I’m seeing an alarming trend in sales. I call it a trend, but it may not be as much a trend as it is a systemic problem. I’m noticing that sales people are amazingly slow to adapt and are rather stubborn really. As someone who lives in the world of social, I’m realizing it’s easy to be lulled into the idea that most people are leveraging social and many of the new selling concepts, but the truth is, they’re not.
Last week I was on a plane and met an accomplish Director of Sales. A pragmatic, driven, sales leader who had been working with the same company for over 10 years. The company is a highly successful Web 1.0 company. It’s not like she was working for safety pin manufacturer. This super smart, super driven person was barely touching the surface on social media. She was barely touching the surface for challenger selling and despite her impressive credentials she was doing VERY little to build her brand or leverage social media. She was years behind and for the most part and she didn’t care.
It is extremely uncommon for me to take on a new client and see sales people embracing social media, content marketing or any other type of new selling approaches. Sales people just aren’t leveraging social at the pace the experts like to think they are. I see tacit support, but for the most part. Social selling isn’t on your average sales person’s radar.
For most sales people, if they are making their numbers or coming close they feel there is no need. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s most sales people’s mantra. Here’s the problem with that POV. Social takes time. When it is finally “broke” it’ll be too late to start and we’re seeing more and more sales leaders using social to find new sales people and to vet them. If they can’t find you or you can’t demonstrate that you get social media when it comes to selling, you ain’t gonna get a second look.
Social is a legimate tool for selling. This report says it all, 72% of all sales people who use social media out perform those who don’t. Social selling used to be an advantage, as the report shows, however it’s becoming less of an advantage and more of a must do. The gap is closing. Social selling isn’t a trend and sales people and sales leaders need to stop being so stubborn.
Sales people need to stop being so stubborn. They need to pick up their heads and look around, even if they are making quota. Sales is changing whether they want it to or not. There is no excuse not to be using social media. There is no excuse not to have a brand in your respective space. There is no excuse not to be engaging people online regularly. Stop being so frickin’ stubborn sales people — we’re better than that.