Ten years have passed since I watched Nigel Edelshain’s video explaining the term “Sales 2.0”. Many things have happened in the meantime: social networking, tech, and even business practices have evolved. People talk about Social Selling – a lot. In this article, I’ll tell you why I believe this concept will, despite popular opinions, soon fade away.
The reason why I decided to write this article is that I recently realized that I haven’t learned anything new about Social Selling in the past two years. Despite the many focused events I attended on this topic, the many articles I read about it, the several MOOC I followed and the many social selling gurus (no irony here) I follow on social media (yes, some irony actually).
A homemade interview of Nigel Edelshain about Sales 2.0, posted in 2009 on YouTube
I won’t focus on the “Social Selling appellation” issue, which I already mentioned in this article. And the goal here is not to talk about what we should call the use of social networks to connect, build trust before you even mention any product or prices. I believe that we all get the point.
What I want to highlight in this article is the fact that, in my humble opinion, the social selling practices learning curve has reached its peak. Only some MarTech still manage to be surprising and exciting occasionally. ie. those employee advocacy widgets or solutions that help improve your Sales Navigator efficiency and UX.
With the highly digitally-skilled generation popping up right now, we cannot keep pretending that we still have new things to teach them about how to use social media for smart business purposes. Now what we can still teach them is how to perform business in a better, smarter and more human-centric way. Social media is just the bridge, surely not the bottleneck to embrace modern business.
What I mean here is that the way you do business is the same IRL and through social media. Phone conversations, face-to-face meeting, LinkedIn conversation through comments and direct messaging: your success (or lack thereof) is mostly about two things: The way you learned how to do business. And common sense. Period.
Do not get me wrong: I am not saying that we don’t need Social Networking coaches anymore. Some companies still need help to integrate a proper social selling strategy to their business model. Though I strongly believe that there are way too many SoMe coaches in the sales & marketing world. A lot of them hardly being true social selling experts, but instead just a person with better agility and more LinkedIn experience than the average marketer.
What we call Social Selling will progressively fade away, at least as the “bankable” marketing paradigm we all know. Companies will still manage to perform business out of it. But if their revenue is mainly based on this, they will need to pivot to another core strategy within the next two years to remain ahead of competition.
This is why LinkedIn does not have to worry about its professional services revenues for the next 5 years at least:
- Teaching someone how to use LinkedIn for revenue-generation purposes has become standard need
- Implementing Social Selling MarTech remains complex and requires experts
- LinkedIn has no real competitor is the domain of Social Selling
- Why would you work with a Social Selling specialized agency, who will then have to rely on LinkedIn anyways?
- Who is more qualified than LinkedIn to be your Social Selling partner?
I am not comfortable with these statements either. And I am clearly being provocative on purpose here. But this is how the landscape looks to me.
One thing that a Social Selling agency can still help you with: is to get everyone on board very quickly, to cater to your social selling to your business and prevent you from making some rookie mistakes. Also, Social Selling agencies will not automatically push you to use paying advertisement unless it fits your market and development needs.
While LinkedIn will obviously be tempted to recommend sponsored content, as this is what their business model is based on. Although I would like to think that you can find in LinkedIn an honest, objective and long-term thinking business developer.
Share your comments and thoughts, we are here to debate, not just to agree or disagree with one another!