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The Sales Review

Tactics and strategies to align with the modern buyer

Beyond Likes And Shares: 3 Key Metrics For Social Selling Success

Posted by Amar Sheth on Jun 7, 2016 2:34:29 PM

key-sales-metrics.jpgIt’s often said that what you can’t measure, you can’t manage and govern. It couldn’t be more true for social selling programs.

In this brave new world we’re living in, where communication, collaboration and research is done in digital bytes, it’s important to measure what sales teams are doing.

If you’re just starting out and are building awareness around social selling in your organization, you’ll soon likely begin to ponder starting a full-blown program to help impact sales results. And on this journey you will surely want to measure program effectiveness.

With varying opinions and paths for metrics, I wanted to highlight possible focus areas and how you’ll need to evolve to keep pace.

Social Media Marketing KPIs

If a social selling program is being managed by the social media team, metrics around marketing efforts will likely be focused on:

  • Likes;

  • Comments;

  • Shares;

  • Tweets;

  • Retweets;

  • Favorites;

  • And more.

While these are helpful metrics in measuring marketing activity that impact visibility, brand and overall awareness, you’ll need to speak a different language for sales leaders and professionals.

Here’s why.

First, unless you’re able to correlate these metrics to sales impact, it will become difficult to continue any social selling program with full sales leadership buy-in. You’ll need to a basket of metrics in addition to classic social media ones.

Secondly, the case to use social media for sales professionals must be made within a full sales context, not solely a marketing one. The marketing agenda for greater brand penetration, mindshare, visibility and more must exist alongside sales impact.

I’ve seen many organizations make meticulous calculations – sometimes manually – of a pilot group’s “social selling efforts.” But ask yourself when the last time encouraging a sales professional to “like” something or “have something liked” got them to jump in with two feet?

It’s nearly impossible.

In other cases, I’ve seen digital and social teams write manuals with screenshots – literally – to explain every social network out there. What do you think; will getting a global sales team to learn about Facebook screenshot by screenshot help with sales impact?

There’s hope – but it requires active participation, buy-in and execution from sales.

Understanding The Metrics Timeline

I believe most of us realize how important it is to track sales metrics in CRM. Social selling isn’t any different.

As a side note, what’s surprising is an organization’s lack of willingness to implement this. I’ve had sales leaders share with me off the record that if metrics around social selling were to be analyzed and scrutinized, it would bring unwanted attention to activity.

Oh no!

When it’s time for rubber to meet the road, it seems that there is generally a lack of appetite to be so specific.

This being said, there are also organizations that are completely committed to transparency around social selling activity. I’m currently working with leaders who are making bold leaps forward in transforming cultures.

The one thing they’re doing well, which you should evaluate, is implementing a metrics timeline.  Working backwards from social selling revenue attribution and influence, they understand that selling activity precedes this. They also understand that there must be an effective way to measure learning impact.

In short, measuring learning impact and digestion is an indicator of whether activity can be seen. And activity, in turn, is the ultimate driver for sales goals. This same framework exists for all selling activities, mind you. It’s not enough to look at a sales professional’s pipeline and ask,  “why aren’t you finding more opportunities?”

Proactive measures require leaders to measure activity levels.

Now that you understand the importance of having a metrics timeline in place, let’s focus on what can be measured.

What You Can Measure

It’s recommended you measure these activities together. Each is good individually but in unison they are the best predictors of sales impact.

1. Content Sharing

Take stock and measure how often sales professionals are sharing content to social networks. Yes, there are tools to measure this but it can be done manually if time and energy are there!

Why should we measure the frequency and overall team activity of social content sharing? Simple: it’s a good indicator that sales teams understand the value of educating their social networks with timely, relevant and contextual insights.

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2. The LinkedIn SSI Score

Some of you may not have LinkedIn Sales Navigator but you can ask your sales teams to submit weekly scores to you in a survey tool to measure growth and effectiveness.

The SSI is a good score in that it reveals activity levels across the board.

However, it’s not the only driver of success. I’ve personally talked to hundreds of sales professionals who have high SSI scores yet have extremely poor sales execution. If the willingness to repeat consistent activity isn’t there, high SSI scores can’t help. Note, a 70+ SSI score puts you in the top 2% of LinkedIn members worldwide, per LinkedIn.

In short, the SSI is a good measure to show uptick (or decrease) in social activity but must be paired with razor sharp sales execution.

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3. Social Network Growth

A favorite to measure across the board, growing the size of your network is a good indicator of growing influence.

Once we grow network size, influence via content sharing can help significantly. However, it’s not just the size of your network, it’s the quality as well. Ideally you should have both.

If you sell to HR leaders & professionals, for example, having a concerted effort in connecting with people in the industry can help, especially if you focus on influencing them with the latest trends and industry insights.

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What Really Matters?

Ultimately sales results matter. Thus, the ability to track pipeline, revenue, deal velocity and transaction size are important.

When you gauge the success of social selling programs, the ability to track results in existing CRM systems is important. Providing visibility to sales professionals and leaders is even more important.

And lastly, governance plays an important role in this. Does your leadership team fundamentally believe that social can help impact sales performance? It may happen in stages but that belief system must exist. Without it, governing any program will be difficult, right from inception.

Is your organization focused on metrics for your social selling program? Share your thoughts with me by connecting on LinkedIn or Twitter @AmarSheth.

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Amar Sheth

About the Author

Amar Sheth has trained thousands of people worldwide on the topic of Social Selling, through a style that’s part storytelling and part motivational.

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