Why No One Is Accountable In Social Selling
More than two decades ago, when my late father shared the words that would define my professional career, I'm not sure he fully realized the import of his message.
The integrity-based relationships Dad described were personal, meaningful, and built on trust. These bonds were long-lasting, never transactional.
Prevailing wisdom at that time - when business was conducted largely on a handshake basis, over lunch, and on the golf course, when your word was your bond - was (and still is) that integrity-based relationships were (and still are) a necessary part of doing business.
But strangely, despite their societal significance, no one ever asked about the ROI of these relationships. No one ever asked how you could measure them. No one tried to quantify it.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing - Edmund Burke
This accurately describes today's Social Selling status quo. Both marketing and sales professionals alike willingly accept the evil of unaccountability.
Highly educated men and women succumb to the antiquated belief that fluffy, non-existent metrics will tell their social media relationship story when, in fact, only data and revenue can do so.
And if your marketing and sales leadership is not telling the story of Social Selling using data and revenue, then your story is not only incomplete, it's inaccurate.
You are complicit in this tacit cult of mediocrity if you do not understand two fundamental principles:
1) Social Selling is leveraging social media to generate revenue
2) The relationships formed and activities conducted on social media are measurable, predictable data points that marketing and sales
can must use in their daily work flow to generate revenue
The Birth of Social...Selling and Inbound
Shortly after the advent of social media, a new sales methodology emerged: Social Selling.
At first wildly successful when practiced correctly, then later co-opted as marketing teams (and the plethora of morally questionable sales consultants who populated this cottage industry) placed an undo emphasis upon the evil, unaccountable, non-essential vanity metrics: engagement metrics, awareness metrics, lead generation metrics (at the expense of demand generation metrics) - worthless measurements, all.
The popular group-think was that as long as marketing delivered leads to sales through inbound processes that became all the rage and the latest "must have" to accompany social media and Social Selling, industry professionals were brain-washed into believing that - data be damned - this WAS the proper process.
Your CMO could strut about his office while his minions exchanged celebratory chest-bumps. Marketing could claim victory.
In reality, this was a hollow defeat. These "leads" were no better than the returns generated by a street musician busking in a crowded subway station where, instead of spare change, business cards were randomly tossed into the hat as payment for the performance of a song.
And this song was social media.
Blinded Me with Science
It's difficult to witness droves of marketing professionals who freely relinquish their seat at the revenue table because they willingly choose to eschew accountability and widely-available data and revenue metrics.
I'm a scientist trained on cutting-edge research methodology at the nation's top science research university - The Johns Hopkins University. The scientific method and data drive every marketing and sales decision I make, and every action that I take, with a singular, tangible outcome goal: revenue creation.
When surveying the landscape of social media-driven sales and marketing processes, however, I'm disheartened.
Social Selling, a sales methodology of which I am a practitioner, is compromised by a cohort of charlatans and sham artists who would surely turn to stone if they uttered the words "revenue attribution" in the same sentence as Social Selling.
Of course these "professionals" are too busy shilling: "buy my book, take my training course, sign me as a keynote speaker for your Sales Kick-Off event, watch my webinar, sign-up for my paid" insert snake-oil selling platform here.
And who is unknowing victim of this social chicanery? As with anything - caveat emptor - the buyer.
Much like the tragic hero from Greek mythology, buyers are caught in a Sisyphean loop, attracted by the newest shiny object, only to suffer continual, grave disappointment, especially when fundamental processes always produce the greatest results.
And by fundamental process, I'm speaking of data. And by results, of course, I'm referring to revenue.
Let me be perfectly clear: quantifying and measuring social media relationships is not intuition and guesswork. And it does not detract from the "art" of marketing and sales.
If the world's most popular social media platform - Facebook - operates under the auspices of data-driven processes, collecting as many data points as possible and customizing the user experience to maximize its revenue, why can't today's marketing and sales professionals emulate this model?
100% of marketing and sales organizations that employ data to drive the sales revenue generation process outperform those companies that don't use data. TWEET THIS
At Markistry, we've developed a data and analytics-driven revenue generating framework that spans the entire customer lifecycle journey.
It begins with the employee (employee advocacy) and marries social media activity and Social Selling to Account Based-Marketing (ABM). It's called ABMSocial.
And it's just one part of our ABM Solutions Suite.
What marketing and sales leaders need to know is that this type of thinking is crap:
Are you missing out on connecting with customers because you're the expert and they're not? Remember, people buy from people they know, like, and trust. Showing empathy to your clients and their questions goes a long way in building that rapport.
With ABMSocial you don't have to serve it, or say it, anymore. Data will show who buys from you and when. And the revenue will be your reward.
Let's bring back the goodness of Social Selling.
And I'm sure my Dad would want to know things have changed a little bit. You can measure and quantify social relationships - and you should.
Follow Kevin Thomas Tully on Twitter