Sales is, for the most part, an ongoing, time-sensitive measurable. On a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis a CEO is always looking at the sales numbers. Because the purpose of a business is to make a profit. Otherwise you’re a charitable organization. I’ve seen a lot of expectation that because Social Media seems to be so “instant” with services like Twitter or Facebook, it should be able to bring instant sales results. The Multi-Level Marketing crowd certainly seems to think so. But it isn’t.
Social Media is a managed investment – like marketing and communications. It’s been argued and I agree, that through Social Media there is a true model for Integrated Marketing Communications. Properly researched, planned and implemented, marketing has an ROI. Marketing essentially paves the path for the sales team to close the deals…to ensure they have deals to close in the future.
Social Media enables marketing (and sometimes sales) to foster deeper relationships in the marketplace in order to aid the organization across all aspects of the company. Product feedback for the product management team, company feedback from shareholders, indicators for increased market uptake and feedback to human resources for hiring issues.
Simply looking to engage in Social Media for immediate sales opportunities will only lead to disappointment. Engaging in Social Media means you must be prepared to make an investment with resources; your company’s most precious resources – people. A senior manager wouldn’t execute a marketing campaign without research and planning as a sales manager wouldn’t let a sales team loose without a good plan – ideally sales and marketing work together.
So it is with Social Media; you need research, then a plan, then you execute. Over the longer term. Look for metrics to measure progress as you would in marketing. Expecting instant results is setting up for failure. We’re not saying don’t let the sales manager near your Social Media efforts, but they shouldn’t expect to instantly expand the sales funnel or salivate over huge sales gains in the next sales period.