Social selling has gained popularity as a general buzz word in the B2B sales space. The Sales world is split into those who swear by it as the only way to get deals done and those who view it as yet another fad that results in sales people wasting time online.
So which side is actually right? Let’s start with a quick definition of each:
Social selling belongs to the Inbound sales school and involves the following:
- Salespeople share content on social channels like Twitter and Linkedin and comment on other people’s content.
- The content does not promote the product or company but is objective and product neutral.
- Potential customers find the content while researching for a need and come to the salesperson when ready to buy
- Salesperson acts like a consultant through the sales process and wins the deal because customers do not buy from pushy sales people
Traditional sales is closer to the outbound sales school and involves:
- Salesperson prospects for ideal candidates based on defined criteria like titles on phone listings such as D&B
- Salesperson cold calls as many times as needed until they reach the lead
- Salesperson pitches their solution from a script in hopes of sparking interest and getting an appointment
- Salesperson “pushes” prospect through sales steps and tackles objections and competition to get the deal done
The reality is that both represent two opposite sides of the sales pendulum and each has elements that work and things they got wrong. here is a quick summary:
The bottom line – Two things are clear today, the first is that traditional hunting needs to evolve and adapt to both the new channels that are not in person meetings and phone conversations while also building their presence in professional forums like Linkedin groups, meetups, Quora and others (based on where their customers are active).
The second is that the first generation social selling was too naive assuming that a sales person will not have to aggressively sell and push competition out of a deal. While individuals might have changed their online behaviors in the past decade, enterprises still buy like enterprises and that requires more than just consulting or waiting for leads to come to you.
Stay tuned for our next post on the future of B2B sales with Sales Hunting 2.0! In the meantime, get started with your own social selling and let us know what you think!