Social Media – are you forgetting you still need to sell?

In my long, and some would say illustrious, sales career I have seen two paradigm shifts in the sales business.  One was the in the early 1990's - the adoption of en masse telesales in the B2B market, the second is Social Media Networking.
 
Telephone selling is, by and large, great.  Over the past two decades my company has developed for and with our clients many skills and techniques for B2B solution selling by telephone it can be productive, increases profits and lets you win incremental business by increasing your reach often globally with dramatically lower operating costs.
 
Social Media (Social Media Networking - SMN) on the other hand worries me, let me tell you why.
 
It used to be that the seller proactively generated the sales lead and controlled the sales process whilst the buyer controlled the purchase (with the sales person admittedly running interference!).  Now with SMN the prospect or customer controls YOUR lead generation, YOUR sales process and THEIR buying process.  Sometimes you don't even get to pitch and your superior product loses out to an inferior product that was marketed and sold "differently".
 
I am not against SMN but I think particularly for B2B selling - we all need to get it into perspective and not be quite so quick to abandon some of the tried and tested prospect lead generation and sales techniques ask how many people are using targeted snail mailers again, ask why if SMN is the instant panacea General Motors and others have pulled multi million dollar campaigns.
 
Remember, in the gold rush the people making the money were the people selling the picks and shovels not the people digging for gold.  Sometimes we are so busy social media networking that we mistake activity for results and whilst all the popular SMNs and inbound marketing organizations are generating huge revenues, are we so busy being busy we are forgetting we still need to generate leads and sell.

Posted in Articles. Tagged as Confusing activity for results, SMN, Social Media.

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