Though the term "social selling" is now cast about as this new marketing wonder tool for developing business, the truth is that social selling is nothing more than a catchy phrase. In reality, few sales in the B2B environment can be attributed to social media. What we call 'social selling', in real terms, is simply part of the account/customer management methodology of using touch points to continually reach out to ones prospect or existing customer base.
Social networks can have a more lasting impression, since media that's posted can retain a level of visibility which you may not find with traditional mediums like brochures or email. Media is archived and made available in a feed and can be tagged and indexed and the hope is that your customers or prospects will proactively come across or search for the content that is made available on the network. But regardless, the sale itself is typically not completed using a social media network.
If we, instead, refer to these activities as advanced account management or customer relationship management techniques, this would better describe these activities as they're often mixed with additional forms of communication. In most sales-related activities, we tend to reach out to our customers or prospects by phone, email, in person visits, scheduled appointments, and now social networks. It's the mix of these activities that tends to generate a greater response. The best salespeople find a mix that works for their unique style, then take advantage of the above touch points to continually consult and communicate with their clients.
Anyone who tries to sell you a "social selling framework" is really only trying to sell you on one particular touch point methodology. They can dazzle you with numbers showing views on YouTube, rates of re-tweets on Twitter, and even Likes on Facebook, but this information is not truly valuable. None of these can truly judge impact. So before you or your company gets sucked into the idea that social selling will solve all of your sales-related problems, remember that the it's core principles of sales that always remain the most crucial. Which is simply getting your salespeople to talk to your customers. If you really want to have a more meaningful impact, you'd be better suited in developing a communications methodology and strategy. The strategy needs to include all mediums, all tools, and the various techniques in speaking to customers.
I've often been referred to as an expert in social. I find this laughable as my only expertise is my ability to communicate with people. I certainly see the power of using a social network as part of a larger strategy but it's never been the only strategy that I follow. So my advice to you is to be cautious and leery of those were selling their expertise in 'social selling'. True sales excellence remains in the relationships you build, and how you maintain them.
I'm sure this may seem controversial so I welcome your comments.
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