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Creating Crap At The Speed Of Light!

by David Brock on July 29th, 2014

Everyone is talking about social selling!  We have new tools, techniques, and capabilities to engage more people, more differently than we ever have before.  Social selling dominates many conversations.

Many would have you think social selling (social media, social marketing, social business, or whatever you call it) is the silver bullet.  Just do thing socially, prospects will come out of the woodwork, they’ll engage, they’ll pull out PO’s–pre-empting your twitter stream, blog posts, LinkedIn outreach.

Often, it seems to be a Field of Dreams approach, “If we do it socially, they will come.”

Social engagement has changed our business profoundly.  We are reaching and engaging people we might never have reached using our traditional marketing, demand gen, and prospecting methods.  The number of people we can reach, the breadth–both in sector and geography–has expanded profoundly.  The ability to reach them quickly and cheaply has skyrocketed.  Rather than investing the time and expense in developing traditional materials–white papers, brochures, flyers, etc.–we can develop them far more quickly and inexpensively in electronic formats.  This has given way to another powerful capability, it’s allowed us to customize the communications and materials, personalizing many of them more specifically to the targeted customer/prospect.

We understand much more of what’s happening with our communications than we were able to do in the past.  In the “old days,” we might invest in a fairly expensive direct mail program, we’d wait–a week or two.  We’d get a small number of pieces returned to us.  We might get some phone calls, but we never had a clear picture of what was happening with the things we sent out.  Today, we are able to measure and connect the dots on everything.  Recently, we noticed a large number of people from a specific company hitting on the blog site and web site.  We noticed a lot of them requesting a certain white paper, many signing up for our newsletter  (For those of you who haven’t signed up for it—it’s that little blue box on the right hand column), others “connecting” through LinkedIn.  We were able to look at these activities, connect the dots, realizing there was a specific issue they were trying to address–they were curious about our approaches, so when I called the EVP of Sales, he said, “Dave, we haven’t met yet, but I really need to talk to you, I think you can help us.”

So all this social stuff is important to us.

BUT………. (You had to know that was coming)

The things too many don’t seem to get from these social channels  are:

  • You still have to know what you are talking about,
  • You still have to be able to engage the customer in relevant, insightful conversations about their business — not your products,
  • You still have to get the customer to think differently about things, creating a compelling need to change,
  • You still have to create value in every interaction,
  • You still have to execute with purposefulness and precision.

It’s no different than it has ever been in selling.  And it will never be different in the future.

I think this is what many people miss about the social tools.  They think use of the tools themselves will create success.  So they will tweet wildly and aimlessly, they will engage in discussions carelessly, they will be seduced by the ability to “paper the world” with messages with the push of the enter key, they will use the new tracking tools to call someone within 5 minutes of a query–but engage them in the standard product pitch, they will not research, analyze, and apply the wealth of information available to them, choosing “Dear Occupant,” because it requires no work.

What is missed—probably what they missed using traditional techniques—is that you still have to do the work.  You still have to do those five things I outlined above.  There are no short cuts to clear thinking, deep understanding, engagement, value, and execution.

For some whose results were garbage using the old techniques, the social engagement techniques have enabled them to create crap at the speed of light!

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8 Comments
  1. Mark McNamee permalink

    Dave, this is exactly what I was referring to a few weeks ago. Some have been sold on the idea that get the social media tools in place and all will be fine. The shift in investment from understanding sales process and development and execution of the associated skills into what is essentially advertising albeit qualified is, in my opinion, not proportional in terms of ROI. It’s almost like the bad old days of sales reps when the sales manager went with the idea the more sales calls you made the sales you made. So make more calls (or tweets, blogs, etc etc). As always a great topic to discuss.

    • Great comments Mark, too often we blindly shift from poor execution of one technique to poor execution of the new—spending a lot of money, wasting time, creating more excuses for non performance (It’s the tool’s fault, not mine). Thanks for adding to the discussion.

  2. “The things too many don’t seem to get from these social channels are… [5-bullet list of genius]:”

    Yeah, and then there’s that. LOL.

    You’re on a roll, Messier Brock. (Kaiser?)

  3. I love these manias in sales techniques!

    We could catalogue them, see if they had an identifiable period to them.

    People have to be a certain age to forget what happened before they were in the business.

    Starting something new and unexplored creates the necessary excitement for younger people.

    • Michael: Great to hear from you (two times). It’s an interesting paradox. We want to innovate, doing new things that improve our impact and effectiveness. Too often, however, we do it only because its new and not because it’s effective. Too often we toss out the old–when we’ve failed to master it or when it can still serve us very well.

  4. Shouldn’t your title be: “Distributing Crap at the Speed of Light”?

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