If you are a social media manager or marketer, like most readers on our blog, you might have run into this issue or scenario before when working with clients: a new client is unhappy after only a month, or two, because ‘they aren’t seeing any new sales from social media’.
Is this a ‘wrong client’ issue, a ’bad strategy’ issue or somehow your fault?
None of the above.
Confusion about sales and leads is common among business owners, and even among marketers and dare I say it, social media managers.
This article will explain sales, leads, the difference between them and what each means for you, the social media manager as it pertains to setting expectations with your social media clients.
Why Are Marketers So Confused About Sales and Leads?
One of the reasons a client might be confused about sales and leads is because so many marketers are. It’s easy to think they are the same or similar.
Do you know the difference and do you know which one you, the marketer is supposed to provide for your client?
Are you asked, or assumed to be responsible for sales?
In an online social media job description we found the following duties and responsibilities (among others, of course!):
- Work with copywriters and designers to ensure content is informative and appealing
- Collaborate with Marketing, Sales and Product Development teams
Collaborating means work together, not take on the role of sales person.
Freelance social media managers often feel the pressure, and the need to provide sales, yet it’s pretty clear just by reading these responsibilities that that responsibility does NOT lie with you, the social media manager!
Let’s talk sales vs marketing!
Sales vs Marketing
A sales team is responsible for generating sales.
Sales happen when a potential customer converts from a lead into a paying customer.
To reach a new customer, the sales department uses leads – warm leads and no-so-warm leads – to reach out to the potential customer with a goal to convert them. This sales process is greatly enhanced by a marketing strategy.
In contrast, a marketing team brings qualified leads to the business.
Lead generation can come from all types of marketing campaigns and strategies; email marketing, webinars, trade shows, contests, podcasts, Facebook groups, paid advertising, organic postings, lead magnets and more.
When marketing brings leads to a business, the sales team is then responsible for the conversion.
Sales and marketing work hand in hand but are not the same.
Marketing Bring Leads. Sales Brings Sales.
What this really means is that while marketing provides leads, ultimately marketers are not responsible for making sales, or moving sales numbers up.
How about those marketers who are freelancers, or work as a team of one?
If the company is too small for a sales rep or team, who then is responsible for sales?
Then it becomes the responsibility of the person who is responsible for creating the sales copy, website, and sales content. Sometimes that is the owner of the company, sometimes it is an outside source, like a web designer of copywriter who created this sales process.
Sales are not the responsibility of the person driving the traffic – and leads – to those places!
SIDE NOTE: If you are a one (wo)man team and in that capacity you do it all; create the website, landing pages, sales content, write sales copy, run digital marketing campaigns and do all the marketing, then, only then are you responsible for sales!
The ROI of Marketing is Not Sales Volume!
The question becomes; if sales is not the ROI of marketing, what is?
That’s a big question and even some marketers can not answer that question.
The ROI of marketing can be defined by the following: increased brand awareness, audience growth, lead generation, list growth and web traffic!
The Sales Team Converts Leads into Sales!
Where is the sales team?
Ideally, all company teams work together. That includes the sales and marketing teams, but also the production team, logistics, customer service and more!
Happy customers lead to increased retention rates, which leads to more sales.
Satisfied customers lead to referrals, which leads to more leads, which leads to more sales.
When marketing and sales work hand-in-hand, magical things can happen! Together, they become the revenue team! Together they bring in the money!
Selling Your Own Services? You Now Are in Sales!
As a freelancer, you should know a thing or two about sales!
You need to sell your own services, of course! If you are struggling to find and retain clients, start by reading these articles
How to find your first client?
Best places to find your first client
How and where to find local clients
How to get social media clients
and then consider taking a sales course, hiring someone to help you set up a sales funnel, or finding a mentor in sales.
What Your Social Media Clients Need To Know
Social media managers can bring qualified leads to the small businesses in their portfolio. They can help promote a product or service using social media channels and using both organic and paid media.
Social media managers are not a sales force, or a sales team and have no magic wand to convert leads into sales unless they are supported by a sales funnel!
Sales funnels most often include webinars or lead magnets, paid advertising, marketing emails and a robust email list with thousands of email addresses.
This requires a digital marketing strategy and includes paid advertising.
Educating Your Next Client: Setting Expectations Up Front
Whenever you have a new prospective client, we recommend you provide and in-depth look into their social media and create a social media strategic plan.
With a comprehensive plan done, you can sit down with the decision maker(s) in the company and together decide on how to move forward and who will be implementing the social media strategy and who will be responsible for… sales!
A social media strategic plan should include social media goals, a competitors analysis, a social media audit and more.
From this plan, a business can create a marketing budget and set attainable 3, 6 and 12 month goals as it pertains to social media, and sales – only if the resources are available to work on the sales funnel!
Don’t promise sales to a prospective client if you are doing social media management.
Results you can deliver?
Promise and deliver social media content creation and delivery, community management and growth, audience building, engagement and more.
From there, you will drive traffic and garner leads for your clients.
Leads will go to an eCommerce shop, a landing page, an online community, a prospect call or Zoom. Once there, the lead is out of the marketers hands!
Conversion from leads to sales is the job of the sales rep, sales team or company owner, if it is a small one-person business.
If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment! We strive to answer your most pressing questions on this blog!
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You’ll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.