Social media has become a defacto marketing tool for any organization, but it’s incredible how scared sales managers and teams still are of letting their sales reps join the sales 2.0 party. But the reality is, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself…oh, and not closing more and larger deals faster than ever before.
Social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn (as well as the entire blogosophere) are target-rich environments to find new opportunities and leads, and engage with prospects in a powerful and effectively intelligent new way. So what is holding companies back? Of the dozen or so objections I have heard, my conclusion is: FEAR. Fear that their sales team will not produce results, fear that the sales team will waste their time online and fear that their sales teams will do or say something online that will tarnish their brand and kill sales. The fact of the matter is, NOT letting sales professionals engage on social media is detrimental to the bottom line for the reasons below.
In addition, it always surprises me when a company pushes off any new technology based on such fear, and masks it with an excuse. Businesses that embrace innovation and new tools have a great track record of becoming leaders in their spaces. Social media is no different as it applies to sales professionals. There are very simple reasons that all of these excuses should be thrown away and sales people given a green light to social media engagement with leads and prospects.
Fact: Social selling produces results
Sirius Decisions Inc. recently said in a webinar that in most sales cycles, customers are now in control. Customers are doing 70 percent of the research online that drives the buying decisions, and then contacting a specific vendor for the purchase. The old concept of customers calling into a company to be ‘sold’ something is quickly vanishing. Since more of the buying process is happening online in discussion groups and social networks, sales people that are paying attention and, in most cases, are already a member of these networks like Twitter, will capitalize on these conversations and identify new opportunities much earlier than those without such social involvement.
Myth: Social Selling is not a time-suck
If your sales team is wasting their time online or talking to friends on the phone most of the day, stop now and reevaluate your employees. If you have talented and hard working people on your sales team, then you shouldn’t expect them to behave any different with using social media throughout the sales cycle. If your sales team is already using Twitter or other networks for personal use, they will be able to adopt a sales methodology around the same tools to produce revenue.
Myth: ‘Social Selling’ is too risky
This is an objection that comes up more often than any other, and it’s a common misunderstanding that a business can be destroyed in the matter of one status update or blog post. But, I don’t agree with this any more than I would with the idea that a poorly sent email to a customer can do the same. There was a point in time where sales people didn’t have access to email for that exact reason, but can you imagine not having email as a tool? The same will be said about social media tools in 10 years – those who embrace it will be in the drivers seat, and ultimately win out.
It all comes down to “letting go” and enabling your sales teams to be more effective. Social Selling is not fit for every sales person, but I’d bet you have a strong percentage of your sales team that would welcome the opportunity to drive opportunities through social tools in addition to traditional phone and email tactics.
This post originally appeared on Sales2.com where InsideView has regular contributions. Sales 2.0 is a site dedicated to the improvement of sales results.