Let us take a peek back into the mists of time at the early web.

Remember Netscape (yep I’m old enough to).

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Then MSM, wow you could actually talk to people in real time across the world as fast as you can type.

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Mind blown!

Then this screaming baby came hurtling down the pipe.

Social Media!

With platforms like Myspace. Remember myspace Tom?

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And we could be connected all the time and have conversations with our friends around the clock and around the world. So why don’t business people still understand the business benefits of all this conversation on social?

We as business people still refer to these two disciplines, sales and marketing as two separate entities. When in a digitally connected, always on world and one that’s socially dominant they are almost inseparable.

Let me explain.

You work as an engineer and you put out a piece of humanised content (you think is marketing).

Suddenly you’re in a conversation with someone in the comments, which is flourishing.

They hop into your DM’s, then onto a call.

Wait, stop a minute. You may of blinked and missed it.

Where was the handoff from the marketing department to your sales team? Oh that’s right.

There wasn’t one.

Social demands that we be contextual, having conversations and sharing ideas at the speed of thought. It’s far too nuanced to refer to it as simply marketing and sales anymore and there is far too much overlap between them to even differentiate them.

But Nick that’s how the world has always worked.

Sorry to break it to you guys but the earth isn't flat either.

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That’s not to say there isn't strategy involved in the process (this is absolute necessary as part of a digital reorganisation of your company).

Your entire staff from the HR department, to sales and even your engineers are ALL experts in their space. Experts who SHOULD be talking to other experts in the target accounts you want to do business with.

Fostering and creating a sense of community and building that all important trust that has been eroded with advertising, cold calling and email over the years.

Brent Adamson says - 

Consider the following data from Gartner research: In a pre-pandemic survey of 750 B2B customer stakeholders involved in complex "solutions" purchase within their organisation, customers reported spending only 17% of their total buying time interacting directly with supplier sales teams. Instead, much of their purchase activity comprised independent learning online (27%), independent learning offline (18%), and building consensus across a wide range of internal and partner stakeholders (22% and 11% respectively).

He goes on to say.

As small as it is, however, that 17% of purchase activity allocated to supplier interaction (both virtual and in-person), represents all suppliers, not each supplier. So, if three suppliers are competing for the same opportunity, one can assume customers divide that time roughly equally across all three, leaving any given sales team with a vanishingly small window of opportunity to interact directly with that customer — perhaps 5% or 6% of total buying time if they are lucky.

We are now more interconnected than ever and we can have conversations at scale that turn into commercial interaction. We have to hang out where our customers are and engage with them.

Shocking I know! 😱

Imagine if you had access to everyone you ever wanted to do business with and you could easily talk to them (yes even the C suite) without any restriction. You can, it’s called social media (and make no mistake LinkedIn IS a social media platform).

Conversations are what get you in front of the people you need to in order to demonstrate your expertise and we can do that with the 5 C’s.

Context (who am I speaking to, and what do I want them to take away).

Content (text posts, image posts, articles, video, how am I delivering that message?).

Consistency (maintaining authenticity and a single personal brand voice and message across time).

Conversation (within your content and hopefully progressing to your DM’s and then into the analogue world).

Conversion (the actual selling part of social selling).

The latest Edelman and LinkedIn Trust and credibility report tells us -

"64% of buyers say that an organisation thought leadership content is a more trustworthy basis for assessing its capabilities and competency than its marketing materials and product sheets".

By talking about WHAT you are an expert in and demonstrating it you are being more effective than your marketing department.

Now do this at scale across your organisation and team and watch the conversations and commercial interaction fly!

Everything your business ever needed is just a click of a mouse and a keyboard stroke away. But first you have to walk through that digital door and embrace it.

The world of sales and marketing has changed, will you change with it?