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February 2014

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Mark Siciliano Explains the Concept of #SocialSelling

Mark SicilianoOn Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, JMU alumnus and Director of the Oracle Sales Academy Mark Siciliano visited the Marketing Department’s new course, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Technology for Sales Professionals, to explain the benefits of educating a sales force in social selling. No longer are companies relying on older methods of selling products and services; today, sales professionals are using social tools like LinkedIn and Twitter as a new way of finding, connecting, and engaging with customers. 

In the digital age, business communication is changing, and social technology has transformed the way products are bought and sold. Buyers are more educated—they leverage web and social tools to navigate through the purchasing process well before the seller is involved. Siciliano cited that the Corporate Executive Board, a research and advisory company, indicates over 57% of the buying process is already completed before the sales representative is involved, meaning that sellers are no longer the gatekeepers of information. Because of that, sales representatives must find new methods of engaging with the customers prior to being introduced to the account. This is where social selling comes in.

“Content is king; your digital footprint is as important as your physical presence in professional selling,” says Siciliano. “If you go into sales, don’t think of yourself as selling to a customer; rather, you help them make better buying decisions by providing unlimited access to information about your industry, company, products, and you. Social tools help us do that.” 

Siciliano continues, explaining that sales is about more than the exchange of goods and services, it is about inspiring, educating, and motivating customers. At the close of his presentation, Siciliano advises students to understand the purpose behind the sale, not just the product being sold. “According to nationally acclaimed author Simon Sinek, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” Siciliano says. “If you can find the proper balance of reason and passion, you will be successful.”