Did you know that there's thousands of organizations worldwide that have kickstarted their very own social and digital selling methods? That's exciting. As the programs in these organizations progress, eventually they are going to have to address reinforcement.
Well-regarded pedagogical industry data says that when it comes to learning, after 2 weeks we tend to remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, and a whopping 90% of what we do! In other words, reinforcement is critical for the success of any program.
This shouldn't really be a surprise for anyone, because it takes the act of doing something time and time again to become perfect at it. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Social selling, as it's gaining importance, needs to go through a similar approach and a similar path. First, you need to ask yourself, is the world becoming more digital? The simple answer is yes.
We recommend that all levels of the organization first realize this: the simple and fundamental truth that we are now increasingly becoming more and more digital, not just at work, but in our home life, and in our personal lives.
Every aspect of our life is being invaded with a digital technology. So what can we do at work to enable this at scale? For many organizations, change begins at the top.
Gone are the days when companies don’t allow social media during work hours. Today, decision-makers are on social networks all the time. 84% of B2B C-level/Vice Presidents use them to make purchasing decisions. If you’re part of this group and still yet not on social, here are two super-easy ways to get started.
Number one, be on LinkedIn. You yourselves have to be online and have to have some decent level of social activity. This means that every executive on your team needs to have a proper, spruced-up, modern, buyer-centric LinkedIn profile.
Number two, be on Twitter. Many people are saying Twitter is dying. I somewhat disagree. Twitter a great medium to share and gain insights with a hyper-connected network of like-minded people.
These two social networking platforms should be the bare minimum of B2B operation.
You need to have all executives on your team, and I would argue on your board, active on LinkedIn and Twitter, sharing content regularly. Why? Because content sparks conversations.
Let’s define regularly here. At minimum, once per day. You ask your sales people in your organization to talk to dozens of people a day. You at the bare minimum should be at least trying to speak to everyone in your network once a day, and it's easy. It takes five minutes.
As executives are setting the rhythm to do this, sales leadership needs to simultaneously take ownership over social. This is not a marketing-led function, not should it be [sorry, marketing. If you happen to be handling your social program, it's okay, but realize one day, it will have to live inside sales].
This is a commercial-driven function because social time and time again has been proven to increase pipeline and revenue, and anything that increases those two factors should be managed by sales leadership.
Here are some of the clear-cut KPIs that you can be monitoring to ensure that sales is taking social seriously. Yes, this will seem unique. This will challenge you. This will require you to put in a little extra work because social and digital are new to us.
However, after doing this for 12 months or so, this will become a part of your overall cadence, your overall framework.
As sales leaders, these are the five activities you should be mandating, and here are the KPIs and the outputs you should be looking for.
Number one, social prospecting. Are sales professionals prospecting on social daily? And by sales professionals, I mean your account executives and your account managers. You can log all these conversations in your CRM.
Number two, content sharing. Sales leaders, I know this is hard to believe, but sharing content is just like going into a networking event and networking with people. It generates conversations. Why wouldn't you want your salespeople to start having more conversations every day? Your salespeople should be sharing around two to five pieces of content a day.
While this might seem high to you, realize this is on LinkedIn and Twitter, which are fast moving feeds. So the likelihood of everyone seeing your content four to five times a day or two to five times a day is small.
In fact, sharing content even 10 times a day to a network of over 5,000 people will basically mean maybe 10% of your audience will see that content. You can pull the data from this quite easily if you use an employee advocacy platform like EveryoneSocial or PostBeyond.
Remember, 74% of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to add value and insight to their buying journey.
Number three, research, third biggest thing you should be measuring. Although that's hard to measure, the one thing you can do is ask your salespeople to have a target on a daily basis.
Ask your salespeople to have a daily target to socially surround x number of people. These are high priority prospects and accounts, which you've identified as wanting to do business with. Once you've identified an account, why wouldn't you want to go and find the buying committee [which social enables at hyper speed] and start to prospect them?
Number four, LinkedIn SSI score. Everyone has access to it. If it's going up and staying up, you're moving it in the right direction. Equate this with pulling the right levers. Now, it's just a matter of time until the desired outcome is achieved. Think of it as door knocking. If you knock on 100 doors, you will make at least a few sales.
Number five, social network growth. Growing social networks, for most of us, is important. If your salespeople are not already connected to the majority of prospects in their markets, their territories, and their verticals, whatever segment they're selling to, then there needs to be a concerted effort to see growth in this. Although it's hard to measure growth with exactly the right people, you can take an overall growth figure as indicative of a step in the right direction.
As marketing leaders, it's imperative that you realize what's looming on the horizon.
It is becoming increasingly evident that we are moving to a #TeamRevenue model, where marketing and sales together owns a number.
Marketers, are you listening?
This means you will one day have a quota, and that day is coming near.
Are you ready for it? The work to get us there starts now.
First things first. Content sharing is important, but as you've read in the blog above, I've tasked sales leadership to take that off your plate. Here are the things you should be looking after and that you should be measuring yourself on: Top of the funnel demand and churn rate.
Number one, top of the funnel demand. You should be measured on the number of leads that you're driving, using social or digital platforms for distribution. Webinars, ebooks, digital events—these are all ways you can drive top of the funnel demand.
Data from Implisit found that leads that came from social resulted in the second-highest conversion (deals won vs. deals lost) rates (68.6%), second only to referrals.
Number two, churn rate. If you can believe it, marketers have an incredible role to play on net new logo acquisition or net new business acquisition, but also ensuring renewals and reducing the churn rate.
How well you're nurturing existing clients on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are consistently educated, aware of all the benefits of your product and your organization so are incredibly important. Depending on the nature of your business, it costs between 4 to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
For sales professionals, the task is a little more complex, but instead of bogging ourselves down, I will give you a very simple and clear logic list of KPIs you personally can monitor your digital success with.
Number one, hold yourself accountable to daily social prospecting. Yes, some of your prospects may not have a LinkedIn profile, but realize that other people in the 6.8 buying committee may.
Number two, hold yourself accountable to daily content sharing goals [two to five pieces of content a day].
Number three, mandate that you connect with at least three to five prospects a day on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter.
Number four, focus on researching, or researching/socially surrounding three to five people per day in accounts you want to do business with.
These activities should take you approximately 30 minutes a day when you're comfortable with them.
Initially, they may take a little bit longer, maybe 40 to 45 minutes. Realize that all the time you put into this now will be paid back in spades later, because you will be doing something that virtually most B2B sales professionals are not even doing yet on the planet. You are going to be talking to people on platforms that are virtually untapped.
Lastly, if you want to hold yourself to a high standard, the LinkedIn SSI score does carry weight. A high LinkedIn SSI score doesn't necessarily mean that you will make your sales number, but what it does mean is, you are pulling all the right levers, the ones described at the bottom, and you're moving in the right direction.
The Bottom Line
Sales are simply a byproduct of the right sets of activities. Measuring social and digital sales efforts across the organization should be a priority. If you believe, as I outlined earlier, that the world is becoming more digital, then our sales transformation process has to also focus on digital. Let this serve as a guide to you. Let this inspire you and spark ideas for you to start that process.