Social Selling. It’s A Piece Of Cake.

The term “social selling” is often over-used, misunderstood and intimidating. And, social selling is a very hot topic now at companies like SAP, IBM and Adobe. The recipe to successful social selling is as simple as a birthday cake. Social selling is simply layering on social media into the way that you sell.

Social Selling Is A Piece Of Cake

I am working on a few slices of social selling initiatives at SAP.  We are focusing on creating a social selling center of excellence, a scalable enablement process,  internal sales communities, advocacy content tools, off-the-shelf training materials and even a Social Selling Office Hours educational series, where we connect sellers with best practices and success stories. By focusing on social selling strategies, to reach unreachable decision makers, B2B sales executives can be more successful. In fact, InsideView reports that 90% of CEOs are not answering cold emails and cold calls any more. The response trend is also occurring with sales decision influencers. So, social selling is becoming more important to be successful.

In fact, I just returned from SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW, where I had many discussions with enterprise software sales executives. These “feet on the ground” sales professionals confirm that it’s getting tougher every day to break through the noisy sales clutter. Phone calls and emails are not successful to reach some customers. Many shared that layering on social media to the sales process is making it easier to connect with the ‘unconnectable’.

5 Layers Of The Social Selling Birthday Cake

Take a look at these five layers of social selling to get a better understanding of how to use social media to help your selling efforts.

  • Right Ingredients For Successful Selling. You cannot bake a tasty birthday cake unless you have the right ingredients. And, you cannot be a successful sales executive unless you are already have the right ingredients of being smart (are you reading what the customer is reading?), efficient (are you using your time correctly), creative (are you using the right tools in new and different way to break through the clutter?), and … the list goes on. Make sure you are already a solid seller before you layer in social media.
  • Base Selling Skills. Any good birthday cake starts with its base or foundation. You cannot bake and build a cake that cannot support the accoutrements that make it an incredible eating success. The same goes for selling. The base selling segments are prospecting & preparation, the first contact, getting a prospect to attend an event like a webinar or SAPPHIRE NOW, nurturing a warm prospect and working on your own brand, to be easily to be found. You need to have a strategy for each selling segment and determine how social media can make each part of that strategy more effective.
  • Layering In Social Media To Increase Success. If you are a smart, efficient, and creative sales professional, you are already thinking how social media can be used to make your selling efforts more successful. IBM reports that 75% of B2B decision makers will be using social media to help make a decision, so why not leverage it? The key to successful social selling is not becoming a social seller, rather it’s knowing how to layer in social media at each step of your current sales process. You need to decide what to do less (e.g., using the phone to make the first contact) and what to do more (e.g., connect with customers with Twitter).
  • Spreading On The Icing To Move The Sale To Next Level. Some cakes without icing are OK. However, when a cake is iced just right, it makes people go Mmm. Sales professionals who use social media to put their special creative approach and touch on the sales cycle often reap the rewards over those who are not. Think about how you can own the sales moment and break through a customer’s clutter by doing something as easy as retweeting a customer or commenting on a prospect’s blog with a shared link to great, relevant content.
  • Blowing Out the Candles To Celebrate. Blowing out candles to celebrate your birthday is often the best part of the cake. The singing and celebrating are very exciting! Layering in social media to the selling process will help you or your team reach sales success so you can celebrate. Social Centered Selling reports that 72.6% of sales people using social media outperformed their sales peers in 2012! Now THAT is cause for celebration! Social selling success might also take the form reaching someone with whom you have had trouble connecting. Or, it might move your sale to close more quickly . Whatever your goal is social media can help get you to the candle-blowing experience a little sooner.

If you enjoyed this slice of advice to approach social selling you might enjoy these other articles:

I’d love to know your thoughts on your approach to social selling. So, please leave a comment below or contact me directly at You can also Tweet me @GerryMoran.

Think about how you can use social media to layer on to your selling activity vs. trying to become a social selling expert … and then you will truly become a social selling expert. By developing these skills, you can have your cake and eat it too!


  1. @dave_hutchison

    Social Selling. It’s Like A Birthday Cake. via @GerryMoran

  2. Ernst Jan Bos (@ErnstJanBos)

    Leuk vergelijk tussen een verjaardagstaart en #socialselling. Social is een soort topping!

  3. keenan


    Thanks for downloading our social media and quota attainment report.

    You are spot on to be implementing a few social selling initiatives. Keep me in the loop on how they turn out and if you see improvements in the numbers.


  4. @salessmarts

    @gerrymoran Thx for mention of Social Centered Selling & survey stat in your post. Would love to interview you.

  5. @barbaragiamanco

    @gerrymoran Thx for mention of Social Centered Selling & survey stat in your post. Would love to interview you.

  6. David J Dunworth

    Hey Gerry,

    Great post. As a retired hospitality executive and consultant turned entrepreneur, I LOVE the infographic “Piece of Cake. Social selling is that animal that seems overwhelming to entrepreneurs, who spend most of their day working to keep the doors open. However, the marketing shift is already pointing in the social selling environment, so your infographic fits really well. At EyesOn-Mobile, we’re doing our best to gravitate to better social selling, but as a start-up, time is our most valuable resource, so we are automating our social selling with HootSuite.

  7. Gerry Moran (Post author)

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your comment! Yes, the cake infographic has been a popular one! I LOVE HootSuite for social selling and overall channel management, too!



  8. Larry Taylor

    Hi Gerry.

    I like your cake and would like to add some ingredients and decoration:

    1. Ingredients should also include ‘content’ and ‘profile’. With a completed social (LinkedIn) profile, you can cut through much of the introduction time, build credibility and become visible and ‘findable’ to customers.
    With content, slides and other material, you carry greater weight and subject matter expertise.
    Many people try and create a ‘paper’ cake with the appearance of a real cake, but without any substance.

    2. Decoration: make it personal: Sprinkle your cake with real-life, personal material that reveals a little of your personality and interests. It helps to give a little away, to help build trust.

  9. Sterling Johnson

    Love the cake concept. What comes to mind for me is “kiss” or keep it simple, stupid. It is a concept and structure of every success if you think about it and it is perfect for social media. Thank you.

  10. Gerry Moran (Post author)

    Nice additions, Larry!

    I’ll include those ideas in an upcoming revision!


  11. Brian Clendenin

    A pragmatic approach for salespeople starting down the social engagement path: “Think about how you can use social media to layer on to your selling activity vs. trying to become a social selling expert.” – love it!

    Salespeople need to understand that socially-driven processes are challenging traditional approaches to business and allow people to connect and interact with unprecedented speed and ease as social engagement proliferates deeper into our professional lives. And, those that don’t grasp this now will be outcompeted by other salespeople.

  12. Gerry Moran (Post author)

    Thanks for your insightful post, Brian!

    Yes, the socially driven processes address connecting with the customers where the customers are congregating (i.e., fish where the fish are).

    It’s that simple. This is a time of transition that the sellers who ‘get it’ will outperform the other salespeople, whether they are coworkers or competitors.

    Thanks for spreading the #marketingthink!


  13. Pingback: Social Selling Advice From My Mom: Look 5 Times Before You Cross The Street

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