TH78 - Social Selling Adoption

Industry Challenges with Social Selling Adoption

By Sander Biehn | Oct 10, 2016

Sander Biehn is founder and CEO of Thought Horizon, LLC. After a successful career in sales at AT&T, he founded his company in 2013 helping organizations to build, manage and succeed using social selling.

Sitting with an executive team, that included a CEO yesterday on the west coast, was an eye-opener.  After 3 years in this business, I was starting to think that Social Selling was becoming a de facto standard in the eyes of anyone running a sales force.

There are still as many questions as answers in the mind of those footing the bill for large teams of salespeople:

Will Social Selling suck away time from the important stuff (setting appointments and talking on the phone)?

Does Social Selling really work as effectively as email or phone?

These questions point to the heart of the matter for any company looking to invest in retooling the sales force and get them to start using social media to sell.

A select few enterprises have stepped off onto the bleeding edge, no doubt. I was speaking with a global customer this week also that has put all the bells and whistles in place to enable social selling (LinkedIn Navigator, tools for sharing, marketing support, and training). Good for them, I guess.

But they stare at the same questions as does my west coast prospect. How is this really working and what is the ROI? Who’s to say that productivity in sales hasn’t slid due to the implementation of the social selling program??

Here are 2 things that need to happen in the world of B2B social selling in the next year in order for sales leaders and executives to ‘get religion’ around this new way of selling:

1)Social selling productivity tools need to evolve   Simply spreading marketing messages with clever social posts is not going to cut it.  Social sharing tools need to become more intuitive and interactive with current campaigns or clients that a salesperson wishes to sell to.  Algorithms that push social messages on key topics into the social spaces that decision makers lurk in is well within the bounds of the technology we have. It needs to be further developed and quickly!

2) Social Selling Meets Marketo – The currency of modern B2B sales is leads. Leads beget conversations/demos, beget further conversations, beget sales. And all of this is currently measured and monitored in CRM. The trouble is that social selling lacks ways to measure lead generation at scale. Instead, we rely on salespeople to tell us what’s working. With all the time and effort that has been placed in email and phone marketing automation, there is no reason social media efforts can’t be better measured.

This should be a wake-up call to anyone in the social selling world.

In addition, this should be the mantra of any sales leader or CEO thinking of leading sales transformation. Insisting on better tools and measurement before embarking into the deep end of the pool around social selling is imperative.

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