3 Key Ingredients to Implementing Social Selling at Scale
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.
Social Selling can only be effective at an Enterprise level if there is a critical mass of salespeople using it. Without scale, spend on content marketing, tools and continuous training cannot be justified. Social selling without scale is effectively the kiss of death.
We often get asked, how do you build a program that can take Social Selling and make it more than a ‘cottage industry’ for the few, and turn it into a powerful tool for sales leaders and marketers to move the needle on sales results?
Here are 3 strategies we like to employ:
1. Training for the long haul:
What: Make small steps with training and train iteratively and often. Bring the entire sales team to one smaller plateau of learning and then let the program run. After a month or two, measure what is working and adjust training to address the weak points. Iterative training will do more than ignite a few great social sellers; it will begin a sustainable movement.
“Providing social selling training and expecting full adoption immediately is unrealistic.”
All the prodding and case studies in the world are not going to switch on the ‘Social Selling’ light overnight. It isn’t that the sales team doesn’t want to use social media; they need to be shown step by step how it will improve their bottom line. You heard it right! Just like the management or CEO that you needed to sell on buying a social selling program, to begin with, the sales people will be equally skeptical at first.
2. Find the right tools:
What: Find tools that are simple for sales people to understand and use. Give them actionable ways to use the tools and set expectations for what they should be doing with social media. Example: Research 5 new customers per week using LinkedIn Navigator, share 10 pieces of content on Twitter and 5 pieces of content on LinkedIn using a social sharing tool.
Why: If social selling becomes too esoteric and loosey-goosey you will never get adoption at scale. Sales people respond best to actionable requests of what is expected of them. Furthermore, the things you ask them to do had better include results you can show them that are meaningful to them. Giving Sales the right tools is as least as important as the training you will give them.
3. Measure to drive adoption and interest
What: Keep track of social media activity, such as how often sales people are sharing content and interacting with others.
“After the initial training, Sales people will divide into 3 groups: heavy adopters, light adopters and non-adopters.”
The trick is to move each group forward to the next plateau. Non-adopters need to become light adopters and light adopters need to become heavy adopters. Use metrics to identify the groups, train and re-evaluate over time.
Why: I used to say the only meaningful metric to measure is increased revenue from sales. But in order to scale a social selling program, there are other KPIs that should be considered. Knowing what your sales force has learned, and where they need help next, is critical to keeping the program’s momentum. By measuring the social selling steps that lead to new sales and which reps are doing them, will leave little doubt of the connection between social selling and new revenues.
A Recommended Course of Action for Your Enterprise:
a) Deliver basic training: How to create social selling profiles, how to use social media tools, how to search customers, how to post content.
b) Deploy a social selling tool for listening/prospecting and for sharing content.
c) Use analytics from the tools to determine 3 groups in your sales force (adopters, light adopters, non-adopters)
d) Train each group separately to bring them to the next level
e) Measure, repeat and correlate with new revenues
Creating a winning social selling program requires a plan that will scale across your entire Enterprise. Don’t lose sight of scale when implementing social selling or else you may find yourself back at square one before the program has time to soar.