2016 is the year of Social Selling adoption. And if your organization hasn’t adopted it yet, now is the time! Social Selling is critical for organizations. Take a look at this infographic that we created in combination with working with a few of our business partners. We interviewed 300 sales professionals, and found that:
- 61% of organizations that are engaged in social selling are reporting a positive impact.
- 72% of sales professionals feel that they are not proficient with Social Selling.
- 75% of companies report an increase in their sales team using Social Selling in the next six months but they don’t have a roadmap.
But in order to adopt a Social Selling program, you need leadership buy-in. And the first (and one of the most important!) steps that any organization needs to take is to get triple alignment.
What is triple alignment?
Triple alignment means that you have buy-in, and that three distinct departments are working together. They are:
- Direct sales leaders;
- Marketing leadership or digital content marketing leadership; and
- Sales enablement.
These are what I like to call the “three amigos.” If any one of these parties isn’t involved, the house of cards of your Social Selling program is going to fall through. Let’s go into more detail about each of these players, and the consequences if one of the parties is not involved.
Sales leadership’s role is to create accountability with the sales professionals. They look at learning behavior and translate it into sales outcomes through one-on-one meetings and constant coaching, to make sure sales professionals are implementing social into their daily cadence.
However, sales leaders need to demonstrate by their own actions that they believe in social. They’re going to lead the horse to water and drink it as well.
If sales leadership doesn’t show up, you have a complete faltering in accountability. No matter what marketing or sales enablement do, the sales professionals don’t report to that division, so they’ll revert back to old ways, take the path of least resistance, and do things the way they’ve always done before.
Marketing is the engine and the fuel of the social selling machine. They’re involved in helping create, organize, distribute and measure engagement of all digital assets.
When aligned with the other three departments, marketing will also align their objectives with sales quota attainment. They’re going to become part of the revenue generation machine.
When marketing is not involved, sales professionals will be sharing “naked messages”—which means they’re starting social conversations without adding any value. They’re completely in the dark as to the validity of the impact of social on the business. They can’t see the consumption story of the buyers, the digital fingerprints the buyer is leaving all over the company’s website and digital assets.
Sales enablement is the glue between sales and marketing. They find the people, process, and technology to ensure that Social Selling can be interweaved into the fabric of their current sales process.
If they’re not involved, Social Selling is treated like an event. It’s a one and done process. Without enablement, there’s no long-term behavioral strategy to update the skillset of the sales pro over the next months or years, to intertwine this with new hire policy to make sure this is a cultural shift.
2016 is your year to adopt Social Selling into your organization. Get leadership buy-in and alignment from these three players, and you’ll be on your way to success.