6 Top Reasons Sales Leaders are Scared of Social Selling

July 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Trust is the name of the game in sales.  84% of B2B decision makers begin their buying process with a referral.  You are the SVP of Sales at your company.  Consider this scenario:  you need a new personal financial advisor.  After much frustration you’ve decided your current guy is costing you money.  What do you do?  Go to a website?  No way.  You don’t know if the person you’re looking at is any good.  Could a financial advisor possibly cold call you?  No.  You’ve trained your assistant to prevent them from getting through.  

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You’re going to call one of your friends.  This is an important decision for you.  If your friend recommends someone, it’s a high quality referral.  You trust them. 

You can build trust through Social Selling.  In this post, you’ll get access to the Sales SVPs Guide to Evaluating Social Selling.

Social Selling means using social media to gain intros to buyers, usually via referral.  Referrals work.  LinkedIn is the predominant channel right now.  So why are so many sales SVPs afraid to embrace social selling?  Here are the 6 top reasons. 

1.  “It might disrupt my team’s current prospecting routine” 

If your prospecting routine relies on cold calls and e-mails, it is not effective.   The cold calling appointment rate is somewhere between 1% and 3%.  This is according to the AAISP - the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals.  So why are you still demanding your reps “phone block” several hours each week?  Because it used to work.  10 years ago people actually answered their desk phone.  It doesn’t work anymore.  

Email open rates today are 4.4%, according to Google.   Chance of an email getting to a decision maker and resulting in a meeting?  Almost zero.   A warm introduction trumps a cold email or telephone call all day long.  Social Selling gets you warm intros.

2.  “Honestly, I’m not completely certain how it works” 

It’s pretty easy to grasp the basics.  Once you become conversant, just pull in Sales Ops to do a deeper dive.  The web is flooded with information.  To learn, invest 20 minutes in these brief articles:  How To Reach Today's Buyers With Modern ProspectingHow To Kill Social Selling at Your Company2 Simple Strategies to Maximize LinkedIn for Sales

3.  “Our Buyers aren’t on LinkedIn” 

Some may not be.  Most are.  Perform this quick test.  Pull the names of the Buying Decision Teams from the last 10 big deals.  Go to LinkedIn.  Search for them.  Every one of their connections is a potential prospect for you.  Your decision makers are connected to other people like them.  You can teach your team how to “mine” these connections for possible prospects.

4.  “I don’t really want my reps to be active on LinkedIn” 

Some VPs still think of LI as a website full of resumes from potential job seekers.  They’re concerned about enabling Social Selling in their organizations.  They’re worried reps might improve their profiles and get recruited away.  What they fail to understand is this: it’s already happening.  Front line sales reps are looking for an edge.  They’re younger and more creative.  They are building out their networks at a rapid rate.  If you don’t take charge, you lose the ability to manage this change.  You may not even have a company policy on social media.  37% of employers don’t.  Many that do, prohibit their reps from using Social Selling. 

5.  “I’m not really very active on LinkedIn” 

This reason is more personal.  Some SVPs are simply behind the curve.  Maybe they have 63 connections and a Summary that is almost empty.  They worry that when their reps find them, they’ll be labeled as a caveman.  Or they believe that since they are not active, neither is anyone else.

6.  “I don’t know where to even start” 

Social Selling is taking off.  You can really differentiate yourself from your competitors with a robust program.  An Altimeter Group report asked about formalized social media efforts for sales.  It said that only 11% of sales organizations have a formal social media effort.  

Everyone is calling your prospects, which is why they don’t pick up.  Reach them socially instead.  It’s an unclogged channel and much more effective.   To start, download the Sales SVPs Guide to Evaluating Social SellingThis tool helps you think through the opportunity that lies in front of you.

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Topics: Social Selling, Sales Leader, VP of Sales Resources, LinkedIn, CSO, Social Media

Posted by Mark Synek

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