Kurt Shaver is Founder of The Sales Foundry, a company specializing in helping B2B companies implement Social Selling strategies. He has trained thousands of salespeople how to increase their sales production using applications like LinkedIn. For more information, visit www.thesalesfoundry.com.

In the past, Marketing and Sales had distinct roles. Marketing generated leads and Sales converted leads to orders. Social Media has blurred these responsibilities because now every salesperson can be an individual marketer. Innovative companies are taking advantage of this opportunity by implementing a new type of collaboration between Marketing and Sales.

The B2B buying process has changed. Buyers now are 57% of the way through the buying process before engaging a salesperson.1 To influence the decision early in the sales cycle, salespeople need to build strong relationships and contribute valuable information on the social web. Social Selling can aid both these objectives, but not without cooperation between Marketing and Sales.

While good salespeople know how to build relationships, they are often too busy or not trained on how to create messaging. Marketing is the official keeper of corporate messaging, but it does not posses the close relationships that salespeople have.

The best of both worlds is achieved when Marketing and Sales work together. Marketing supplies the right messaging and Sales acts as the most trusted distribution network.

As an example, a computer security company may discover a new vulnerability in a popular Operating System. To seize the opportunity, Marketing alerts the market and provides a web link for a discussion forum. At the same time, Marketing creates a post to be shared by the sales team. The post to each salesperson’s network has the advantage of coming from someone the receiver actually knows. The message for Sales could include a different link to the same forum, allowing for comparison of responses. This example underscores the need for salespeople to build strong social network connections with their customers.

By combining the messaging skills of Marketing with the trusted network of Sales, innovative companies are increasing the odds that the right message gets to the right person at the right time.

SMEI will present a webinar with Kurt Shaver on the subject of “Building a Social Selling Culture” on Tuesday, April 16th from 2:00 – 3:00 PM PT.