There is too much emphasis being placed on not prospecting with LinkedIn to engage in “social selling.”
Not selling in order to sell.
I’m referring to the idea of “sharing valuable content” as a means to “become seen as a thought leader” by leads and, ultimately, somehow, sell something.
Personally, this strikes me as an idea cooked-up by an artsy brand marketer — as opposed to a scientific direct response marketer.
Cold calling coach, Kraig Kleeman says the SSI, “encourages people to re-post already regurgitated content that is largely irrelevant.”
The net effect, says Mr. Kleeman, “is that our news feeds are being overwhelmed with unhelpful and unnecessary content that is hindering sellers from being productive.”
Mr. Kleeman says sellers investing in this marketing-like form of social selling risk spending needless hours weekly scanning through irrelevant data.
“LinkedIn continues to monetize its community at the expense of intellectual integrity,” says Kleeman.
Measure Your Team’s Use of LinkedIn This Way
“If you want a measure that helps tie social selling to actual deals, capture how a lead becomes a prospect and across what channel that engagement happens,” says Mark Birch.
Birch says knowing the source of leads is not enough. We should understand how a lead (whether bought list, trade show, targeted account list, etc.) was engaged in a certain way. This can be compared to outbound prospecting methods.
“From an inbound perspective, tag content links with UTM codes that tie back to shares via sales reps. SSI is a fun vanity metric, nothing more, nothing less,” says Mr. Birch.
Bottom Line: Should Sellers Use LinkedIn?
“Social selling is a myth created by so called sales experts,” says Simon Marley, CEO of Growth Logik. Marley spent the last year researching LinkedIn for sales prospecting data and intelligence. He says it’s an invaluable resource.
However, “After trial and error we came to the conclusion that LinkedIn is only good for two things: Research and InMail,” says Mr. Marley.
I agree. Sales people tend to be expensive. Having them spend their time sharing content strikes me as a pretty expensive broadcasting mechanism.
Think about it this way: Do you run out the door to buy a new truck after seeing an ad during the football game? Of course not. Then why are you expecting someone to come running to you with a purchase order after sharing content on LinkedIn?
You might reply, “I’m not, Jeff. I’m a) soft selling by b) staying on-the-radar of potential customers and c) listening for signals that prospects might be in ‘buying mode’ soon.”
To which I would ask, “What’s your process to make that happen?” or “can you prove to me this will be an effective use of your time — with numbers?”
What do you think? Is 80 percent (or more) of “social selling” pushing content in order to stay-on-the-radar of potential customers?