Is It Easier To Learn Sales Or Social Media?

How do you put together the pieces of a great social networking campaign?

I was teaching a sales class about how to use social media the other day and this question was posed to me. I thought it was very interesting and something I have been struggling with for awhile. I am going to share my thoughts here, but I would love some feedback in the comments. Do you think businesses should be training salespeople to use social media or social media people and marketers how to sell?

Is it easier to train sales people to use social media or to train social media people to sell?

I have dealt with this from the sales side a lot as a Sandler Sales Trainer. Everyone wants to know if it is actually something you can learn, or it is something you naturally have. I have also taught introductory computer classes for the elderly and out of work. I can absolutely say without a shadow of a doubt in my mind that you can train people to be better at sales, and you can train people to be better at computers and social media. I have done it for thousands of people. 
However, that doesn’t really answer the question of which is better or easier… Really, it is a fundamental question of human behavior. There are generally four things that people are good at: working with the big picture and making decisions, working with people and influencing them, working steadily and keeping the peace, and working with details, systems and compliance. This is know and the DISC behavioral model if you want to learn more.

DISC Behavioral Styles
DISC Behavioral Styles

Here is what you need to know for sales vs. social media:

People who are naturally gifted at sales are called “Influencers“. They are good at things related to social situations and communications. They are extroverts and people-oriented.

People who are naturally gifted and computers are called “Compliants“. The are good at things related to structure and organization. They are introverts and task-oriented.

These two types of people are exact opposites. Most people have some combination of all four types because all of those things are necessary to survive as a human being. However, Influencers and Compliants are on the opposite sides of the spectrum, so it is rare to find someone who will be high in both of these categories.

So which type of person makes the best and easiest social networker on the Internet?

The answer is training one person in the opposite task from their natural strength will be equally painful for both. 

If you try to get an Influencer to sit behind a computer by themselves and focus on a task, they will be very stressed. If you try to get a Compliant to go out to a business networking function and deal with people, they will be very stressed. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to give up.

So who do you put in charge of social networking?

You can find the rare person who can do both well. Since there are millions of companies and some are existing entirely of 1 person, there is a good chance you can’t find yourself an I-C combo who happens to be an expert in Internet marketing and your business. 

You can team up an Influencer with a Compliant and teach them the value of the other persons strengths. Salespeople generally know that they hate details and paperwork, and would much rather have someone else do it, and IT people generally realize they are not good at dealing with people’s irrational behavior and that they dislike trying to build relationships or popular. So as long as you explain why they need to team up and help them build a strong working relationship even though they are different, you can get the best of both worlds without stretching either outside there comfort zone.

If it is only you or you are currently in charge of social media and you are not an I-C or either, then you are going to be stressed, but you are not out of options. You can always outsource the creative or production to someone that has what you are lacking, or you can just realize that this task is going to be uncomfortable but you have to do it. There is a funny thing about human beings that we hate to do things that are uncomfortable, but the more we do the less uncomfortable the become. If you are not good at computers but you force yourself to learn, eventually they become easier deal with and you gain an appreciation for what they bring to the table.

 

Conclusion

Social networking takes an interesting balance of skills. You need a minimum level of skill at relationship building and computers and social media. If you are lacking in one area or the other, it is probably because it goes against your behavior style. You can except this and sure up your weakness or you can pass it off to a team member that is naturally more gifted than you. I generally recommend the latter.