The modern sales process has moved from analog to digital, and if your company and your sales team aren't moving in that direction, you're missing opportunities to sell smarter by leveraging the power of social selling to drive sales outcomes.
Social selling is the process of using digital tools to identify and create new opportunities, measure activity and outcome and drive revenue. From there, you're empowered to define a path to success and replicate the process. This strategy should work in alignment with marketing so that all departments are pulling in the same direction.
Many businesses are undergoing digital transformations and adopting new technologies to empower their social sales process. Here is how you can move your organization toward a social selling model.
Building a business case
As a sales leader, you will champion the need for the move from analog to digital. There is a simple model available to enable your journey. The Kirkpatrick Model – the measurement standard for enablement programs – allows you prove the effectiveness of social selling and its direct impact on ROI:
- Satisfaction: Ensure your sales team wants to learn and grow. It's critical at this stage that, as their leader and mentor, you sell them on the importance of training and growth. Stress what's in it for them: long-term career velocity.
- Learning: Track how your team is learning, what they're consuming and what they're responding positively to. Use tactics like tests and certifications to measure knowledge retention.
- Impact: Measure how that learning is translating into action (growth in social networks, identification of new accounts, etc.).
- Results: Share quantifiable sales metrics (new leads, opportunities, pipeline coverage, bookings) that are created by and correlated with new social selling activity.
- ROI: Tie the success you experience back to the initial investment in social selling training to prove impact and fuel continued investment.
Prepping your team
In order for social selling to work, it's critical that your team have the right mindset and skillset. Ensure early on in this process that you communicate what's in it for them. Sellers who use digital tools sell smarter. One study found that 70 percent of reps who used digital tools changed their behavior based on learnings and insights from those tools. That leads directly to career velocity. Focus on how social selling can propel their career forward.
As a sales leader, you can also use this data to refine your team. Identify your A, B and C players; let your A players continue to shine, invest time in growing your B players into A players, and consider whether your C players have what it takes to evolve with your business.
Identifying WILL: What's Ideal Look Like?
Identifying what your ideal sales customer and process looks like is critical in measuring success. By documenting WILL, you replace emotion with logic and data points that you've collected. Map your past customers using this model to concretely identify WILL:
- Demographics: What key data points – like location, size and industry – matter in your sales process?
- Mindset before buying: What was the customer's mindset before the sales process began?
- Content consumption/self-education before buying: Are your customers self-learners or did they require a lot of guidance and hand-holding during the education process?
- Customer procurement versus the buying process we lay out for customers: Was the procurement process roadblocked or did it have a natural velocity?
- Implementation experience and engagement: Was implementation accomplished on time and without major roadblocks?
- Results, ROI, account stickiness: Was there success achieved by both you and your customer?
The WILL model empowers you to identify earlier in the sales process whether you're working with the right prospects. Find the ideal accounts that you identify in the WILL process and replicate them.
Building the right tech stack
After you've sold the need for adopting a social selling model, you need to build your tech stack. A modern tech stack usually includes at least four tools to track data points throughout the customer lifecycle:
- A CRM
- A marketing automation platform
- Content aggregator and distribution platform
- Social media accounts: LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
Be aware of common stumbling blocks during this process. There are hundreds of sales tools to choose from, so you should be intentional and particular as you select your suite of tooling. Specifically avoid layering on too many tools, which can lead to overwhelming costs and information paralysis. Also watch for tools that won't work together, as that will hinder the effectiveness of your stack to give you true insights.
Changing the conversation
Your brand is built on the experience you deliver during and after the sales process. What this means for social selling is that you'll talk less about products and services, and spend more time thinking about how to help your customers. This results in richer conversations and more satisfying experiences for your customers. Specifically, refer to the 5 E's of Social Selling to execute this in customer interactions:
- Educate with content
- Enchant by being relevant
- Engage with authenticity
- Embrace with intent
- Empower your customers
After you've implemented a social selling model and your team has adopted the social mindset, you'll improve efficiency, spend less time on dead leads and spend more time on the right activities that drive outcomes.