Social Media and the Sales Person
By Holly Zoba Senior VP of Sales - Hospitality, Signature Worldwide | February 12, 2012
No matter how your organization is currently structured, it is important to involve your salespeople in your social media strategy. And since it is tough for a sales team to shift gears from "hard sales" to using social media, effort on the organization's part is extremely crucial to ensure they have your support. The majority of salespeople are already involved in various communication channels like email, phone, newsletters, etc., so why not give them the training on social media that is needed to make them even more successful.
However, who has time for social media? Certainly not salespeople, right? Salespeople should be on the phone making prospecting calls, or pounding-the-pavement in building relationships, but they should not be sitting behind their computers fooling around on Facebook.
I have heard this from all levels of my hospitality clients – SVPs of brand sales, general managers and more than a few property level salespeople. I recently posted the question on LinkedIn – Should salespeople be involved with social media or should it be left up to others – say in marketing? The response was overwhelming in favor of letting anyone else be involved but salespeople – front desk, marketing, managers, anyone before sales.
However, the research overwhelmingly suggests that the most successful sellers are defying the common direction and instead embracing social media. And when you look at purchaser trends, it isn't a surprise.
Marketingsherpa.com recently released the results of a study that showed if a large company – 1000 or more employees – were making a tech purchase of $25,000 or greater, no less than 21 people had some part in the decision. That is 21 influencers and or decision makers for a single purchase of $25,000! While that number may be lower for a hotel purchasing decision than for a tech product, inevitably, there are more decision makers and influencers involved than ever before. Downsizing seems to have led to more shared responsibilities, which means more input at every level.
How can a salesperson hope to maintain relationships with 21 different people in a single organization? It seems somewhat impossible, unless they can tap into a network, say one that is social in nature.