Being in sales is amazing. Aside from the massive adrenaline, there’s always the the opportunity to meet new people and learn.
I think this is the core driver behind why sales professionals were so quickly drawn to the allure and promise of social selling. The rush in learning something so new that could impact their performance was important for them.
Leaders from sales, marketing and enablement were slow to adapt, and I’d argue that this is still the case for most organizations. Sales professionals, on the other hand, have had to fight tooth and nail to figure out things that work on social, with no help whatsoever from their companies.
The challenge with those of us that proudly wear the battle scars of learning is that we seem to have stopped learning. Full disclosure: I’m likely guilty of this in some respects as well.
For those of you with experience in social selling, I’ll offer you 3 simple perspectives on why training to learn social selling isn’t a bad thing.
Learning Has Direct Impact On Sales Performance
First and foremost, learning is life long. It sounds cliche but given the huge volume of consistent changes with social media, the appetite to learn must be at the core of what we do.
Learning social selling can seem difficult and may feel like uncharted waters. However, by developing a new skillset, sales professionals are able to learn new competencies to meet the modern buyer.
Recent research by CSO Insights reveals that the top sales performers were early adopters of social selling. It found that social sellers were also two years ahead of the average performer. In 2015 the top performers comprised only 7% of the overall study population; but they outperformed all others by 23%, according to Research Director Tamara Schenk.
Think about it. If LinkedIn or Twitter or any other social platform we use changes a minor feature, which may very well impact how we sell, then that requires some refresher training.
Cut the Noise
With so many features on social media platforms, which ones work and which ones don’t? The ability to work with a pro that’s curated what works helps keep you focused. Instead of wasting time, energy and effort on doing everything, it is far more advantageous to have laser-like focus on a few key things that matter.
Even Forrester says that, “Training develops social capabilities. Training is mandatory to develop your sales team’s social media capabilities, but it must be ongoing and include frequent check-ins.”
This is the same case that can be made for continuous learning in so many other areas of our lives.
My wife loves to remind me that just because I worked out today, there’s always tomorrow. The deposits I make today into learning will help me, but ultimately this is a long-term effort. There’s a reason I see a personal trainer; because he whips me into shape by keeping me focused on what matters the most. This way, I’m not bouncing from one area of the gym to the other.
Best Practices Are Always Evolving
I think this says it all. There’s a reason that the organizations we work for are consistently introducing us to new and different ways to better ourselves with our work.
This is especially true with social selling. The unique nature of it will require organizations to treat it as a core sales competency and create standardized guidelines and enablement programs in order to realize all the benefits social selling has to offer.”
With dynamic changes happening to the social media platforms we use, staying current on best practices is incredibly important.
The Bottom Line
There is immense amounts of data in the training world suggesting that lifelong application reinforcement is the best judge of learning. The Center of Creative Leadership says that challenging hands-on experiences amount to nearly 70% of learning.
Other models, like the Cone of Learning, attribute 90% of learning to being able to demonstrate and repeat what you’ve learned back to someone else. That’s powerful.
However, ask yourself; do you really need data to convince yourself to learn?
So while you may have experience with social selling, turning away from continuous learning opportunities is likely not wise in the dynamic world we live in.