There are many companies today that understand “social” as the “new phone” – since many of us social selling advocates argue that cold calling is “dead”- and probably it is our own fault.
Sometimes talking about the “new phone” feels like the easiest way to help business leaders hop on the boat of Social Selling. Talking on those terms may make them jump to the quite straightforward conclusion that social selling is the “new tele-sales”, only now with social networks; even further, that all the fuzz boils down to creating a centralized specialized group (probably recycling the existing social media marketing group) that will provide leads to the sales team who, in their turn, will close the deal.
Some companies are ready to enable this centralized team with tools like Socedo, Hootsuite, Hubspot, Marketo, Linkedin’s Sales Navigator and others in order to generate leads. They DO get that quite easily.
Well, this is only the first stop in our long journey. The “new tele-sales” si a quick sell and those companies will do get SOME results -but we are not unleashing the full potential of Social Selling here-
In order to achieve the estimated 20-25% productivity increase potential described by McKinsey we need to go ALL the way in our journey and that means Enabling Sales teams with TOOLS, TRAINING and GUIDANCE (cultural change management)
But data shows that buyers are online and on social networks, so companies need to keep investing, evolving and finding new ways to increase top lines and Sales teams equipped with Social Selling definitely looks like THE WAY to go. Today, that is a tough sell though. Today, it’s a LEAP OF FAITH.
On the culture side, the implementation of a Social Selling program really requires a change of culture for most companies: move away from a transaction-based sale to building a relationship that entitles a buying advice. Jill Rowley, the Social Selling princess, often comments that she “does not sell, but she helps clients in their buying process”.
That brings me to the case of Jill, a former Oracle executive in charge of the global Social Selling strategy for the firm, fired over strategic discrepancies. What’s most relevant to me about this case is how a company recognizes that has a situation and that needs help to fix culture; Hires an executive to get things done and transform the company; Fires the executive after a few months for “not being a good fit” for the culture of the company. Well, wasn’t that the WHOLE point?
It’s not the first and will not be the last case of poor management, but it really highlights one of the main blocks on the road for Social Selling: It’s not tools, processes or information that need your main efforts, it’s people, organization and culture.
Organization and culture-people are probably the true challenges that we will encounter when deploying a Social selling program at an organization.