I recently had a conversation with a VP of sales who asked me what I thought of social selling. Not sure where he stood on the topic, I shared my view that for me selling is selling, I don’t have the need like many marketers, to categorize or qualify things. As a longtime proponent of the movement to unhyphenate sales, I have felt that tagging a label on sales, be that Solution Selling, Consultative Selling, Sales 2.0 or Social selling, were just stupid distractions that served little else that the book sales of the person who coined the phrase, rarely those who jump on the bandwagon. As in music, there are many genres, but in the end, there is good music or bad music; there is successful selling, or unsuccessful selling, the rest is theater, theater that distracts from the core issues: Revenue.
Being that we are at the height of earnings season, and that we were both Jewish, I decided to do the tribal thing, and answer a question with a question: “When you look at your quarterly results, do you break out revenue as “Social Revenues”, “Traditionally sold revenue”, “Revenue from resourceful sellers leveraging all resources”? We all know the answer is NO! Revenue (as long as it is attained legally and ethically) is revenue.
Changing the narrative to revenue from sales, puts a whole different light on the subject, especially when you consider that most companies have revenues that well exceed the amount of revenue generated by their sales teams. How is that other revenue attained, how can sales help increase revenue in all channels, not just one, the one they are in? In the end, this all comes down to a simple process of Plan – EXECUTE – Review – Adjust – EXECUTE some more, and over again. I will be the first to admit this may not be as exciting, chic or trendy as social selling, it is much more effective where it counts, revenue.
Labeling or hyphenating sales not only brings unneeded complexity to sales, because now we are doing thigs to satisfy a system rather than for revenue, it also opens a number of opportunities for distraction, and wasted time and energy. I recently met a VP of sales at a company selling an enterprise application, he did not know his BDR’s conversion ratios, but seemed to be up-to-the-minute on the number “likes” his Facebook page had. OK, I thought, and asked “How much is each Like worth in top line revenue?” No idea. Yet when I interviewed his Director, he felt part the BDR’s challenge was that they were spending too much time on social media, learning everything there is to know about leads they were provided, failing to reach out to those leads instead.
Revenue is not hyphenated, revenue is not Social. Revenue either exists or does not. Where it does it is due to execution, and where it doesn’t it is due to excuses.