3 Ways Social Media has Changed Sales Forever

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? I roll over to silence the alarm on my cell phone. As my eyes adjust to the phone’s bright light, I scroll through a series of notifications that came through while I was sleeping.

Allison tagged me in a post on Facebook, aww it’s Timehop, that was a fun weekend! New Instagram follower and 7 likes, slowly but surely I’m gonna be InstaFamous! Uh oh, I have a dozen work related emails I need to answer. Diana shared my article on LinkedIn, thanks Di! Two connections have a new job, I should congratulate them, and see if they want to buy NetSuite again!  I have 5 “friends” with birthdays today I should text at least one of them. I have a retweet, wonder what I tweeted that was so insightful? Tyler posted a new restaurant recommendation in our Slack channel, looks yummy, I should make a reservation on OpenTable. Direct deposit to my Bank of America account, score PAYDAY! Betterment says I’m trending at 7.4% for my investment strategy, nothing like making money while you sleep! Dave sent me a message on Tinder, was he the one with the pug or the pocket square in his profile pic? Sara just learned how to “faceswap” on SnapChat, now I have half a dozen strange selfies of “familiar faces.”  We have a new customer video on the NetSuite YouTube channel, digital marketing agency Forthea establishes more trust with their clients through visibility. My Outlook calendar says I have four meetings today, one is client facing; I need to wear a blazer to work. Finally, I’m back to zero steps for the day, gotta get up and moving, I’m not coming in second place to Amy again for the “WorkWeek Hustle” challenge.

I don’t know about you, but that was the first 10 minutes of my morning today, and seems to be every morning in this digital age. What does my social news feed across a dozen apps have to do with sales?

We are living in a world where nearly everything we do is tracked, measured, compared, and validated. That means we have more ways than ever before to set goals, compete, share successes, and gain instant gratification.

From my perspective this shift in how we communicate socially has changed the way I think about selling in 3 fundamental ways:

1) Setting Goals-

Goal setting is critical to success in any endeavor, professionally or personally. I can’t tell you how many “goal setting” workshops I have attended where we discuss making SMART goals. But social is transforming all of that. I can set a financial goal in Betterment and get real time updates, I can track a fitness goal in my FitBit and it will remind me to exercise or drink water throughout the day, I can have a goal for 1,000 Instagram followers and engage with each new follower in real-time. Every morning when I wake up I already have a dozen tiny goals that I never would have considered important even 5 years ago. And each of these little daily goals whether it’s getting in my 10,000 steps, or swiping right to get a match, can all be recorded with little win notifications pushed to me throughout the day to keep me motivated. It also gives me a million more ways to interact with my colleagues, prospects, and customers with more platforms than ever to capture engagement. In a career where the biggest barrier to success is a fear of rejection, sales people can now leverage tiny wins throughout the day trending against a whole laundry list of new personal and professional goals to stay motivated towards the longer term goal of quota relief.

2) Lending Prescriptive Advice-

My FitBit asked me if I wanted to create a sleep plan last week. It noticed I wasn’t getting the hours of sleep I had input that I wanted and proactively offered to set some new alarms or bedtime reminders for me. My Betterment app notified me I was trending behind schedule for my “House Fund” account, and suggested I increase my monthly deposit. TripAdvisor noticed I was in Camden Market this weekend and suggested a trendy new restaurant for me to try and sent me a coupon to use for happy hour, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere don’t mind if I do!  Not only does technology help us track against goals we set, but now it’s getting smart enough to offer insights and advice to help us in ways we hadn’t even considered before. Our expectations for how we engage with technology are changing. Sales is going to have to change too. It won’t be enough to solve the problems your customers have self-identified, it’s up to you as the sales person to understand your industry and bring prescriptive advice for future or hidden challenges your prospects hadn’t even considered.

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3) Visibility Through Peer Comparison

It’s one thing for me to use all these tools at my disposal in a silo, but the power of some of these apps is magnified by peer comparison and competition. I’m in a competition right now with 6 of my friends (all living in different parts of the world) for the “WorkWeek” Hustle on FitBit to see who does the most steps this week. I’m in a secret competition with my friend Molly to get more Instagram followers than her… but she doesn’t even know I stalk her feed. I really want more likes on this article than Lindsey’s article about getting off Facebook. I need to get my SSI .5 points higher to beat Chris this month. With the public and social aspect to so many of these tools we can now set benchmarks for ourselves against our peer groups. Having all this data for comparison can also keep us motivated and excited for the challenge of competition. Sales people have always been motivated by winning, with visibility now to a global peer group we have to up our game. It’s not satisfying enough anymore for me to be the best of the 6 reps that sit next to me in my office when I now have access to a global peer group to challenge me.

What other changes have you noticed, or do you anticipate from this shift to social selling?

For more insights on Social Selling and to follow my #NetSuiteNomad travels around the world subscribe to my blog here. 

Kelli Lampkin

Kelli Lampkin is a writer, traveler, comedienne, and entrepreneur.

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