Social Selling, the new buzzword in Sales?

Sales is constantly flooded with new buzzwords and concepts, and according to a lot of people they all dramatically change the nature of sales. For me it’s often a lot like reading HC Andersen’s tale about the emperor’s new clothes. He was walking around naked, but some magic tailors made him believe he was wearing a lovely dress.

Sales is still basically about finding customers who have problems your products and solutions can address in a valuable way and make them convinced you can deliver what’s right for them. The “What” is not changed, but the “How” can change over time with new insights and experiences.

Right now Social Selling seems to be the biggest buzzword and presented as the new revolutionary concept for B2B Sales, that no one can live without. But what does it mean, is it really new and is it so revolutionary?

Let’s have a look! New technology and applications on the Internet have totally changed the landscape of communication and finding information, no doubt about that. But let’s put Social Selling in a context. Social Selling is often synonymous with using LinkedIn to create new contacts and cold calling is dead. I agree, LinkedIn, Twitter and other applications with supporting SW is far more efficient then cold calling and other means. But cold calling can still work in some rare situations, it’s about how and when you do it. Even an old fashioned letter can get through to somebody we would really like to meet, how many gets a letter today? In the end it all comes down to find ways to get access to new people and stakeholders, and that has been critical in B2B sales for ever, long before Social Selling was invented.

Sales is a chain of activities on the seller’s side which eventually and hopefully ends up with an order or a contract. But where does it start. In B2B sales it depends a little on the complexity of what you are selling which is mirrored in the complexity of the buying.

Something which is critical for the buyer takes longer to buy and therefore longer to sell, and you don’t close ANY deals with Social Selling alone, but it can dramatically help you to get access to the right people and stakeholders. It also can help you to put you and your company’s products and solutions on the customer’s radar screen and top of mind

All real B2B sales professionals today totally agree of the necessity of a proactive sales process, and in such a process Social Selling is a critical part to get access to the right people, but Social Selling alone will not give you any new orders.

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