Salespeople like to beat quota. According to Sales Benchmark Index, reps who incorporate social media into their process acheive 66% higher quota attainment than their less socially savvy peers. Therefore, according to the rules of logic, salespeople should love social selling.
It makes sense on paper, but reality doesn't always match theory -- for better or worse. If the above reasoning made perfect sense to you, prepare yourself for a shock. A recent research report from GetApp,a company that reviews sales management software, revealed that a mere 15% of salespeople are using social media in their prospecting efforts.
Email emerged as the sales contact channel of choice, followed closely by phone, and face-to-face. Social media lagged behind these more traditional methods.
What's holding salespeople back from hopping on the social selling bandwagon? One plausible reason is time -- specifically, the lack thereof.
"The 'Always Be Closing' mantra doesn’t apply to social media, with research and then subtle engagement being key actions before even thinking about closing," GetApp's Karen McCandless writes in the research report. "Sales professionals need to take the time to research contacts and the companies they work for, look for connections in common, and explore stories they have commented on or issues they are interested in."
While it's true that taking a relationship-building approach to sales is more time-consuming than simply picking up the phone and cold calling your way through a purchased lead list, this more buyer-friendly method pays dividends in referrals and repeat business.
As HubSpot Sales VP Pete Caputa points out, "Relationship skills are still what builds businesses."
So what do you think? Does the 15% statistic strike you as low? Do you dabble in social selling, and if so, have the results been worth the effort? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or talk to your sales peers in real time on our Slack channel.
Originally published Jul 22, 2016 12:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017