2013: Year of the Social Selling Expert

If social media and content marketing managers are to survive the meteoric rise of “big data” they’ll need to become social selling experts—pronto. Like any new marketing trend, few can actually agree on what big data is. Yet the drumbeat of its promise is quickening and becoming louder. The role of the CMO is increasingly coming under pressure to techno-fy, automate and focus on bridging the gap between marketing and sales teams.

If social media and content marketing managers are to survive the meteoric rise of “big data” they’ll need to become social selling experts—pronto.

Like any new marketing trend, few can actually agree on what big data is. Yet the drumbeat of its promise is quickening and becoming louder. The role of the CMO is increasingly coming under pressure to techno-fy, automate and focus on bridging the gap between marketing and sales teams.

Facebook, blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn? Inbound marketing, content marketing?

“Yup, we’re on it.”

B-to-B marketers are “just doing it.” Growth is slowing. The love affair with social media and content marketing is nearly over. Everyone’s all gaa-gaa over big data.

Social Media Marketing: A Necessary Evil?
We’ve seen this kind of stagnation before in the days of online affiliate marketing. It didn’t take CEOs and vice presidents very long to go from boasting about how many thousands of affiliates they have to completely ceasing to talk about affiliate marketing.

Suddenly, behind closed doors, executive leaders started calling their affiliate marketing programs “a necessary evil.” Today, it’s a check on a checklist of mundane strategies that aren’t customer acquisition channels at all. At best they’re over-priced customer retention devices.

Social media and content marketing are at risk of suffering a similar fate: not being strategic. Will social media marketing end up being seen as a necessary evil, just another check mark on a list of ho-hum marketing strategies, more ways to spend money?

Said more bluntly: Will you be seen as a money spender or a money-maker in 2013? Will you get caught up in Doug Kessler’s “crap storm” or will your content produce leads and sales?

Because ultimately the difference between content that’s crap and content that isn’t is simple: Its ability to create a business lead.

The Rise of Social Selling Experts
For a select few large brands and small businesses social marketing is surviving and, in fact, thriving—powering businesses forward. These places are where we see today’s social selling experts emerging. These savvy pros see the rise of flash-in-the-pan trends as good news—a time to dig in and create bottom-line impact. Leads and sales.

One such pro is Ed Worthington of Action Business Systems, a provider of document management products and services.

You might be thinking, “Sure, Molander but Ed is a traditional sales professional, I’m a marketer.”

Yes, but that’s precisely the point.

Especially in the world of B-to-B marketing, the last few years has seen the meteoric rise of marketing automation, sales enablement—whatever buzzword term you want to use it amounts to one thing: The bridging of sales and marketing through technology-driven processes.

Today’s most successful online marketers are online SELLERS. These people aren’t afraid to be held accountable for leads and sales. Heck, they thrive on the chance to sing for their supper. They know success is all about applying specific skills like coming up with blog content that creates leads.

Maybe you’re asking, “Why is now the time … why should I be considering rising to the ranks of a social selling expert?”

Because the trend toward investing more on “big data” must be met by big change. If you’re going to keep your job or client relationship (or GROW it) you’ll be wise to become a social selling expert. Reach beyond engagement and become a money-maker, not just a money-spender.

What do you think?

Author: Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc., where he built the sales team. Today, he is the authority on effective prospecting communications techniques as founder of Communications Edge Inc. (formerly Molander & Associates Inc.) He's been in sales for over 2 decades. He is author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.Jeff is a sales communications coach and creator of the Spark Selling technique—a means to spark more conversations with customers "from cold," speeding them toward qualification.

One thought on “2013: Year of the Social Selling Expert”

  1. Agree with your premise, Jeff. While I do think, in certain industries, there’s a place for social as a brand- and awareness-building vehicle, my point-of-view is that if you can’t plausibly explain how a marketing initiative is going to measurably improve your business results, you shouldn’t be doing it. Definitely true of social. In addition, from an operational perspective I think that targeting real sales opportunities should make social efforts more focused and therefore more successful.

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