As LinkedIn and related apps continue to grow in popularity, many B2B companies are starting to train their sales teams on Social Selling skills.
All too often, this involves a few hours of training focused on improving individual LinkedIn skills. While this is a good start for entrepreneurs and small businesses, larger corporations should consider three additional elements to get the most out of Social Selling:
- Train Sales Managers. The most important factor in sales training is having the support of front-line sales managers. They are the people who will reinforce new behaviors on a regular basis. Sales management ownership is necessary to achieve the maximum results from Social Selling. Since most of today’s sales managers did not come up selling during the social era, they need to be trained on how to coach sales reps on social profiles, social networking, social prospecting, and social content sharing.
- Leverage Team Dynamics. Leaning a new skill as part of a group offers advantages over learning it as an individual. Best Practices can be identified and then shared with everyone else. Group training also is a ripe environment for stoking the natural competitive spirits of sales teams. My company’s training programs include a number of contests to recognize accomplishments and reward things like Best Profiles, Most Appointments from Social Activity, and Best Social Success Story. Salespeople like to be at the top of the leader board, so why not use it to an advantage?
- Involve Marketing. Half of social selling is about prospecting to find customers and half is about sharing content to attract customers. Sharing content is a marketing-oriented activity that is a new skill for corporate salespeople. Since Marketing understands attracting prospects with content, Marketing should supply sales people with content, provide coaching on how to add personal comments, and measure the impact of sales shared content. Corporate salespeople cannot be expected to track results and analyze metrics. Their only responsibilities are to grow their network and share the content. Marketing’s contribution is supplying the content and measuring the results in order to refine the process and increase the social footprint of the corporation.
Corporations that implement these additional steps are getting the biggest returns from Social Selling initiatives. If you’d like to find out how advanced Social Selling skills could benefit your company, contact [email protected]
Photo Cred: Esther Simpson