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Does Social Selling Really Work?


Social networks are like neighborhoods; you recognize the people there, but you’re only friendly with a few. The likelihood that a salesperson could be more effective solely based on the neighborhood they’re in is slim.

That’s according to Dave Kurlan, who recently shared an article on his blog, OMGHub, about how an increase in social selling doesn’t yield any improvement in key performance indicators. Kurlan, a sales thought leader and sales leadership expert, says that social selling is not necessarily helping salespeople with core metrics such as win rates, increases in contacts and sales cycle velocity.

He says that data from Objective Management Group shows that despite using social media, the calls-to-contact ratio is now more than 10-to-1, which is “worse than ever before.” In addition, the contact-to-meeting ratio is worse, the sales cycle is longer and closing percentages are lower.

Kurlan’s statistics here are a bit puzzling. After all, we’ve seen statistics that show social selling does work, but his main point is spot on: Salespeople must return to the fundamentals to truly succeed in today’s busy and competitive landscape. Simply doing social selling for the sake of doing social selling won’t increase your contacts or improve your sales cycle.

At Tellwise, we know how important it is to focus on the prospect first and THEN consider the selling tool. The prospect deserves a great experience. After learning as much as you can about them, then it’s important to design sales assets just for them, delivered in exactly the method they are most likely to engage with. This method may or may not be over a social channel.

As Kurlan suggests, the tools themselves don’t create success. If you’re only offering garbage, they’ll only get garbage. Even if you have a nice experience and great packaging, if your core sales assets still suck, even the nicer approach and packaging will not help you.

The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): You need to think about how to create a differentiated prospect experience to stick out from the masses. You do this with good communication, good sales assets and also with new approaches by using technology. This will enable you to quickly create personalized environments, which will impress customers. 

Source: OMGHub, November 2013

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