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The Role of Social in Selling or Lessons in ‘Eating Our Own Dogfood’

By Milan Ruzicka | Jan 17, 2018

Are you familiar with the expression ‘eating your own dog food’?  Predictably, the French have altered it to something like ‘drinking your champagne’.  Either way, it means you are living and experiencing your products in the life of your business. For example, if you are selling insurance your business carries hefty policies. If you sell a certain brand of smartphone, your employees all carry that same model.

At Thought Horizon we are a social selling company – so we should be using social media to acquire new customers, right? And sure, we do. However, not 100% of our customer acquisition plan revolves around social media. Shocking?  It shouldn’t be. Here’s why:

We found out early on that most of our prospects believe in the power of social media, but haven’t dipped a toe into it yet. For those folks, a strict social selling plan doesn’t make sense. We need to use more traditional means – like tradeshows and networking to get the pitch across and help them to unleash the power of social media for their sales teams.  One thing is for sure; we have shared this approach with our clients. In that respect, we are eating exactly our own dogfood.

Here is the approach we recommend to our customers:

a) Know your audience first, approach them on social media second

b) Make sure your marketing tools and sales enabling work in concert with one another, social media alone cannot fill your funnel.

c) Keep tools which work – even if you find them boring or old school. For example, don’t stop cold calling or emailing unless there is a strong case to do so.

Here is the why behind our approach…

We talked about the audience already – every business has its culture of obtaining information and working with prospects. Use and adoption of social media are everywhere in B2B sales, HOWEVER, it is not equally distributed. In some industries, your buyers are more reachable than in others. In our experience, high tech tends to have higher affinity to social media then say patent lawyers.

Marketing and sales tools working in concert, what a bliss that would be. My co-founder is a selling-for-life guy while I am the marketing-addict. We have seen many things in our careers, but neatly aligned sales and marketing aren’t one of them! It is part of the game, I guess. But nonetheless, both Sales and Marketing leaders need to strive for it. As a marketer, I can tell you that social selling is a good glue for sales and marketing. Many times, salespeople get easily excited, the social media selling story is exciting and working, and they ask marketers to help them. In those cases, no push necessary – pull instead!

Keeping tools, which work – this is one of my hard-earned lessons in marketing. Don’t lose focus and don’t believe in easy cures. Every organization and every industry has a workhorse of a tactic. And that workhorse keeps the business moving – it might be email campaigns, it might be telesales lead gen, it might be attending conferences. It is so tempting to focus your team’s energy on new bleeding edge ideas that you keep reading about – digital, AI, big data, social media. But don’t do it just yet. Make sure that your workhorse is well fed and groomed – then on the back of that success, you should try other new ideas like social selling.

Selling using social media in B2B works. You will get excited reps, impressions and prospect engagements. Start soon. But start small and learn along the way. It is not a bad idea to talk with somebody who has been down that path before. Let us know and we can connect you with our clients!

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