracle, IBM, and SAP, saw that the data was telling them two things: 1) there are myriads of buyer information floating around over social networks that could substantially help sellers understand the customers better, more personally, as well as target them when they were ready to buy, and 2) sellers using this data were performing substantially better than counterparts who were not using the information and leveraging social networks to connect and understand both their buyers and their industry. These companies have seen success and proved the concept for the mainstream companies who have been reluctant to adopt. Thanks to these companies, we will see a social selling revolution in 2014.
Look to see full scale industry wide adoption of social selling this year as sales leadership will have social selling adoption high on their list of initiatives. The great thing is that sales methodologies and process don’t need to change - simply augmented with a new layer. Cold calls will be replaced by warm calls, and stock email templates will be replaced with rich and valuable communications that drive action. Emails and phone calls aren’t going anywhere, they will just be used differently in 2014 to deliver buyer centric messages that depend on connecting on social media and using social data.
Click here for a list of key players in the industry who can either help you or you can learn best practices from in order to get started ahead of the curve and start adopting social selling today.
(Social selling / shutterstock)