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Who Really Owns Social Selling?

Authors: Sylvia Jensen Sylvia Jensen
Posted Under: Social Media
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Who Really Owns Social Selling

“A-B-C. A: always, B: be, C: closing,” is the immortal advice Alec Baldwin’s character Blake imparts to a group of hapless salesmen in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross. This basic sales tenet has not changed much since, but the role of sales and marketing has definitely moved on (for the better).

Although many companies are taking social selling seriously these days and developing a solid social selling strategy, who within your organization actually owns it?

The obvious answer would be the sales team. They’re the ones selling. But the reality is that in many organizations, marketing is driving the initiative in terms of social techniques, where to prospect, and creating content that drives the conversation and engagement with potential buyers. In some cases, the marketing department is even funding the cost of the technology used by sales to do social selling.

There is definitely a lot of “selling” involved in social selling, and the sales team needs training on creating personal brands, using social listening technology, engagement, and measuring their success. But the marketing department has an important role to play in most organizations.

Here are some areas where marketing can help:

Identifying Watering Holes

By using the same buyer personas created and used by the marketing department to develop the overall digital marketing strategy, marketing can identify the right micro markets for sales to focus their social selling efforts on social channels, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Compile a list of online groups, forums, and key influencers your sales people should follow and get to know.

Sharing Social Media Techniques

Marketing departments have been engaging with their audiences via social media for years and will have an established social selling strategy, which sales teams need to take advantage of and integrate with. Sales should start by social listening and plugging into online conversations to understand the important issues and topics of potential prospects. This will fuel authentic conversations.

Empower Sales to Have Intelligent Conversations

Social selling is much more about sharing quality content than driving a sales angle. Marketing should have a library of developed and curated content to share with sales for target personas, hopefully for each stage of the sales cycle. Build social selling campaigns “in a box” that share the right messages, the right calls to action, and in the right format for social channels for sales to easily deploy. Adding some creative elements or image files can help improve engagement for the team’s developed posts and messages.

Sales Training and Enablement

The “last mile” in any good campaign is sales enablement. Marketing needs to ensure that the sales team understands the campaign messaging and what materials are available, as well as where to find them easily. Make sure there is sales leadership support. The campaign launch should be part of standard sales training or enablement, so that the sales team see it as something they need to do, rather just information from marketing.

Working Together for Your Social Selling Strategy

The best part of social selling is that it gives sales and marketing another opportunity to work together in the ever-blending roles of the two teams. With the customer experience at the center of both marketing and sales department strategies these days, only by working together will social selling succeed. It’s called social selling, but there’s a lot of marketing involved.

This blog was updated by Michelle Saunders, Director of Content.

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