How To Implement Social Selling For B2B Organizations

Social selling is like putting high-octane fuel in your car. Everything is turbocharged and moves faster including your pipeline. Sales cycles get quicker as a result of better timing, insight and conversations. What’s important to note about the above example is that social selling is an “additive” to the sales process not a full-scale change. However it’s been proving to yield great results, as the Aberdeen Research Group noticed an increase of sales team quota achievement of 30%, and increase of 21% in rep achievement quota and 15% increase in customer renewal rate after adopting social selling. The challenge then is how sales leadership and sales teams can seamlessly integrate social selling into their daily routines. This guide will discuss what you should expect to gain from social selling, keys to implementing a successful social selling program, and how to measure success and adoption.

What To Expect By Implementing A Social Selling Program

With proper tools, training and implementation, sales reps that adopt social selling will be able to:
  • Turn cold calls in to warm calls with superior insight in to the prospect 
  • Go beyond a vendor and establish yourself as the trusted advisor
  • Build a bigger pipeline and drive more revenue
  • Become a successful micro-marketer and amplify your product’s story
  • Network and attend events remotely through social interactions
  • Identify buying triggers that capture purchase intent from your prospect

Implementation Steps

Step 1: Have each member of the sales team create a LinkedIn and Twitter profile. This includes having a professionally done photograph. Ensure that every rep’s profile is 100% completed. Marketing should give some guidelines on language used. 

Step 2: Connect with everyone in your company. This will allow each rep access to the rest of the organization’s network and increase the number of 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Having these are crucial not only for network growth but also getting referred or introduced through trusted sources in your company. 

Step 3: Join 10-15 LinkedIn groups - if done correctly you can add a million people to your network. Groups allow you to send messages t those who aren’t your 1st degree connections, and allow you to join in the conversation with your prospects. Follow the 4-to-1 rule: Comment on four posts for every post that you write. Give — invest — in the relationship before you ask for anything: 

• 5 large networking groups (the executive suite) 
• 5 general groups around your field 
• 5 specific groups for your field.

Step 4: Ask your past and current colleagues, customers, or vendors to recommend you. You’d be surprised at the importance a short recommendation can hold. Potential partners or prospects are likely to check out your profile when considering doing business with you. 

Step 5: Interact once at least once a day through your activity stream. Most of your home page is taken up with updates from your connections. There are several ways you can interact with these updates, depending on the type. 

• Send a message — When your connections make new connections or take several actions on LinkedIn, this information shows up in your activity feed. You can send your connection a message. 

• Favorite — Posts from other social media sites often enable you to favorite the posts. For Twitter posts, you can retweet or reply as well. 

• Like — Changes in status and other actions enable you to Like the post. This is an especially good idea when your connection has a job status change; it’s a good excuse to reconnect. • Comment — Many types of statuses enable you to comment. Your connection sees the comment as well as anyone following either of you, so make your comment pungent.

Keys To Implementation A Successful Social Selling Program

1. Weekly or bi-weekly meetings between sales leadership and marketing do discuss content for multiple stages of the sales process and best manners for delivery over social. Marketing needs to provide sales with the right type and amount of content while still providing each rep some autonomy and control during their own engagements. 

2. Social selling training is needed just like any other part of the sales process. Reps will need training on how to properly develop their profiles and maintain good social network etiquette all the way to advanced social selling tactics and measurement. Set your team up  for success with proper training. 

3. Selection of a social relationship platform that will enable the sales team to listen, measure, and engage in their social selling activities, and also collaborate internally or with other departments in real-time. A good social relationship platform for social selling will have a content library where marketing can share approved content with sales and in an ideal world the platform you choose will also integrate with your CRM for maximum efficiency.  Ensure that CRM Admins add various social channels to the lead and account source o track appropriately.

      Creating a sample daily routine with to help reps ease social selling in to their current way of doing things. This should include a breakdown of activities and a percentage of time allotted to each. For example: monitoring for buying triggers and gathering intelligence (15 min), Curating and sharing content for thought leadership and to establish oneself as a trusted source (15 min), and networking and connecting with prospects and influencers (15 min).  Training can help establish the right tactics, mix of activities and best practices for your team, as well as, how to measure success.

Metrics to Measure Social Selling Implementation

One of the biggest struggles for sales operations and management when implementing a social selling program is how to measure its success and report key metrics that show the ROI from social sales activities. Though we are still in the early stages of figuring things out, here are some preliminary ways of measuring social selling success that reps and managers can look at.

Adoption - % of approved social profiles across your team. How many sales reps have an approved social profile and a percentage of the total number of reps. This will help to measure the adoption across the team and ensure that people are following guidelines and best practices when creating their profiles. Training around personal profile consistency and usage best practices training is essential here.

Social Pipeline - % of growth of connections on each reps social profile. Review these month over month, or quarter over quarter and it will give you a good idea of progression. Each rep should be growing their network connections, friends and followers daily. Etiquette training on how to connect with prospects over social media can help your team achieve positive results.

Social Leads - # of leads generated through monitoring social channels and keyword conversations. This metric is key for gauging how well social media is driving real sales results. Training should be implemented to help the reps find and listen for buying triggers over social media.

Thought Leadership - # of posts published on social media. Compare month over month or quarter over quarter. You can also set a goal or benchmark for how many posts each rep should send out over a given period of time, and then measure them on the % completion of the goal. This one hinges on teamwork with marketing to give the reps the right information at the right time and depends on proper training around curating and sharing content.

Julio Viskovich