Navigating Your Team Through Social Selling

Tip #1: Embrace social selling as culture change

Social selling is more than a sales tactic. It’s a whole way of interacting with your prospects and customers. It requires changes in behavior and attitude from team members, many of whom don’t really understand social in the first place.

Winning teams embrace social selling as culture change. They work programmatically to win the hearts and minds of team members. They communicate why it’s important, and what’s in it for the individual rep. They provide training and hand-holding. Most of all, they don’t take employee participation for granted.

Tip #2: Integrate social into core sales process

High-performing sales teams run on processes, that eternal clockwork of planning, targeting, forecasting, pitching, pipeline reviewing, and closing that imposes predictability and repeatability to the art of selling.

Social selling becomes part of a sales culture when it’s integrated into core selling processes. Business Development Reps (BDRs) should know how to use LinkedIn to research every outbound lead before dialing the phone. Bag-carrying field reps should check their prospects’ Twitter and Facebook posts before walking into a meeting.

These should be standard steps in the sales process, not “I’ll do it when I think of it” optional activities.

Tip #3: Invest in tools and training

Just telling reps to “get on social media” won’t get the job done. Sales teams are all over the map when it comes to social selling. While some reps are highly sophisticated, others don’t even have photos on their LinkedIn profiles.

They need help.

To make social selling a core part of the sales process, you need to invest in tools and training–just as you investtoday in CRM and sales training. This brings your whole team up to a common standard of social selling understanding and execution. For small teams, a social trainer can help communicate the basic concepts and put them into practice. Larger sales organizations typically need the scalability and measurability that comes from a technology solution like PeopleLinx. The investment is tiny compared to the returns.

Tip #4: Show your team what’s in it for them

What’s the surest way to motivate a salesperson? Show them the money. Once team members see that social selling will help them earn commission, they won’t need more convincing.

While you could resort to statistics (a recent study found that 78% of salespeople who use social selling outsold their peers), a better strategy is to shine a spotlight on success within the company. Use team meetings or company newsletters to showcase examples of new business sourced on social networks. Encourage top social sellers to share their stories with peers.

Tip #5: Social Selling goes way beyond the Sales team

Social selling isn’t just a Sales and Marketing thing. It’s a whole-company thing.

Buyers trust people they know far more than they trust brands. Gartner has found that 84% of buyers trust online recommendations from people they know (versus 15% who trust online recommendations from brands).

Every employee can contribute to social selling. Whether or not the word “sales” appears on their business card, nearly every employee knows potential customers, prospects, business partners, or influencers. By empowering those employees on social, you can create brand awareness, generate inbound leads, and help close deals for a tiny fraction of the cost of search marketing and other forms of paid advertising.

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