It’s easy for marketers to sit in their tech-enabled smart offices and laugh at sales departments. After all, B2B marketers saw the opportunities that social offered early, jumped at paid ads and made cross-platform noise to try to top-load sales funnels; sales departments in the same organisations are only just embracing the idea of selling with social media.

Sales has always thought quick but reacted slow. That’s why reported that in 2015 only 25% of salespeople knew how to integrate social into their selling process (and why marketers still think of salespeople as chain-smoking, rolodex-toting shysters…).

But times have changed. Sales professionals and marketers alike are tied to their CRM, and if you’ve even dipped a toe in LinkedIn in the last five years you’ll have heard all about social selling, whether you wanted to or not.

So how can marketers apply lessons from social selling to real-world, offline interactions? How can they improve message reach and clarity beyond their screens? Let’s take a look.

The Principles Have Powerful Real-World Applications (including Whiteboarding)

“social selling refers to placing focus on building relationships and adding value to prospects selflessly. Sales increase because of genuine trust and personal capital” –

Social selling emphasises building strong networks, developing personal relationships and creating trust – and then on leveraging those relationships and that trust to drive revenue. Take those principles offline and they hold. In fact, they might provide a blueprint for how to better integrate sales and marketing teams in the digital age…

Marketers Should Lead Messaging

Collaborative CRM systems give marketing teams the opportunity to analyse sales and marketplace data, and to tailor messaging accordingly. There’s an unprecedented opportunity to look at real-time performance data around how and where messaging is most effective, and to shape the conversation around those insights. Whiteboarding is a great tool for this.

Salespeople Offer Real-World Targeted ‘Reach’

Increasing the breadth, velocity and quality of your message’s exposure to wider relevant audiences is one of social’s great opportunities. The same concept of extending reach while leading messaging applies offline too.

Salespeople offer B2B marketers real-world reach, a direct line to sharing tailored messaging with clients, partners and prospects.

Compelling messaging can be socialized and shared out to sales teams across your organisation in a concise and sticky way. If salespeople are trained the right way then any platform becomes a platform for socializing and sharing key messaging with prospects and clients – whether it’s on social, whiteboarding or on the back of a napkin over coffee.

Online or Offline, the ‘Social’ Part is Key

Social selling has demonstrated that genuine personal relationships carry massive leverage. They always have done.

These days genuine personal relationships are a multi-billion pound industry – because relationships = trust, and trust = buying. That can’t be rushed, faked or bypassed (if I get one more “Hi Tom, great to connect – how do you manage your customer’s buying journey?” message from a new Twitter contact who works for a CRM firm I might lose it), but if you use all available channels – including salespeople – to nurture those relationships the potential benefits are huge.

Just thinking out loud here really – would love to hear any thoughts you have on this…


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– Tom