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The Sales Review

Learn about emerging best practices, strategies and insights on B2B sales today dedicated for the modern sales organization.

Does Your Company Have What It Needs For Social Selling Success?

Posted by Jamie Shanks on Dec 1, 2014 1:41:01 PM

Welcome to the Social Hierarchy of Organizational Needs. This is a reverse-engineering of Maslow’s Hierarchy to represent the order of importance of different elements to Social Selling success.

If you’re a sales professional, sales leader, marketing guru or sales enablement champion within your organization, PLEASE forward this to your team!

The Social Hierarchy of Organizational Needs was created to highlight the vital elements for Social Selling success. Following this structure, but in a different sequential order can mean misalignment towards any long-term organizational change.

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Top of the Triangle:

Executive Sponsorship of Social Transformation

Change happens at the top! Yes, after training 45,000+ sales professionals, we’ve encountered many grass-roots Social Sellers that help influence their sales managers. If the highest levels of the company do not place Social as a priority, then Social becomes a pilot “aka Test”, rather than a cultural shift. Executives must place the utmost importance on Social success in their organization for any pilot to turn into years of prosperity.

Middle of the Triangle:

Sales Manager Buy-in and Accountability Support

Sales professionals emulate their managers. Sales managers hold the ticket to accountability of any Social Selling program. It’s imperative that a sales manager is not sending mixed signals to their sales team, but discounting Social Selling activities. Yes, some companies still measure their sales team using Talk Time or # of dials per day. Unfortunately, these current metrics can’t preclude diminishing any new Social Selling activity from a sales team.

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Sales Enablement’s commitment to behavioral change

Most of the Social tips, tricks and strategies that we teach sales professionals are 100% foreign to their current sales process. We work hand-in-hand with Sales Enablement to ensure training and development lives beyond our engagement. Sales Enablement must be involved to both integrate these new Social Selling best practices into their coaching arsenal, and be capable of helping develop sales professionals once we’re gone. These development is truly a behavioral transformation, that doesn not happen overnight.

Marketing’s pursuit of “Conversion Funnel” excellence

I’ve often been quoted saying that Management Buy-In and Marketing are the key drives to Social Selling success. This couldn’t be more accurate. Social Selling DOES NOT exist without Marketing… PERIOD! If this were the battlefield, Marketing is the Artillery, Content is the Artillery Shells, and Sales Professionals are the ones that pull the trigger. Marketing is responsible for supporting the sales team with content that is relevant, easy to access, and drive leads. The conversion funnel is their ultimate prize, in which their responsible for mastering lead flow and qualification. So many people have Social Selling wrong; they think Social Selling is LinkedIn usage. In fact, Social Selling is meeting and helping the buyer through their buying journey online, where CONTENT is King to this process.

Bottom of the Triangle:

Training: Increase Social Influence & Expertise

Once everyone on the Executive Committee and Management are bought-in, it’s time to raise the level of education amongst the sales team. Training MUST be done over a period of time, not in a workshop-based environment. Remember, this is about BEHAVIORAL CHANGE!

Action: Increase Activity & Results

The sales team will learn how to drive opportunities using Social. As they are driving activities, the management team must learn how to properly measure these successes. It’s important to incorporate Social activity into the sales process, and measure these activities as a “Leading Indicator” to sales success. I’ve often said that “Training Engagement” is the Leading Indicator to Social Selling success… well so is Social outreach. Social Selling is not just about monitoring prospective buyers, it’s about starting relevant conversations to drive next steps.

Measure: Increase effectiveness with data

All Social Selling activities need to be documented in your CRM. Simple measurements like:

  • Campaigns
  • Leads (generated and value)
  • Accounts / Contacts (generated and value)
  • Opportunities (generated and value)

Once you have Data on Social Selling, you can compare this to traditional business development means. Long-term, you WILL have the empirical evidence that shows the power of viral content on your inbound leads. Don’t treat Social Selling as an activity of learning for a period of time, treat Social Selling as a tool in your sales team’s tool belt. Like any tool, you’ll want to measure its success, to justify further investment.

Amplify: Increase Speed-to-Revenue with tools

I get asked about Free vs. Premium LinkedIn all the time, and this question is universal to my belief of Social Selling tools. My belief is that once you’ve seen that Social has become part of your daily routine and behavior, than tools are going to AMPLIFY your performance. Most Social Selling tools are used to increase your speed-to-revenue (LinkedIn Navigator is a perfect example). Navigator does for you in minutes, what would take you hours in the free LinkedIn platform. For so many paid Social Selling tools like Hootsuite premium, Feed.ly premium, etc., demonstrate to yourself and management that you’re using these tools effectively, before increasing your exposure in a tool. A tool won’t sell for you, it will only enable you to act more quickly once you know how to act. But, once you’ve become an effective Social Seller, make sure you leverage these tools to make selling that much more suopercharged!

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Jamie Shanks

About the Author

Jamie Shanks is a world leading Social Selling expert, responsible for pioneering the space. Jamie Shanks has trained 1,000’s of sales professionals from Fortune 500 companies to solopreneurs.