May 1, 2017

My Closing Argument Against the #SocialSelling-Only and Inbound-Only Prospecting is Dead Charlatans

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury…

For six years I’ve been prosecuting the case against what several of my friends and I have come to call the #SocialSelling-Only, the Inbound-Only Prospecting is Dead Charlatans. On many platforms, and in front of  many audiences, online and in-person, my friends and I have made the case that salespeople should use ALL MEANS NECESSARY to get the attention of, and to get in front of, strategically selected target prospects. Sellers have an entire arsenal of weapons at their disposal – from email, to trade shows, fromTwitter to Facebook to LinkedIn, from referrals to text messaging, from snail mail to white papers, and from blogging to telephone prospecting, and many more. And much to the dismay of these charlatans who preach the dangerous lie that traditional prospecting is stupid, archaic, and ineffective, we have continued to remind salespeople and sales leaders that the telephone remains a laser-precise and highly effective way to deliver your message and to secure a discovery meeting with strategic target accounts.

Furthermore, in spite of the fact that this harmful messaging that emanates from the social-only/inbound-only camp actually helps our own speaking, consulting, and training business (as we are regularly called in to help struggling, opportunity-starved sales teams who drank the Kool-Aid believing the lie that if you tweet, comment on LinkedIn and blog enough, prospects will run to you – after getting exactly 57% through their buying process – with cash in hand, ready to purchase), we have done our very best to counter the misinformation provided by these charlatans and demonstrate with proof, that telephone prospecting is very much alive and well creating significant new opportunities for many of our clients in various industries. [That may be the longest sentence ever posted on this blog 🙂 ]

Fellow sellers, sales leaders, and senior executives: I promise you that we have no agenda. Our simple desire is to see salespeople and sales team succeed in developing net new business. That’s why I wrote a book on the topic, which, by the way has exactly one chapter of sixteen dedicated to using the telephone to secure discovery/early-stage meetings with prospects. It’s not that we are “pro-phone” for the sake of being “pro-phone.” It’s that those of us on this side of the argument know that the phone works very well regardless of the ridiculous research and opinions posted by #socialselling experts on blogs and LinkedIn the past week as this battle once again reached a fever pitch. Said another way, there was a lot of Fake News pumped out recently by testy #social-only charlatans who feel threatened that they and their dangerous false message to gullible sellers have been exposed.

Friends, aside from purely selfish motives, I cannot understand, for the life of me, why there are people in the sales improvement business who, without hesitation, regularly and boldly proclaim to any desperate (lazy, reactive, easy button-seeking) salesperson that “prospecting is pointless” and “cold-calling is dead.”

And here is where I would like to make my final, and strongest points to the jury. Don’t take my word for it that the phone and OutBound efforts are still highly effective ways to fill the top of the funnel with new pipeline opportunities. Forget the fact that I have personally witnessed (and helped) dozens and dozens of sales organizations thrive from improving their personal prospecting efforts where sellers actually took responsibility to self-generate their own leads. Forget all the reviews for New Sales. Simplified., Fanatical Prospecting, High-Profit Prospecting, and The Only Sales Guide You’ll Even Need (not to mention Tony Hughes incredible new book, Combo Prospecting, coming later this year). Ignore the testimonials of the 400 sales professionals who packed the first OutBound Conference in Atlanta two weeks ago, or the thousands upon thousands of salespeople who would testify under oath that they are succeeding in sales from using a combination of various prospecting methods, new and old, analog and digital, outbound and inbound, and definitely counting the phone as one of their most powerful sales weapons. That’s right, ignore all of that. But, let me ask you to consider the following:  The next time some faux sales expert on LinkedIn chimes in with a derogatory comment calling you stupid or desperate for even considering using that phone to make an OutBound prospecting call attempting to secure a meeting, and when these same charlatans write blog posts quoting bogus straw man statistics painting the picture that there is no greater waste of time than telephoning prospects, please ask them…

If LinkedIn is the ultimate #SocialSelling platform, and people who master using LinkedIn should never have to make OutBound calls to prospects, then why does LinkedIn have its own salespeople making cold calls? Audible gasp! Read that again. The social selling giant is hiring reps to make prospecting calls. I’ve known this for a while, but never made a big deal about it. I have had several colleagues receive cold telephone calls from LinkedIn sales reps. But this ad, pictured below, for a LinkedIn sales job that Jeb Blount found over the weekend takes the cake. Anthony posted it on LinkedIn, and after reading it, I was immediately compelled to write this post. Exhibit A, ladies and gentlemen. Look at this job description for a sales position working for the behemoth of all #social platforms:

The final piece of my closing argument may be even more convincing if you are still on the fence about whether those who tell you not to make OutBound calls may be right. HubSpot is the King of Inbound Marketing. They are incredible at what they do, and I have tremendous respect for the company, its offerings, and its wonderful past and current employees. And what I am about to write, I’ve known for several years, but except for mentioning it in a generic sense during a webinar, or sharing it privately in front of a client sales team, I’ve never put it in writing. But the time has come to silence the morons and charlatans looking to make a quick buck and expand their platforms while poisoning your sales effort with their nonsense that #SocialSelling and Inbound are the only ways to go.  HubSpot has an OutBound Sales Team. That’s right. The King of Inbound has sales reps making OutBound calls! Their vice president of sales shared this with me just as he was telling me that they were using my book, New Sales. Simplified., to help with their OutBound efforts. In case I typed that too fast or it was such a shock to your system to read it, let me repeat: The biggest, baddest, best inbound marketing company has sellers making OutBound telephone calls attempting to sell their services.

Last week I posted an article cautioning you to be wary of sales experts. If what I shared in this post isn’t proof positive of why that is the case, I don’t know what is. So next time some expert quotes you a bull crap statistic, offers you some magic #socialselling potion and an easy-button, while loudly declaring that my buddies and I are dinosaurs because we think you might improve your pipeline and your sales results by incorporating good phone calls and voicemails into your prospecting, don’t just be wary. Be angry. And call them out for the lies they tell and the damage being done to sellers who listen to their garbage. Oh, and then point them to the FACT that LinkedIn has its salespeople making cold calls and, even HubSpot as wonderful as their inbound tool and platform may be, also has reps doing OutBound work. Be wary, friends. Be. Very. Wary. of these charlatans.

I rest my case.