It's no secret buyers have changed more in the past 10 years than the past 100. The modern consumer is digitally driven, socially connected and mobile empowered. Old tactics are increasingly less effective, warranting a massive change in the way organizations reach and sell to their customers.
Buyers are arming themselves with more information than ever to make informed decisions.
- 57% of the Buyer's Journey is now done before a sales professional is involved (CEB)
- 75% of B2B buyers are now using social media to research buyers (IDC)
We've all heard these stats by now. The change is happening right now. If you're not helping arm your company for the digital change, your company isn't going to survive.
So if your buyer is online and your sales team is willing to educate them digitally, you're ready for digital transformation. The following steps will guide leaders through what they must do to further spur digital change:
1) Priority Assertion
Be the voice of digital transformation
Here, it's important for you to eat your own dogfood. Tweet company successes, connect with the entire sales and marketing teams on LinkedIn, share favorite digital articles and insights with the salesforce as recommended reading and sharing, and be part of digital asset creation, such as blog articles or videos.
2) Outline Roles and Responsibilities
Organizational alignment is key
Each senior leader has a vital role to play in the success of a social selling program.
- Voice of accountability
- Learn social selling first
- Teach sales team value of social selling
Misalignment = A sales force with zero accountability to drive action.
- Engine that powers the machine
- Creates insights that fuel buyer conversations
Misalignment = A sales force left without content to educate buyers or tools to create new opportunities.
- The glue between sales and marketing
- Create service level agreement
Misalignment = A sales force that never adapts to the new buyer and reverts to old habits.
3) Measure Behavioural Change: Indicators
CRM: Are your sales professionals having new social conversations logged as Activity?
Marketing Automation: Are new Leads being driving through Social Campaigns? What increase is social having to your new Leads?
LinkedIn Sales Navigator: Are your sales professionals leveraging the tool on a daily basis? Which teammates are consistent users and driving new social conversations?
Employee Advocacy: Are your sales professionals consistently sharing insights? How are your sales team’s social networks becoming lead generation machines for your company?
4) Enrich Skillset
With blended learning.
Find: a buyer, his or her buying committee, and his or her buying influences, and socially surround all these people to gather market intelligence.
Educate: yourself and your buyer to have more contextual conversations that build rapport and trust. Digital insights are key to shaping a Buyer’s Journey.
Engage: your buyers with digital insights that push them off their Status Quo, and to think differently about their go-to-market priorities.
Develop: a network of people that can continue to open opportunities for you. You recognize that your “network is your net worth” (Jill Rowley).
5) Reinforce Action: coaching and long-term training
With blended learning.
Instructor-Led Training: Frequent scenario-based micro workshops.
Learning Portal: Learning management system (LMS) for videos, guides, templates and data for leading indicators.
Daily Coaching: One-on-one support and “open forums.”
ROI Measurements: Keep students on track week after week with indicators.
5) Amplify and Scale
Ask yourself: what do you want to get out of this program?
ROI: Did the training investment provide a positive return on investment?
Results: Did the training have a measurable impact on performance?
Impact: Did the learners behavior change as a result of your training?
Learning: Did knowledge transfer occur?
Satisfaction: Did the learners enjoy the learning?
The Costs vs Gains of a social selling program.
As you can see, there are a lot of elements to a successful social selling program. It is by no means a silver bullet. However, if you follow the strategic overview outlined in this blog, you can plot your steps to a successful social selling implementation. From organizational alignment, to blended learning and coaching, to long-term training, this blog helps lay the foundation for a your social selling succes!