Social Networking? You’re Doing it All Wrong!

Your marketing and sales people should work together to create the best social media strategy for your business.

Business commentary by Mike Montague

Everyone is talking about how social networking is the next big thing to revolutionize the way we do business, but many people are struggling to figure out how exactly to make it work.

MIKE MONTAGUE is a Certified Corporate Trainer at Sandler Training, where he provides training and coaching on interpersonal communication skills needed to be more successful in management, sales and customer service. He is also author of the upcoming book, “Social Selling the Sandler Way.” 

The problem stems from a fundamental shift as a result of social media. Just 10 years ago, things were pretty simple. Marketing was in charge of advertising messages sent out to an audience and making the phone ring, and sales was in charge of building relationships and converting those calls into revenue. Then social media entered the picture and this new marketing channel wasn’t like TV, radio, newspapers, direct mail, email blasts or anything else that had ever existed. Why? Because now the audience can talk back.

Marketing tactics that worked so well in a one-way communication environment now receive a direct response with positive and negative feedback that marketing people were completely unprepared to receive.

Most marketing books and “social media gurus” out there will tell you not to sell on social media sites. They don’t want you to sound “salesy” or be too pushy. What they really trying to say is don’t advertise on social media. Don’t be a bad salesperson. Bad salespeople and social media marketers get too excited about their product, present to prospects that are not interested, and generally become interruptions and pests.

No one wants to be smothered with unwanted advertising, but at the same time, we know people love to buy things and talk about it on social media. If only there were experienced people on your team trained and ready to ask questions, handle objections, build relationships and nurture buyers on the fence until they were ready to buy.

Oh yeah, that’s what good salespeople have been doing professionally for the past 100 years or so. They already know how to use social media effectively. Great social networking is essentially the exact same thing salespeople have always been doing; it is just in a new era and medium of social media and the Internet. The sales department is already prepared to engage prospects and customers individually.

If you want to do social media well, you might get your sales team involved in social media and give your marketing team some sales training. You could get them both working together to engage your prospects at the right time, with the right information and in the right manner.

If you did, you would be light-years ahead of your competition by using all of the resources available to build the best possible relationship with your clients because, right now, most marketers are learning social media the hard way—by doing it wrong and learning from their mistakes.