I believe in social selling. I believe that the tool kit that is social media has made the world much smaller, has given us an easier way to learn about our clients, and has provided a much easier way to both connect and nurture relationships.
I have won major accounts with relationships that were begun on social media, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and this blog. Social media and inbound marketing are helpful and sometimes effective tools.
But it is criminal negligence to suggest to salespeople that they no longer need to make cold calls (or pick up the telephone).
It’s easy to recommend that salespeople not pick up the phone when you don’t carry a bag. It’s easy to tell salespeople not to make cold calls when you don’t have a quota. It’s easy to tell salespople that the old ways of selling have died when your business model allows you to acquire clients more easily through social media and your blog.
If what you sell is designed to help salespeople better use social, it’s easy to sell the idea that they will no longer have to make their calls. But it is criminal negligence. You’re hurting people.
Would you take your own advice if you were that salesperson or their manager. Would you abandon the phone if your family was counting on you to support them? Would you stick with social media alone if you didn’t have a blog–or were forbidden to keep one? If you were a sales manager, would you stake your job on a prospecting plan that included social selling and inbound alone when opportunity creation is one of the biggest challenges any sales organization faces?
If the only way you can sell something is by convincing people that they can have the results they need without having to do what is necessary, you aren’t helping people. You’re selling snake oil. An honest approach would be to tell salespeople the truth, namely that they need to be able to use all prospecting methods available, including social selling. Not to use social media to prospect would also be criminal negligence.