One thing I’ve always liked about social media is that it’s a Wild West environment where the prim ponies of “marketing” and “sales” often get lost in the messy herds of people just talking ‘bout…well…stuff.
From meeting contacts, to learning what a potential or current client/customer is up to, to moving a prospect from awareness to purchase decision, in the social stampede, the line between marketing and sales is awfully blurry. And yet, many companies still insist on keeping their marketing and sales teams and social strategies distinctly siloed.
As one who’s worked in both roles in my career, this strikes me as odd.
Never before have I met a medium so ripe for collaborative learning and sharing between marketing and sales functions as social media.
I believe that the secret to mastering this medium is not to divide and conquer, but to reach out across those silos and learn the lessons that the other side has to teach.
What can marketers learn from salespeople?
One of the biggest concerns I hear when coaching or training marketing professionals in using social media is how to deal with social conversations in which the marketer in not in control.
This is totally understandable. After decades of functioning primarily in one-way conversations about their brands, many marketers are seriously freaked out when they find themselves now engaging in two-way social exchanges where the people want to talk back.
So, if you’re a marketer, how do you handle it when someone says, “No,” or “I don’t like your company” or “Stop talking to me?”
You take a lesson from the sales playbook.
Sales people have been engaging in two-way conversations for ages. And, as part of their job, they have to be skilled in the art of overcoming objections, warming up cold leads and getting back up after they’ve been blatantly shot down, right to their faces, in those conversations.
Like it or not marketers, those are some skills you could stand to learn if you want to succeed in social media.
What can salespeople learn from marketers?
One of the biggest concerns I hear when coaching or training sales professionals in using social media is how to sell things in a medium that does not always naturally lend itself to sales.
This too, is totally understandable. At first glance, social media often looks more like a broadcast platform to salespeople than it does a virtual networking event (which is, in reality, a more apt description of the medium).
After decades of being trained in weaving the ABC’s (Always. Be. Closing.) into their conversations, salespeople can be seriously freaked out when they find themselves in an environment where people may be totally resistant to having any sort of sales dialogue and simply want to chat.
So, if you’re a salesperson, how do you handle it when someone says, “What kind of TV show do you like?” or “I have a funny story to tell you.” or “What do you think of Klout?”
You take a lesson from the marketing playbook.
Marketers have been selling things without seeming salesy for ages. As part of their job, they have to be skilled in the art of taking their cues from their audience to inform their conversations and then naturally seeding their brand positioning into that conversation in a way that’s not too overt. (In effect, marketers have learned a different set of ABCs…Always. Be. Communicating.).
Like it or not salespeople, those are some skills you could stand to learn if you want to succeed in social media.
Okay folks. It’s group hug time.
So the next time you find your marketing or sales team sitting around a table stumped about how to proceed with social media strategy or engagement, take a lesson from my Wild West playbook…
Get off your high horse, open that silo’s door and mosey on over to the other team’s department. You’re all looking to corral the same herd, so maybe it’s time you taught each other some new tricks.