You go to college, get accepted into a MBA program and take all the core courses designed to introduce you to the various areas of business such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations management, etc. But where does social media fit into this? That was a question on the minds of a large group of professors that attended the recent Summer Marketing Educators’ Conference 2011 hosted by the American Marketing Association.

Social Marketing Meets Sales: The Role of Social Media in Professional Selling

That was the title of the session being run by Robert Peterson Ph.D, Professor in the College of Business at Northern Illinois University and Michael Mallin Ph.D. Professor of Marketing and Sales at the University of Toledo. The epic resumes of these two people is just too much to list. They have both been involved in shaping business minds for a long time and have contributed research that has made an impact on not just the universities they work for but the students that have passed through their classes.

Social media trends and how social plays a part in the sales process was a special request by the organization that these two took on to put together. They were referred to me by the sales methodology company Miller Heiman (thanks!) as the expert in social selling and it only took me two emails to fill a panel of 4 other experts in the field. Anneke Seley, Craig Rosenberg, Maria Pergolino and Adam Metz were great enough to take time on a Sunday afternoon to discuss and answer questions from people with degrees that were almost intimidating. (for me anyway)

Social Media in the Classroom

Teaching social media does not come easily to academics, especially when it comes to specifically teaching social media for sales. The attending professors heard the panel discuss why social selling is important, what’s been working, and how to either develop courses around the subject matter of leveraging social media for sales or incorporate social media into the courses they are already teaching.

In the discussions the professors all agreed that Social Selling in the Enterprise was a key topic being raised by their students. Understanding what social networks, sales 2.0 tools were available and more importantly how to use them was a focus for the coming school year. I believe everyone on the panel delivered. It was exciting to see professors taking notes and raising their hands to get more education on this growing field of study so they could pass it along to their students.

Social Selling 101

Getting to talk with educators about Social Selling University, explain why it was created, the success it has already had and the plans for the future was great. All of the attendees validated the path we are on and wanted to talk about things they could use in their courses. I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing Social Selling courses being offered from some of the MBA programs in the near future.
In addition to the panel and the discussions we had during the session, InsideView offered any of the professors and their MBA students licenses of our application so they could use sales intelligence in their studies and projects they are working on during the year. If you are a college professor or an MBA student, contact us and lets talk about getting you a license too.
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