Beware the Trending #Hashtag

I've noticed a couple of things over the past couple of years, particularly on LinkedIn. A very big deal has been made about some ideas that are more or less common sense.

First, it was #socialselling, then it was #ABM. Not far behind, we now have #salesenablement.

Really? Why?

Ask people to define social selling...

They'll tell you that it's when sales professionals use their social network to communicate with prospects and develop relationships to solve problems and achieve sales goals. This makes a ton of sense, but how is it any different than what people have been doing in business networking groups and social clubs for the past few hundred years? Aside from the specific tools, the concepts remain the same.

Ask people to define Account-Based Marketing.

They'll tell you that it's an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account. A tailored message resonates better, after all.

100% agreed. Successful salespeople have been doing this for years. Actually, very few salespeople who don't do this actually become successful. Treat different people differently. That's sound advice.

Ask people to define Sales Enablement.

A few people can. Most, even some with the term in their title, cannot. This one is a little more diffuse because it means something a little different to everyone, but at the heart of it all, this term like the others defines itself. Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help salespeople sell more effectively.

I'm a million percent on board with all of these concepts. In fact, the best salespeople in the world utilize each of these strategies to some extent or another. When you look at them all, they're clearly common sense principles at work.

Here's what I don't understand...

Why does a #hashtag need to trend before salespeople start doing this stuff? Why isn't anybody thinking for themselves? Is common sense really that uncommon?

Look, I'm way too young to be playing the "back in my day..." card, but to me, and every other professional salesperson (notice I didn't say sales professional) out there, these are topics that don't require any debate. What is understood need not be discussed.

Yet discussions abound...

What really drives me up a wall about this is that nothing really comes from the discussion. So little of the discourse involves best practices, and so much of it revolves around argument and hype.

Wouldn't this discussion better serve the industry if it were more constructive?

Wouldn't this time and energy be better spent with prospects?

I don't know. It seems to me that any salesperson worth a salt that takes real responsibility for their profession knows the fundamentals, as well as how to best deploy them. No #hashtags required. The best of them are also not spending much time on social media unless they're selling you something specifically through social media. If this isn't you, then you may want to revisit how you spend your time.

I originally wrote this piece in my weekly email to my audience in 2018. Mike Weinberg has prolifically written and spoken on this topic, and there’s no better example than his brilliant book #SalesTruth

Jeff Bajorek