Guest post by Douglas Davidoff, founder and CEO of Imagine Business Development.

Are your sales efforts aligned with your social media strategy?

Your company’s Facebook page is alive, active and people are “liking” it. You have multiple people tweeting, and comments are regularly being posted to your blog. Your social media strategy is alive and engaging.

Now take a look at the rest of your sales and marketing activities.

  • Are your ads different than your competitor’s ads? Do they fit with and support the engagement you are trying to create with your social media?
  • Are your salespeople asking the same boring questions that other salespeople ask? Or are they focused on selling your stuff or deepening their understanding of customers and prospects?
  • Are your account managers and customer service people merely responding to issues or are they deepening their knowledge to create new opportunities for both you and your customers?

I’m a huge fan of social media. I love the opportunity it creates to engage your customers, your prospects, and your customers’/prospects’ customers and prospects. For more than 15 years I’ve been advocating that we kill the advertising mindset and focus instead on influencing.

However, the vast majority of social media efforts are wasted because the company has not aligned its sales efforts with the image it is creating through its social media efforts. This misalignment confuses your customers and causes prospects to throw you into the commodity basket of competition.

Implementing an effective social media strategy requires a significant investment of time and effort. To ensure that you maximize the return on that investment, be deliberate in aligning your sales effort with your social media strategy.

Here are three ideas to help you align:

  1. Your salespeople should stop focusing on selling and should, instead, focus on helping your customers/prospects achieve their desired results. If you’re doing a great job being a resource to your followers and then, out of the blue, they receive a typical cold call, you’ve just destroyed the effort.Instead, ensure that every interaction your salespeople have with customers creates value in a meaningful way – whether or not they buy.
  2. Stop focusing your message on your solution and instead focus on helping your customers/prospects understand their problems. Just yesterday I had a client of mine explain that the problem he was having was that too many prospects were sitting around “fat, dumb, and happy” thinking they didn’t have a problem, when, in fact, they do.Instead of having your salespeople out there peddling your products and services, teach them to help the customers effectively diagnose their problems.
  3. The key to differentiating is being different. In sales, unfortunately, the best way to be different is to transform your salespeople into business people who sell. Your customers/prospects don’t have the time to hear your sales pitches.Invest in the business acumen of your salespeople. Then they can stop babbling and start having meaningful conversations.

What else can you do to align your sales efforts with your social media strategy?

Douglas Davidoff is the founder and CEO of Imagine Business Development in Severna Park, Md. He works with companies desiring fast growth who want to hear the truth about achieving it.