Caught an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review today on the disconnect between the seemingly natural fit of social media with a salesperson's business development activities and the surprising number of sales professionals who have yet to tap into these tools in a meaningful way.
Personally, I think the disconnect boils down to a single four-letter word: TIME
The article rightly calls out tools and strategies which can be employed to streamline the process of managing your social strategy, but for salespeople who aren't young twenty-somethings, there's likely to be a significant learning curve (and time investment) associated with familiarizing themselves with the channels and the basic concepts of social media, let alone the software tools to create and distribute content efficiently. And it's not just the newbies that struggle with carving out the time necessary to employ a social media strategy – at HSC we've got a marketing team that's focused on utilizing social as part of our overall SEO strategy, that's familiar with the channels and has access to the management tools, yet we still struggle to find the time to have a consistent, disciplined commitment to content creation.
We're actually in the process of engaging our direct salespeople into the content creation process and integrating them into our social strategy. Likewise, many of our Hussey Seating Exclusive Dealers are considering or implementing a social component to their own marketing, so the HBR piece was a good, timely reminder of the increasing importance of the social channel to our sales performance. As the HBR article points out "...once your customers have learned to expect social network connections, it may be impossible to sell without them."