proof concept for social selling

Pilots, proof of concepts and phase one’s = we all need to develop business cases to empirically prove a return on investment which allows for greater funding for scalability.

This is a necessary evil in developing any sort of program of change management. In some cases, this could be adoption of a new CRM, LinkedIn Sales Navigator or even just a new sales methodology. After running over 300 global digital sales transformations around the world, there is one simple rule to follow in developing a Proof of Concept (POC):

Sales leadership buy-in and accountability is >50% of the battle required for change management. Click to Tweet

Now you have to ask yourself, how am I going to build a business case that actually changes the mindset of leadership? This is the most asked question from sales enablement and marketing leaders when we’re preparing to implement a social selling program.

No matter how many business case do you show your sales leaders of existing companies in the market, or even direct competitors business cases, sometimes it still falls on deaf ears. You need to develop your own business case, proof of concept, phase one, so how do we do this?

Eliminate All Objections Against Scalability

Mindshare is obtained when you can empirically eliminate any objections against moving forward to greater scalability.

We’ve written article on the six different proof of concepts, but it is important to understand how to eliminate objections in the future.

If you choose too few sellers in a POC, you’ll risk the realities of A, B & C players all moving at different speeds and scale, and not having a “valid” number of successes that any CFO aornd resource-funder of future projects can trust.

This is why I highly recommend that you a POC of >5% – which is enough sellers to gain the mindshare of multiple stakeholders. It will get people’s attention.

This is a necessary evil because you need future territories, business units, verticals to believe that “if it worked for them at scale, this most work for everyone.”

Ensure The Right People For Your Proof Of Concept

Do you need the North American team to believe that digital sales is scalable? Don’t let a pilot of eight people in Germany disappoint leaders and argue that the sample size isn’t definitive enough for them.

pareto law social sellingRemember, if you run a POC of eight people, there will be Pareto’s Law (80% of results are driven by 20% of the reps). You will have churn, burn out, detractors, if you add that up within eight people, you really don’t have a business case. You need to be able to show a sprinkling of successes in various business units, geographies, verticals, so its application in various customer segments.

I am a firm believer in needing to work on pilot greater than 5% in the workforce! You have only one chance to make a first impression.


Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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