Social Selling as the New Sales Skill


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I have a confession to share – I have gone through the full 5-stage Kübler-Ross coping model with the buzz around Social Selling.

Here’s how it went:

  • Stage 1: Denial
    Oh brother, another prospecting upgrade that trashes everything that came before it. This can’t be happening again.
  • Stage 2: Anger
    Are you kidding me?!! “Social” doesn’t sell – people do.
  • Stage 3: Bargaining
    I actually like what Nigel Edelshain has to say about Social Calling, maybe we can take the best prospecting tips and leave the BS Bingo behind.
  • Stage 4: Depression
    Who am I to fight the tide of the next great buzzword?
    -and finally-
  • Stage 5: Acceptance

As you might imagine, I was very interested to come across a recent SiriusDecisions brief on the topic. I found this bit particularly interesting:

The primary goal of social selling is to transition the prospect from a social relationship (1:N) to a human interaction (1:1) via email, telephone, video or in person as soon as possible.

So you use social to bait the hook, but then execute traditional methods to launch the sales process. Am I splitting hairs? Maybe, but I’m the one doing the accepting!

My biggest concern with the rush to social is the same as it is with any other must-do prospecting methodology. You have to understand your buyers and how it delivers them value – before making any investment in adopting the approach.

(For example: texting a prospect may be highly effective at getting your messages read, but if it annoys or angers prospects in the process, is it really a win?)

Social Selling: The Newest Sales Skill

The brief (Social Selling: The Newest Sales Skill) goes into 4 competencies that Sales Reps need to develop.

  • Social presence– Buyers are researching Sales Rep as much as they are researching products & services.

    What do your Reps’ online presence look like? Are they professional or are they better suited for friends and family only? Hiring managers are using social profiles to qualify candidates in or out before they even interview them. So too will buyers.

  • Search– Where do Reps gather the information they need to engage buyers in interesting & relevant conversation?

    SiriusDecisions mentions data sources such as ZoomInfo/Hoovers/OneSource and LinkedIn/Facebook as public social sites. The idea is to go beyond “collecting the data” towards leveraging the information for improved sales conversations.

  • Monitor– Knowing which trigger events or announcements create compelling business eventsfor your solution and can open the door to a sales conversation.

    But, SiriusDecisions warns, “Building, monitoring and maintaining a list of qualified suspects, along with identifying triggers can be time-consuming without a monitoring process in place.”

  • Approach– So you have spent time in developing a presence, searching & monitoring – now what?

    Hey, here’s a thought, pick up the phone and use the information to engage with the buyer. Nobody wants to be a wall flower and to be part of the dance you have step out on the floor. Once again to quote SiriusDecisions, “teaching reps tactics for executing and gauging the impact of these (outbound) approaches replaces random cold calling with a structured method.”

At the end of the day, it isn’t the medium as much as the emotion that matters. You have to believe in what you sell and you have to care about your industry. And that, my friends, will be true for the next sales buzzword, bright shiny toy & beyond. Thanks for listening.

But what do you think? What are your teams with these Social Selling skill sets?

(Photo credit: catskillsgrrl)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Trish Bertuzzi
I founded The Bridge Group with a mission to help technology companies build highly successful inside sales teams. Since 1998, we have worked with over 190 technology clients, helping them increase productivity, drive higher conversion from leads to revenue and maximize Inside Sales performance.


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