Socail_Selling_34Last week I was in discussions with a Sales Director and a Managing Director who wanted to get their sales team trained on LinkedIn.  Because one of their top Sales performer had suggested so.   On the flip side there was a resistance because they believed that

  1. After LinkedIn training, sales team members will find a better job and leave.
  2. Second resistance was how can you generate business using LinkedIn and
  3. The final objection how can business risk the current working sales process?

I pondered and realized these could be common objections, why businesses are slow to adopt Social Selling.  They are playing wait and seek game. Having said that I believe Social Media is engrained in every aspect of our lives. It’s not a trend or a fad, but a fundamental shift in the way we communicate now. We are more informed, more connected and more open to sharing images, opinions and thoughts with a global audience.  And this has brought in a fundamental shift in purchasing behaviors as well.  But the question remains how to motivate business to adopt Social Selling paradigm?

My response would be to Adopt four phase Model.

  1. PHASE # 1: Share major market research statistics with senior most professionals in the organizations such as
    1. IDC survey: 2% of buyers prefer vendors that have been recommended.
    2. IDC survey: 73% of buyers prefer sales professionals who have been referred.
    3. Average B2B buyer who uses social media in decision making process is more senior and has bigger budget.
    4. Average buyer who uses social media makes more frequent purchases.( There is a clear connections between social adoption and higher performance.)
    5. Demand Gen Report 2014 B2B buyer behavior survey: 65% of buyers confirm; the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on the purchase decision. And more than 80% of buyers reviewed 5 or more pieces of content.
    6. 58% – 70% of the sales cycle is completed before buyer’s calls in the sales.
    7. Other serious researches: Aberdeen ResearchHubspot slideshare study (Surprising statistics supporting Social Selling)
    8. And many more wherein every piece of research points towards knowing your customer well before you engage him; which is the essence of Social Selling.
  2. PHASE # 2: Knowledge Transfer: Social Selling is disruptive but DON’T DISRUPT the existing Sales Model. Social Selling should complement phone, email, events and other sales and marketing activities.  Hence First Step is …
    1. Conduct a 3 – 6 hours workshop on LinkedIn to build a LinkedIn Profile and open Twitter account.
    2. Show them how easy it is to build a list and research their target audience.
    3. Encourage them to maximize connections within the target companies.
    4. Objective is to show them how to do more with less. After all there are only so many coffees you can have in a day but with social media its 24×7 and your reach is exponential.
  3. PHASE # 3: Activities: Conduct second workshop (4 hours)  on how to engage the target audience and identify signals to help them. (Create relevant content horizontally categorized as – Awareness, Considerations and Decision making.  And vertically categorized as addressing MUTE – Management buyer, User, Technology buyer and Economic buyer)
  4. PHASE # 4: Measurement: Create a process to measure Social Selling activities such as
    1. Your Searchable Profile
    2. Customer list and number of connections within every customer
    3. Quality of Connections ( Engagement)
    4. Number of Referrals received and given
    5. Relevant Content Shared
    6. Opportunities to serve and support.

Finally Measure activities and result for next 60 days, 90 days, 120 days and evaluate the % increase or decrease in pipeline. If it’s negative take corrective action and if it’s positive continue the process and improve upon it.  But mind you the “TASTE OF THE PUDDING IS IN EATING” hence also measure % of closure rates and size of sales transactions which should certainly swell up.

 ps Well you might question I have not answered the Point# sales team leaving the organization.  My response is Sales Team will leave irrespective provided you offer them best ICC environment ie.  Interesting, Challenging and Caring.

ps Connect with  me for a Social Selling workshop