You understand social is a top sales enablement priority, and you’ve drafted a plan to get the sales team ready on social. Now what?
It’s time to map the narrative for social selling enablement, and enable social selling with tech and processes together.
The key here is to start with the end in mind:
- How do you prepare to use social selling effectively?
- What skills does your team need to be successful?
- Where do you start in enabling the journey?
Mapping The Narrative for Social Selling Enablement
Learning is only about 10 to 20% of the challenge—application and ongoing reinforcement, that is your jackpot. Reinforcement is where you’ll see 70% of your results come from. This is the ticket of an extremely successful learning “program,” whether it’s social selling or not.
Identify the following and build them into the formal curriculum.
- What do you want your sellers to know?
- What do you want your sellers to be able to do?
Enable Social Selling With Tech And Processes Together
Sales enablement technology is designed to support and even help develop learning content. Here are the ways you can merge tech solutions with training solutions to drive results.
Sales Enablement Solutions
Make social selling part of formal training programs. Make social selling a part of your onboarding for new hires as well as your training programs. Start with identifying what you want your salespeople to know, and formalize a way to get them there with a curriculum.
Develop online training content on social strategies and best practices. Sales enablement technology is a great place to house all your enablement, training and onboarding that you are giving your salespeople.
For example, you can use sales enablement readiness technology to develop formal learning environments that salespeople can access via an on-demand learning portal. Use that platform to certify that they have the skills they need to sell more effectively.
Certify that reps understand core concepts. Seeing if your reps have actually retained and are using the information is what matters most. That’s when they're actually interacting with buyers. There are various tech solutions you can use to see how they’re performing and provide feedback.
Make learning and ‘how-to’ resources easily (and continuous) accessible. Make social selling resources available for sales people to access on a just-in-time basis to refresh themselves. As a sales enablement leader, be sure to communicate to sales when there are new learning resources, existing ones are updated or there are even product updates. A newsletter, for example, is a great way to do this.
Social Selling Solutions
The mindset: get leadership involved. For social selling to truly drive results, leadership must be involved. Keep in mind that even if your sales force believes social works, commercial leadership is not going to get behind social. No matter how much data is presented to them, convincing them will take time. You’re going to press up against people’s egos, knowledge, etc.
Full buy in or milestone check ins. If you get full buy-in from leadership, that’s great. But if you don’t, be sure to negotiate milestone check-ins, where they see certain results being driven in a period of time. Put an SLA in place if you need to. The key here is to get leadership involved one way or another.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the social selling programs that are failing are the ones that don’t have leadership involved. So do yourself a favor, put in that extra time upfront, and make sure the buy-in is there.
Change management: you’ll need a way to keep content & training fresh. LinkedIn changes about twice a year (as does Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms), so by its very nature, social selling has to keep up. It’s not like other sales methodologies where they stay static for twenty years. If you’re creating a curriculum, be sure to have a change management plan in place.
Have a simple process with lifelong learning. Again, reinforcement is so important here. Have a process in place for training new reps, and keeping others up to date with changes as they happen in the market.
Why Do Salespeople Need To Share Content?
- It helps increase brand awareness and drives new contacts in the sales pipe
- It provides value for prospects
- It creates brand awareness for knowledge sharing
- It makes salespeople subject matter experts, knowledgeable and trustworthy
- It promotes teams; it has reach beyond the sales reps
Consider: 92% of buyers prefer dealing with someone that’s known as a thought leader (LinkedIn)
Sharing content isn’t the only way to become a thought leader, but it is an incredible way in this new digital age to begin to exert your knowledge. At the bare minimum, if you look at some of the sales people in your company right now, they are experts. They’re good learners, they know the space well. They can speak about it articulately. But, there’s a problem. They’re not talking about it enough. And, in between their face-to-face meetings, in between emails and phone calls, that’s not enough time to educate someone. So, you’ve got to get out there, and you’ve got to educate the market by sharing content more effectively.
Enabling Content Sharing on Social
When it comes to sharing content on social media, the key is really making it as easy and simple as possible for your sales team. There are several ways to do that:
Raise awareness of new and relevant content w. regular communications
Some companies (Brainshark, seen above) have a weekly email they send out, for example, a “Weekly Top Five.” It’s basically a list of all the new content that the marketing team has created over the past week: new blogs, videos, podcasts, e-books, whatever it might be that we want to get more exposure of.
Think about all the different and creative ways you can let sales people know about new content while making it extremely easy for them to share it.
Pre-write posts for LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
Don’t just say, “Hey, here’s a new blog post.” Go that extra step of actually pre-writing a Tweet with hashtags, etc. Then all sales really needs to do is copy/paste and start sharing.
Help reps enable “auto-sharing” of new blog content
Work on ways where you can use different social media solutions to actually help sales people set up a feed so whenever a new blog post is published, it’s automatically shared out on their network. Many employee advocacy platforms have tons of configurations for this. Now, this isn’t exactly ideal social engagement, but if you’re looking to get more exposure for your content, there is nothing easier than having a salesperson set that up, and then not have to think about it and that content’s being shared automatically.
Create a content committee—rep influenced content
Marketing should be talking to sales because sales are actually talking with buyers. They know what the challenges are better than anyone, because they’re hearing them first hand. Get together with a content committee on a monthly basis to brainstorm challenges, objections and stories sales is hearing in the market. You can then turn those into valuable pieces of content that will not only resonate with buyers, but also the sales team.
Get top customers involved
Getting customers involved is also a great way to share stories about your solution and showcase real-life examples.
Making social selling learning available for your sales force is essential if you want your team to stand out today. By pairing the right technology with the right content, you can help drive more sales conversations, more pipeline and ultimately more revenue.
This blog has been adapted from the webinar: Empowering Your Sales Force With Social Selling.