Social Selling Mastery: Scaling Up Your Sales and Marketing Machine for the Digital Buyer
The best thing about the new book “Social Selling Mastery: Scaling Up Your Sales and Marketing Machine for the Digital Buyer” by Jamie Shanks is that it is not really about social selling. It is about effective inbound lead generation in the 21st century.
I have been criticizing the term “social selling” as often as I can because it apparently leads a majority of sales people and their executives to believe that they should now repeat their bad habits on social media. Most sales people and their executives still believe that social selling is broadcasting their propaganda on social media in general and also directly to individuals using email, Twitter DM, InMail and other types of personal messaging platforms. The volume of bragging and propaganda on social media and in personal messages is deafening, annoying and obviously extremely ineffective. No wonder that someone just recently left a comment on a LinkedIn discussion on the subject of social selling saying “I find social selling intrusive.”
Social Selling is not Social Yelling
Jamie Shanks’ book “Social Selling Mastery” defines the concept of social selling and provides the full answer to what effective inbound lead generation looks like today. I agree 100% with his definition.
Social Selling Mastery is the best handbook I have yet to read on how to design, execute AND scale a productive and effective inbound lead generation program in the 21st century where the power balance between buyers and sellers has changed completely and where buyers’ behavior and their buying journeys follow completely different steps compared to the previous century.
Social selling is not intrusive (at least not the first step)
There is absolutely nothing intrusive about step one of social selling. Social selling is a way to facilitate (and maybe accelerate) the buyer’s journey. Social selling matches your sales activities with the steps the buyer prefers to take on the path from understanding a challenge, problem or opportunity all the way to deciding to do something about it and choosing who to ask for help (buying a product and/or a service).
The book explains in great detail how to produce information (blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, webinars etc.) that is useful for the buyer in her various buying journey stages. But producing all this material is meaningless unless we can bring it to the attention of the buyer. The book therefore spends many pages explaining how we can ensure that potential customers can find and be exposed to this material.
I know that many people have a problem with our ability to monitor their behavior on social media. The fact that we have tools to monitor events and behavior of individuals allowing us to reach out with contextual and situational insight is disturbing to many.
I don’t share this position.
First of all, we have to accept that commercial companies have a need to reach out to potential customers. They cannot sit and wait by the phone hoping someone will find them and call. When someone reaches out to me based on real insight offering me something of value to my current situation should I then be disturbed? The fact of the matter is that this doesn’t happen very often. What happens instead is that people reach out with no clue about my business and my situation and offer me something that has absolutely no value to me. They are wasting their time and resources and potentially also wasting my time and resources. That I find disturbing.
Call to action
Dear business development, marketing, sales and other revenue generation professionals all over the world. Please do yourselves a favor: Get hold of Jamie Shanks’ book “Social Selling Mastery”, give a copy to all your team members and read the book together as your next training exercise. Then apply the principles from the book.
When you have done that, then you should get hold of “Predictable Prospecting: How to Radically Increase Your B2B Sales Pipeline” by Marylou Tyler and Jeremey Donovan. Then repeat the exercise.
Then you get hold of “The Sales Development Playbook: Build Repeatable Pipeline and Accelerate Growth with Inside Sales” by Trish Bertuzzi. And you repeat the exercise again.
By doing this I can guarantee that you will develop a world class lead generation and sales machine that will outcompete anyone in your industry and you will be on the path to global market leadership.
How can I guarantee this?
Because the vast majority of your competitors will not read the books, a majority of those that do read them will fail to execute and change the behavior of their organizations. They will fall back on their old habits of social yelling annoying their potential buyers that will then flock to you.
The future belongs to the ambitious and the guidebooks are readily available. Remember to enjoy the journey.
5 stars to Jamie Shanks for writing a great book with a very precise and practical introduction to social selling.
The never ending story
One of Jamie Shanks’ recommendations is to never let the story end. If you want a short introduction to social selling you can start with downloading and reading my free whitepaper: “Social Selling Without Contextual and Situational Content is Like Partying with Robots.”
The whitepaper defines the three types of content and explains how you decide when to provide your potential customers with each type. It then introduces the concept of marketing and sales as the facilitation of the buyer’s journey and explains that the nature of your business model determines to what degree you can take advantage of social media.