Social selling is often met with its fair share of skepticism. Now that Microsoft has bought LinkedIn, it’s time for enterprise sales leaders to let go of whatever has been holding them back from implementing a social selling program. Here are the 5 most common myths we hear about social selling:
1) Social marketing and social selling are the same. The biggest differentiator between social marketing and social selling is ownership. While the former is handled mostly by marketers who are focused on building brand awareness via corporate social media accounts, the latter leverages one-to-one connections developed by sales reps and leaders. They do share some common business goals, but the efforts in social selling are concentrated more on salespeople building relationships with prospects by sharing relevant content and serving as thought leaders in the industry.
2) Social selling doesn’t require training. This is what we refer to as Random Acts of Social. Sporadic use of social networks for selling isn’t enough. It requires commitment to integrating best practices into the sales process over time. According to our 2015 State of Social Selling Report, organizations that use a combination of training, demonstration, practice and coaching to improve selling behavior has an 87% retention rate, versus just 11% for those who only train.
3) Social selling doesn’t produce ROI. The data says otherwise. While the aforementioned Random Acts of Social can produce 1-2% in sales lift, true integration and optimization of a social selling strategy into the organization results in upwards of 20% sales lift. Our clients have experienced a 20% increase in leads from social and 400% increase in sales qualified leads overall. Additionally, on average, there has been a 36% decrease in days to close for deals affected by PeopleLinx with a 27% higher close rate.
4) Social selling isn’t worth the time commitment, especially among other responsibilities and tools. If 84% of B2B executives use social media to research buying decisions, there’s no reason why reps shouldn’t be doing the same due diligence in researching and engaging with their prospects. CEB surveyed top-performers to see which sales activities had the most influence on their success and found that using social media as a critical channel was at the top.
5) Social selling is a passing fad. Actually, depending on your perspective, this one isn’t totally false. Don’t get me wrong: Social selling – or at least its core concepts – aren’t going anywhere. But social selling advocates will tell you that the ultimate goal is for social selling to become just selling. Organizations that embrace social selling into all levels of the sales funnel realize the ROI, and social selling as an initiative eventually is the norm. According to LinkedIn, social selling leaders are 51% more likely to hit their quota. So yes, maybe social selling as a standalone sales initiative is passing through, but social as a part of selling is here to stay.
Social selling is quickly going to become not only a necessity, but a norm. If you’ve been putting off getting started with implementing a social selling program, it’s time to make a change. Interested in getting started? Contact us.