Is Your Sales Team (Social) Selling or Marketing on Social Media?

By Kevin Thomas Tully (@kevinttully) Global Director of Social Selling Operations Despite the ability to accurately measure, prove ROI, and directly attribute revenue in CRM, the practice of …

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By Kevin Thomas Tully (@kevinttully) Global Director of Social Selling Operations

Despite the ability to accurately measure, prove ROI, and directly attribute revenue in CRM, the practice of Social Selling is still somewhat controversial in sales industry circles.

Confusion remains in some organizations that mistakenly believe Social Selling is the same as social media marketing.

That is simply not true.

To avoid any further misunderstanding, I offer the following definitions of Social Selling and social media marketing, as well as a few best practices to get started.

How do you define social selling?

The definition of Social Selling is simple, straightforward, and uncomplicated: Social Selling is leveraging social media to generate revenue. That’s it. Social Selling is simply sales. The methodology, however, is different.

Technology is simply an enabler, and social media is just another platform. It really doesn’t matter if your medium is the telephone, email, telegraph, or smoke signals, etc. Social media simply accelerates the sales conversation. Much like all of the aforementioned sales processes, revenue generation is the sole objective; in other words, the goal is to make a sale.

Surprisingly, the term “revenue” is absent from many popular “definitions” of Social Selling – and that’s unequivocally incorrect.

How do you define social media marketing?

Social Media marketing, on the other hand, is any social media activity that does not have revenue generation as its primary goal. (This may include, but is not limited to, activities such as personal and corporate brand awareness and brand building, etc.)   

You can sell on social media. Just don’t pitch. After all, it is called Social Selling.

What are the biggest differences between the two?

Revenue creation is the only differentiator between Social Selling and social media marketing.

  •  A simple litmus test is defined outcomes: What is your goal? Is your goal to make a sale? Are you trying to generate interest in your product or service that will lead to an offline conversation? If yes, you are engaging in Social Selling.
  •  If your goal is to simply generate vanity metrics – followers, likes, shares, comments, etc., – with no actionable conversion metrics like SQLs created, accounts created, opportunities created, sales velocity, or revenue generating metrics like appointments, offline sales conversations created, closed deals, and revenue, then you are engaging in social media marketing.

The difference between Social Selling and social media marketing is also as old as the sales vs. marketing debate: sales is a profit center, while marketing is a cost center. Sales drives revenue, while marketing drives awareness.

 For example, you can put a message in front of one million people, but unless someone takes an action on it, the message has no business value. Traditionally, social media marketing (marketing departments) would value the metrics that measured the one million views (or likes, shares, comments, etc.), while sales would value the action from the message – the revenue generated. 

What are your social selling best practices?

My Social Selling best practices are defined by the 3Cs of Social Selling success – Content, Conversation, and Conversion as outlined in my seminal Social Selling blog post. Being a continuous, supportive resource for my buyers and prospects and providing value during all stages of their buying journey is accomplished in the form of contextually relevant content. 

What are your social media marketing best practices?

My social media marketing best practices also incorporate the value-first principle. I follow the prescient advice of my father, who said the most important business skill is the ability to develop integrity-based relationships. I help others first and foremost without any expectation of reciprocity. 

Confusion is Unnecessary

If you’re still unsure about the differences between Social Selling and social media marketing, or would like additional training, then sign up to our Social Selling 101 course, which consists of 60 how-to videos along with a long-term strategy to monetize your social selling process.

This article originally appeared on Kevin’s LinkedIn.

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