Social Sellers, Don’t Send that Message Yet!

Whenever I experience bad prospecting and social selling behaviors, I cannot resist writing about it. Not to blame anyone, but to encourage sales enablement professionals to include prospecting (via email or social media) in their initiatives and to shed light on bad behaviors that put people off and create more damage than just a lead that does not convert. I have written about bad email habits and the related coaching need. Here are more no-go’s and how to do it better!

No-go #1: Don’t push your request or your product to a newly added connection. Instead, establish a relationship first and show that you CARE. TAILOR your message and make it PERSONAL.

This behavior comes in different forms and shapes, via LinkedIn message.

Here is an example:

Tamara, Thanks for the swift connect.

I am looking forward to a business partnership with your company. We specialize in B2B Lead Gen and Primary Market Research activities and would like to partner with your company to generate lMQLs, BANT, ABM leads, etc.

We are a certified ISO 27001:2013 (Information security management system) & certified for BS10012:2017 (Personal Information Management System) which covers us as far as GDPR is concerned to generate EMEA leads as well falling under the GDPR guidelines.

If this falls under your umbrella that’s great, or else would much appreciate if you could connect me to the right person.

Thanks –name of salesperson

This is a clear case of an “it’s all about me” push message and a salesperson who has not done their homework. If the person had checked my profile it would have been obvious that lead generation is not the main challenge I care about in my role as an analyst. This single step would have led to not sending any message to me at all, or a very different one. And making a message personal requires more than mentioning the person’s name. Instead, a personal message refers to the person’s role, challenges, or context in some way.

No-go #2: Check your CRM system before you send prospecting emails or social media messages to existing (!) customers

This should be an obvious one. However, it happens way too often. In addition to the push character of the above-mentioned first message, there is an even bigger problem. We ARE already a customer of this organization. Imagine that you have a long-term relationship with a service provider, and then a newly hired salesperson starts sending you messages without checking their CRM first. Clearly, this is a lack of proper sales onboarding, a lack of sales leadership and sales management and also a lack of a thought-through, effective prospecting approach.

No-go #3: Don’t send the same push message to ALL your newly added connections!

This is what I got recently from a newly accepted connection:

“Thanks for adding me, Tamara.

Curious if you’ve ever heard of [company name].”

Oops. What should I do with such a message? A provocative style. The message is very direct, but it doesn’t say anything that would be relevant or valuable to me. At least, the sender asks a question, but the question is about his organization, not about me. Personalization? Zero. Valuable to me? Not at all.

If I had never heard of this company before, I would have simply deleted the message immediately. In this case, I did know the company because I was quoted on their website. I answered that I was of course aware of the fact that I was quoted on their most recent blog.

At least, the salesperson’s response was honest and therefore excellent in its pureness. The person apologized, and simply said what happened: He wanted to send a message to ALL his recent connections, and of course, he was too hasty and shot this off without checking the individual profiles and how they interact with his organization. Hat tip for being honest and reflective at the same time!

A note to sales enablement leaders and sales managers: To change self-defeating social selling behaviors, both of you have to collaborate closely with each other. Enablement has to provide compelling templates for social media messages and sales management has to coach along those lines. And most importantly, both have to agree on a shared strategy and what they want to accomplish.

  • Sales Enablement: Social selling is more than teaching the features and functions of social media platforms and providing shareable content. It’s about how to leverage those platforms effectively to reach relevant prospects faster. Therefore, provide templates for LinkedIn messages that are at least relevant, valuable and differentiating at the same time. Make sure that these messages are engaging and tailored to build a relationship. Don’t allow salespeople to send push messages about your stuff. Messages must be tailored and personalized, relevant and valuable, and salespeople have to check their systems before sending.
  • Sales managers: Please don’t make prospecting a numbers game. Think about the potential damage to your brand and already existing relationships. It’s not about the number of prospecting activities; it’s about the quality and effectiveness. Collaborate with enablement and make sure that you provide the feedback they need to improve their services. And coaching on social selling skills and behaviors is essential to improve its quality and effectiveness.


Last but not least. We live in the digital age, organizations have tons of data. Apparently they are not able to USE the data. Or why do we all get so many messages that are neither relevant nor valuable to us?

Enablement should play a key role, ideally together with marketing and sales operations, when it comes to develop and implement approaches how to use available data to improve the quality of the entire sales process. And it all starts with prospecting, and social selling is a key element.

Questions for you:

  • Do you have prospecting strategies and processes in place or is everybody doing their own thing?
  • How do you enable your salespeople regarding social selling skills to leverage social media in an effective way?
  • Does your enablement team collaborate with your sales managers to improve, e.g., prospecting approaches?


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