From day one it’s been said that the proper use of social media is for engagement, not sales.
But when you think about it – effective selling has always been about engagement first, because true engagement happens between people.
Now that social media is considered a foundational element of marketing, I wonder if that’s the best place for it. Far too many marketing departments treat social as a mass marketing tool and additional broadcast channel. While this view may indeed create more awareness, how much engagement does it actually generate?
Sales folks that have embraced the best use of social media use it to:
- Identify very specific ideal clients
- Connect with friends of existing clients
- Mine networks for potential opportunities
- Keep tabs of what’s going on in a client’s world
- Personalize content on a case by case basis
- Engage in sharing with and for clients and prospects
- Make introductions that turn into referrals
I don’t know about you, but the entire list above sounds like engagement and relationship building of the highest order – the kind that can’t really happen in a mass, detached way – the kind that successful salespeople have always employed.
If an organization is to derive the most benefit from social media today it must be driven deep into the organization so that it can be used as a tool for individual connection rather than simply a metric on the marketing KPI spreadsheet.
I would much rather see an organization reward a salesperson for being connected very deeply in one client’s network than stand up and cheer because they got their 10,000th follower on Twitter.
You see, social media really is all about selling, just not in the way some have long incorrectly viewed that art.
Every superstar salesperson knows effective selling involves networking, nurturing and connecting on a one to one basis and they grab whatever assets they can to build and sustain meaningful, long-term relationships. Now that we more fully understand social behavior and the impact of social media it’s time for organizations to wake up and move it to the sales team.