Social Selling, An Update

Sales-Brief-Case-720Buying in the B2B space is increasingly incorporating social networking as a key component of the buying process.

The sales people who take advantage of that trend are therefore more likely to be successful than their colleagues using more traditional approaches. A recent study by the Aberdeen group found that sales professionals who were taking advantage of social selling were achieving a 16% gain in year-over-year selling revenue, four times the gain at similar companies who are not taking advantage of social selling.

The social network LinkedIn has become one of the leaders in enabling social selling for salespeople in the B2B segment. LinkedIn’s research has discovered that that sales people using their social selling service are over 50% more likely to exceed their quota, three times more likely to significantly exceed quota. As well, their sales leaders are promoted to executive levels 60% faster.

About a year ago I collaborated with a long time sales and marketing colleague Susan Tormollen to creat e a series of posts which discussed the importance of a tight alignment between marketing and sales in eliminating common disconnects across the marketing to sales interface.

In Susan’s current role, she and her team have experienced significant advantages of social selling on the selling side. Susan, as a buyer of marketing services, has also witnessed first hand the advantage seized by a company who used social selling to seek and win her business.

In this four minute video interview, Susan discusses those experiences and lays out some first steps for companies wanting to get on board with of this significant trend, and to capture some of the sales performance benefits noted by LinkedIn.


Here are some of the next steps noted by Susan, echoing many of the ideas of our discussions last spring, but in the context of improved and fast moving capabilities available in the interconnected world:

  • Begin with a solid commitment from sales and marketing leadership to invest in the collaboration.
  • Lay the foundation by building a social selling infrastructure
  • Dedicate the time and teamwork for sale and marketing to coordinate very tightly to identify the opportunity and the key buying elements to target.
  • Create transparent and smooth handoffs back and forth between sales and marketing through the entire duration of the campaign.

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One Reply to “Social Selling, An Update”

  1. Jim, thanks for writing and involving a marketing expert (how are you, Susan?) on an important topic. Making sure that the goals of marketing and the goals of sales both are understood and copacetic are an important aspect. Too many times, well intended goals are actually divergent. Take a lead generation program. Marketing says “We generated 2x the number of leads we needed!” Sales says “Geez, those leads stink!” Who’s right? Likely both! Social selling and marketing programs shouldn’t be necessarily judged by a small continuum of time! Susan’s example is a good example of this point.

    Prospecting is easier today than the ever due to technologies like LinkedIn, Twitter,, and e-mail tracking software like Tout or Sidekick. To supplement this activity, what I have found powerful is looking at approaches/programs like social selling, lead generation, webinars, seminars, etc as a continuum of customer communication. Think of making the message a “constant drum beat.” Certainly, quantitative evidence leads you to repeat programs/tactics that “work.” Looking holistically at the marketing and sales strategy is where the power comes in, and ensuring that the credit is collective across the team!

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