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Social Selling

Why robots won’t kill social selling

By Sander Biehn | Dec 12, 2016

If you think robots and spammers can destroy social selling, you’d be mistaken. Creating efficiencies between buyers and sellers cannot be stopped. It is like water taking the simplest course down the side of a hill.

But don’t try to tell SAP Marketing Exec Nicholas Kontopoulos that. He had the ignoble fortune of being named top social marketer in Asia earlier this year. Within hours a deluge of unsolicited LinkedIn queries was filling his InMail. It wasn’t long before it topped 1,000 messages. The story is worth a read. When Mr. Kontopoulos chided his spammers for their actions, they replied that they were simply using Social Selling.

1. Spamming isn’t social selling – Social Selling is using social media to improve the efficiency of the sales process at all stages of the funnel. I suppose you could argue that spammers are engaging in “top-of-funnel prospecting”, but simply calling more possible prospects has never yielded more results than being smarter about who you call. Social media offers so many opportunities to gauge customer interest, it is crazy to blindly reach out to someone like this. These spammers had no idea what Mr. Kontopoulos’ business problems were let alone whether they could help him.

2. Robots are making buyers more selective and wary—and it’s a good thing! – It is true that many buyers are fearful that if they air their deepest desires on social media, they will be attacked by bots and spammers. This is actually an advantage for true social sellers. Social sellers have an opportunity connect more intimately with the same buyers by taking things slow and selectively. By being a helpful member of a buyer’s social network, these sellers have a better chance of being called in to do some real problem solving. Meanwhile, spammers actions only isolate them further from the buyers.

3. Bots and Email marketing should be used properly – If properly used bots and email marketing (a euphemistic term for spam) can be a good thing. Bots can point us to people of interest. As long as we take proper care when connecting and engaging with these people online, we are actually making selling more efficient. Additionally, emails that point buyers toward tools and resources of interest are welcomed by buyers. Offering solutions and prices before the buyers’ problems are understood is a disservice to everyone.

4. AI is going to give bots an upgrade – AI chat-bots for simple B2C sales and customer service is already a huge topic with marketers. This is only the beginning. Bots will become more sophisticated, and their proper deployment will be critical to success. It isn’t a matter of trying to fool the person interacting with the bot. It is more a matter of offering an efficiency or value in getting information or resources that are highly desired by buyers. If we keep that goal in mind, bots may become junior sales and BDR/SDR (cold-callers) for account executives.

Gaming the system is human nature, but bots can’t spoil the social selling party. Hesitating to get involved in social selling in the chance that they might is a specious and unwise decision. Social selling is maturing no matter what. It is embracing the same technology that threatens to destroy it and that can only make it stronger.

Reach out to us if you are planning to implement Social Selling.

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