Successful Social Selling: What’s Your Archetype? [New Data]

Sales for Life Admin
Sales for Life Admin

What kind of social seller are you? Do you understand the value of social selling? Do you create your own content, or share pre-curated posts? How do you use social to reach buyers, if at all?

Aberdeen Group found that 64% of teams that use social selling hit quota compared to the 49% who don’t. Forbes also found that 78% of sales pros using social media perform better than their peers.

Forrester’s latest report affirms that each organization contains four different types of social sellers — the celebrity, the expert, the social novice and the non-participant. When launching a social selling program, leaders must consider their employees familiarity with social, skill level and their potential for learning. For example, an old schooler might have strong sales tactics but lack digital skills, and vice versa.

Once you understand the realities of your sellers, you can create the mindset, process, skills and tools to enable your team’s success.

Below are the attributes, activities and social routines of the four types of social sellers:

The Celebrity

Most enterprise companies have that one celebrity social seller. Think Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia, or Koka Sexton at LinkedIn. These self-made thought leaders consistently create and share visionary ideas. You wouldn’t be surprised to see an Influencer badge on their LinkedIn profile. And this influence ripples across broad networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, meetups, hackathons and conferences. They are purveyors of viral content and thought leadership, providing valuable insights into their/others experiences, strategies and motivations. As such, these thought leaders have a close network, online and offline, with other thought leaders. These are your role-models, your inspiration, the creme de la creme of your industry sphere.

  • Creates and shares visionary ideas

  • Influences across broad networks

  • Shares thought leadership monthly/quarterly

  • Follows influencers from other brands

The Expert

For every celebrity social seller there are ten experts in their wake. These are your social selling evangelists. Think early adopters of social selling, rather than celebrity innovators. These experts stay up to date on the latest research. They’re the first seller to circulate that new report to the team. They’re well-versed in social listening and have integrated it into their daily social routine.

These experts know their buyers inside and out. They consistently share buyer-specific educational content. If you comment on something they posted, expect an almost-immediate response. These experts recognize and appreciate the value of timely social interaction. They are your social selling program champions, advocates and (usually) quota-crushing employees.

  • Engages in research and social listening

  • Shares buyer-specific educational content

  • Responds quickly to client and prospect posts

  • Integrates social activities into daily cadence

The Social Novice

For every social expert there are 20 novices learning from them. These novices are wedged between tradition and innovation. They’re exposed to the concept of social selling, but don’t fully understand or believe in it. Sure, they’ll sporadically share pre-curated content on your employee advocacy platform, but they don’t really see the value of coordinating a daily social routine. Because of this reluctancy, you can find them still picking up the phone maybe one too many times.

But not all hope is lost. These sales pros are hungry to crush quota. They’re watching social sellers in their own organization, mindful of their success, and want to know how to do it. And with the right program and the right leadership, they too can learn. The social novices are your phone-social hybrids, your old-schoolers, your ready-to-learners. 

  • Prefers to use traditional methods

  • Share pre-curated content

  • Engages in post-program rollout

  • Learns from social selling leaders in own organization

The Non-Participant

There are typically two types of non-participants. The first are your laggards, your cold-calling clingers, ones who raise their eyebrows when ever someone mentions the word “social.” They simply don’t understand the value of social connections in a business setting.

The second understands the value of social but doesn’t currently need it. They have purposefully opted out of investing time to integrate social into their cadence, because they already have a valuable book of business. Especially in traditional industries, the second kind on non-participant is more common.

  • Doesn’t understand the value of social connections

  • Uses familiar sales tactics

  • Doesn’t need social connections to exceed goals

Considering employees current use of social can help ease program rollout. Leaders or marketers can work together to enable all types of social sellers to reap best results.


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The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling