Marketing used to be responsible for corporate-to-person communications. So traditionally they did the brochures, the direct mails and the branding.
Meanwhile your sales teams, they used to talk to customers directly. They'd have face-to-face meetings, they'd make the phone calls. They'd go to networking events or exhibitions.
So why has marketing hijacked social media? Social media is not a brand-to-person tool. It's a person-to-person tool. In the main, people are not interested in following brands. Yes, there might be a sports franchise, such as the New York Yankees. If you're a fan, you might want to follow them on Facebook, but generally we're not interested in following Coca-Cola or IBM or McDonald's online.
Who does well on social media? Pop stars such as Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga. Comedians such as Stephen Fry or Eddie Izzard. We are interested in people; we're not interested in brands.
Salespeople have to get involved in social media. They are the people that are great at communicating with other human beings, enticing them and making the proposition interesting.
Yes, of course, marketing needs to be involved in websites and some of the corporate pages on Facebook or LinkedIn, but salespeople have to embrace social media, use social media and not just let it be at the disposition of marketing.
There are, of course, implications. Salespeople don't want to spend all their day on LinkedIn or Facebook and just idle their time away - but if you use the right tools, and if you find out the platforms your customers are using, and spend time on those social networks, then you can make this work, generate leads and be successful.
So salespeople: don't leave it all up to marketing.
Don't let them just hijack the social media.
Grant Leboff is one of the U.K's leading Sales and Marketing experts. His fourth book, ‘Digital Selling’, debuted at #1 on the Amazon charts prior to being published in September of this year.