Social selling – Part I


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For sales people, the social web is a blessing. If sales is all about connections and relationships, then social media is the best invention since trade 3,000 B.C. But as always – it isn’t quite that easy.

If you continue the beaten path of sales processes developed by our fathers, we will soon come to the conclusion not only they no longer help – but actually PREVENT success.

The biggest problem in selling into the social economy are our leaders and teachers:
People who built their career 10 or 20 years ago only hear from social media, put it into the marketing box and continue business as usual. More so, they force and train others to do so as well.

Relationship selling is nothing new – yet the tools and models of engagement have changed with the ever more connected business world. Also our customers are more connected than ever before and they know how to ask others for their experience and find solutions themselves.

Selling into a socially connected business world
– Lead flow slowed down
– Customers connect with customers for experience exchange
– Knowledge and information is omnipresent in the Internet
– Price information are more transparent than ever before

Do a step back and think about your sales process:

  • How will you be successful if you do “lead Qualification” even so there are no real leads (other than purchased addresses)?
  • How can you be successful and call 100 people a day when all you can do is leave a voice mail?
  • How can you be successful sending out email blasts knowing that most people simply don’t care?
  • How can you be successful and make your “introduction” (because it is step 3 in your sales process) while everything is publicly available and known (unless you prevent your customers to find you)?
  • How can you do “reference selling” when the social web is full of highly approachable and outspoken customers of yours already?
  • How can you still believe that your “economic buyer” or “decision maker” is the only important connection while the actual consumer of your product is well established and influences the “buyer” more than anybody else?
  • How can you successfully plan your business and create a meaningful forecast when some of the deals just “show up” and others seam to never close?

Look at today’s buying / selling disconnect and you know why.
You can do this for yourself and will see WHY YOU CAN NOT BE SUCCESSFUL.

Xeesm Sales Process Model

In Part II I will share some of the alternatives we explored and experimenting with.


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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Axel Schultze
CEO of Society3. Our S3 Buzz technology is empowering business teams to create buzz campaigns and increase mentions and reach. S3 Buzz provides specific solutions for event buzz, products and brand buzz, partner buzz and talent acquisition buzz campaigns. We helped creating campaigns with up to 100 Million in reach. Silicon Valley entrepreneur, published author, frequent speaker, and winner of the 2008 SF Entrepreneur award. Former CEO of BlueRoads, Infinigate, Computer2000.


  1. Nice atricle although I think it’s too strong to say the sales process is no more. What social media gives us is a great dynamic that supports the sales process, in effect the sales process becomes far more dynamic and flexible when integrated with social media.

    IMHO there will always be a need for a sales process, it’s just a different one, how we get customers from A to B is an important understanding in any buisness. With social media the customer owns far more of the process. Nothing wrong with this although some businesses will struggle to understand and adapt to it.

    As businesses we need to start getting wise to the fact that the customer’s buying pattern and influence base has shifted. We no longer can control the sales process as we once did, once we understand the greyscale in the process that social media provides then we will be ready to reap the rewards.

  2. Jon, I guess we are both meaning the same thing. “…a need for a sales process, it’s just a different one”. Absolutely agree. I’ll do a “part II” of relationship selling where I will talk about possibilities to fix the gap.


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