Congratulations! If you’re building a Social Selling program for your company, you recognize that the buyer journey has fundamentally shifted from what it was even 10 years ago.
Chances are the majority of your sales team is already on social media. They’re using LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, possibly even Facebook, and other social platforms, in some way, shape or form. Each individual on your team will have habits, behaviors and approaches to social that will be radically different as well.
Now that you’re starting your Social Selling journey, get ready for the THE BIGGEST challenge of your life. Check out this video here to see what I’m referring to.
The Importance of Change Management
If you’re building curriculum around Social Selling, the biggest challenge you’ll face is change management. Because social is so dynamic and changes are constantly being introduced, you’ll need a change management process that accounts for small nuances up to large programmatic changes.
Without this, the curriculum that sales professionals are learning today will (per our professional experience) become obsolete within 6-9 months at most. This means that whatever strategies that sales has likely incorporated will have to be relearned and retaught once you determine the proper and correct workarounds.
The Real Resistance to Social
In conversations with Enablement and Learning & Development professionals, this challenge is now becoming apparent. As many companies begin to craft social curriculum, they’re finding that even as early as deployment time, tips and strategies are no longer working.
Aside from the sheer frustration this causes, it very quickly help to derail the entire momentum of the Social Selling program. As sales professionals’ time is something we’re all careful to tap into, leading with big changes may even cause mistrust.
Here is a real-life example: in a large telecom company, one Enablement professional shared confidentially that after months of working on building a Social Selling curriculum, several LinkedIn features had changed. Plus, features on Twitter had changed, too. On the day of program launch with a pilot group of 250 sales professionals, key strategies didn’t work. It was completely out of her control as LinkedIn and Twitter don’t consult with anyone when making changes to their platform.
Social Selling resistance was naturally the by-product of this misadventure.
To add fuel to this fire, it took a good 30 days to determine the proper workarounds to the feature changes. This was precious time that was lost while sales leaders shifted focus of their teams back on proven ways of selling.
Can you blame them?
How You Teach Matters
While most Enablement and L&D departments are used to doing workshop-style training, this has proven to be ineffective (at best) for Social Selling. A true blended learning approach with significant support mechanisms are needed yet missing from most Social Selling deployment plans.
So while deploying curriculum that may be forced to change sooner than you like, you’ll need to develop ways to ensure that the curriculum can stick, behaviors change and adoption occurs.
Ultimately, the curriculum you deploy and all changes you make to it thereafter will need to align to building more pipeline and revenue. If this isn’t your ultimate end game then why are you teaching Social Selling to sales professionals?
The Bottom Line
Plan for change management my friends. It’s something that’s not only needed but needs to be weaved into your curriculum-building process.
Unlike other sales training ideas/concepts, social is extremely dynamic and can change rapidly. This is something that we couldn’t have predicted and aren’t currently prepared for. Seek solutions to this from both inside and outside your organization. After all, the collective power of the entire community can help to overcome these obstacles.
Do you see the obstacles with Social Selling curriculum change management? Or, have you already encountered these issues yourself?