Automation, Scheduling… why sales rep & relationship managers should never fake it in Social
I am amazed by the number of companies coming up with solutions that enable Sales people or Relationship managers “automate social”.
– Some propose to schedule content, or even better to automate the retweet of corporate content.
– Some propose options to delegate the social identity of the sales rep to the marketing department … who will probably use an intern or an offshore team to manage it
– Some propose access to content libraries that the sales rep can use when they have nothing to say.
The arguments behind these value propositions is that “Social Media” takes too much time, that it need to scale and that Sales people should not divest their precious time in social platforms.
Other arguments (in the Financial sector as an example) are regulations (FINRA, SEC) and consultants and vendors frighten relationship managers of the consequences of tweeting the wrong post.
But frankly, these are just excuses not to do the job and yes selling is a tough job. The reality is that:
1- There is no better use of a Sales Rep time than listening and engaging with prospects or clients.
3- These is zero risk in building relations with prospective clients in social, as long as sales rep are cautious to take the “next step (actual selling) one on one offline. It’s not different than in real life. At the moment of truth you need to say “we should meet” and take the next steps private. (btw whether the industry is regulated or not, that is how it should be done).
Let’s tackle the risks of automation, scheduling and “pre-digested content”
Let’s face it. 99% of automation is Spam. And people don’t like Spam. So why would you spam prospects and clients?
In addition, most automation violate the T&C of Social Platforms. Twitter (as an example) is very clear: “generally most automation is detrimental to the user experience and frequently results in blocks and suspensions.”
Also using automation, there is a major risk of posting something irrelevant or out of context.
If you’ve been in sales for some times you know how difficult it is to even transfer a prospect to another sales rep.
Context and history of the relation are very difficult to transfer. Yet many Sales Rep are OK transferring prospects to “automated scripts”, this is crazy.
People buy from REAL people
Scheduling sounds interesting. It usually provides the option to send the same content several times, at different intervals.
But customers are smart. If they have been using social media for some time, they will be quick as spotting the same tweet from a sales rep at different time of the day. They may also have sophisticated listening capabilities.
When they realize it, the indirect message that customer receives is that they are not worth your time and that you will not be there for them when they need you. Not the best way to start a relation.
Best case they will unfriend/unfollow you. Worse, they will share their findings with other potential clients
This is a killer for reputation and trust.
People buy from people who are there when they need them.
This one is more subtle. It plays on people fear of the blank page ;-). People should post regularly, so when they have nothing really exciting to say, they should go get company canned messages and post. Right?
That’s actually a very wrong advise.There are evidence that people don’t engage with Corporate Accounts so why the hell would a real person build a presence in social that mimics a corporation?
It is even worse when someone looks at Company level. What do you think a client/prospect will believe when he/she sees 10’s of sales rep/relationship managers from the same company spreading the same PR-engineered article without a personal note? …
People don’t buy from boring people.
The net is that automating social is a very wrong way to do it. Even worse for companies who are competing with robots (like wealth management / financial advisors…) where the only way to differentiate is the depth of the relation, the strength of the relations and the deep understanding of the client.
So what should sales rep do? Actually, the same thing they have always been good at.
Be themselves, engage in conversations, build their network, bring value to the community they are targeting, solve problems, be fun and entertaining, listen to prospects and clients and above all BE RELEVANT.
Fake it ’til you make it ? Not this time.