Many organizations trying to initiate social selling initiatives face several challenges—sales people don’t consistently implement social selling techniques, have difficulty understanding how to get started, and so on.
Simply telling sales people what to do and expecting them to successfully execute a social selling initiative won’t work.
For a social selling program to truly succeed, sales leaders need to step in and help their teams correctly implement the necessary sales processes.
Here are four smart strategies that sales leaders can use to help their teams succeed.
1. Define Sales Activities
To be successful at social selling, your sales team will have to consistently execute several activities, such as sharing relevant content on their social channels, engaging with prospects on social media, engaging in social listening, and so on.
How do you make sure your team performs these activities every day?
It’s not easy to form a daily habit of executing these actions. People usually gravitate towards what they already know and what’s worked for them before. Most sales people are too overwhelmed with meeting their quotas to try out new sales tactics and build a social selling routine.
You can try checking up on them every day, but that’s essentially micromanagement, which is disengaging for everyone.
A simple way of ensuring that people perform these social selling activities is to map them as tasks in a social project management tool such as Click Up.
Click Up allows you to create recurring tasks in the form of templates. When an activity is on someone’s to-do list, they are far more likely to get it done. Sales leaders will also be able to keep track of these activities and see which actions are being checked off.
Moreover, Click Up is a social project management tool, which has social media features like comments, likes, tags, and so on. Your sales people can use it to discuss their sales activities, ask for their colleagues’ input, and keep track of the team’s progress. This social energy will play a major role in pushing your sales people to adopt social selling activities.
2. Encourage Collaboration and Teamwork
Social selling is a team sport.
Sure, you will always have talented high performers who will consistently exceed their quotas, but if you want your entire team to succeed at social selling, you need leaders to take active steps to support it by driving collaboration across the entire company.
Social selling often involves requesting introductions or information from common connections. A highly underused way to acquire these connections is by asking people in your own company. For instance, someone in your product management or customer support team might know a VP in a company you are trying to target.
To make it easier for your sales people to quickly acquire these introductions, take active steps to streamline your company’s internal communication. You could start a Slack channel dedicated to acquiring introductions and information, encourage a more informal and friendly culture to make communication across levels easier, hold more cross-functional meetings, and so on.
Explain to senior management that collaboration will help the social selling call get rolling, in addition to improving overall teamwork across the company. They will be happy to support you in taking steps to streamline communication.
3. Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment
Sales and marketing don’t always work together very well. However, your success with social selling will depend a lot on how well these two teams are aligned.
Your sales team should be in the loop about ongoing inbound marketing campaigns and the marketing team’s tools for lead generation and nurturing. Knowledge of campaigns and tools used will help the sales team work more effectively with the marketing team to understand the nature of the different types of leads and segment them accordingly. Your sales people will be able to better judge the most appropriate time and the best way to reach out to different types of leads.
The timing and the way you approach a lead are crucial in social selling because you want to be perceived as an expert who is adding value, not just someone whose sole motivation is to meet their quarterly quota!
Talk to leaders in the marketing team and figure out how the two teams can work together more closely. The better aligned you are, the more successful your social selling will be.
4. Address Mindset Barriers
One of the biggest barriers to social selling is people’s mindset about what sales is all about.
Dmitry Dragilev, who has grown his PR SaaS company Just Reach Out substantially through social selling, says “Social selling requires a shift in mindset. It’s about recognizing that you need to add value to your prospect first and gain their trust by building your credibility as a thought leader.”
This paradigm is different from traditional sales where you are primarily thinking only about how to close a deal.
Making this mindset shift isn’t simple for every sales person. Even if you spend hours explaining the process of social selling, many will find it hard to implement it.
One of the most effective ways to address mental blocks to social selling is by coaching your sales people. Individual coaching sessions are great for examining your sales people’s beliefs about how sales is supposed to work and helping them accept the social selling paradigm.
Moreover, coaching is also a powerful sales enablement methodology. It will give you the opportunity for you to discuss your sales people’s challenges, figure out possible solutions, set more effective goals, and keep them engaged.
Your Support Will Make All the Difference
Social selling isn’t difficult to do. But it does need the support of sales leaders to take off. Once you have these systems in place, your sales people will take over and deliver the stellar results you expect from social selling.