This blog is about how you can get started rolling out social selling across your global or regional business. This is just a summary, after all, how much would you really read if I gave you a 5,000 word document, I doubt any of would read it. So here is a short version.
I've picked 10 areas which I think you should think about and this is based on our practical experience of rolling out global programs.
The burning question we always get asked, how on earth should start such a program?
Start small - Start with a pilot
We always recommend you start your social selling journey with a pilot.
My recommendation is that you run a pilot so make sure you are getting the return on investment (ROI) you would expect. There are many reasons why you wouldn't get the ROI, the people you put on it, the third party you employ, but I get so many companies come to me and say "we did social selling with XYZ company and nothing happened" that my advice is "buyer aware!".
Run a pilot, test the company you are working with and don't be afraid to sack them if it doesn't work. And measure, measure, measure.
So how do you scale up a social selling program?
1. Choose an external partner - You may well have a sales enablement team that will support the program, but I highly recommend getting an outside expert in to help. I also recommend that this external company focuses totally on social selling. There are a number of "full service" marketing agencies and don't forget that "full service agency = jack of all trades and a master of none". If you are looking for pipeline and closed business from social, betting on a company that is used to making brochures might not be the best bet. (We get a lot of marketing agencies contact us to bail them out of such projects).
2. Decide on the people to be trained and coached - We always recommend you ask for volunteers. I've seen programs where people get co-opted onto the program because of rank or because they "need" to be on it. The pilot and the first few sessions get the people that want to be there and the people that will put the time and effort in.
3. Get a social selling methodology - The only way that social selling works is to have a framework, people need to know, if you do this, you do this, you get this. Sales has always been a process and you need to take as much "thinking" away from the sales people activities. We don't want them worrying about what they should be doing next or if they do something will they get into trouble. This also forms a common language. Keep away from the "hints and tips" social selling merchants, that will buy you nothing. When you buy a car, you buy the car, you don't buy the tyres to see how it will go.
4. Training Method - The next thing you need to work out is are you taking your sales people through coaching and mentoring, in a face-to-face mode, to offer a digital path or a hybrid approach. For example, you might train the AEs face-to-face and the SDRs digitally. We are the only social selling company in the world to offer this approach, that is, the same methodology regardless of delivery method.
5. Digital Training - It's worth saying at this point that there is a lot of social selling training out there, but most of it is there to confuse you so you have to buy, face-to-face training. A guru uses the online course as a "bait and switch". The other issue with digital training is that it's single user. We have created a collaborative training platform on the world beating Intrepid platform. Intrepid supports collaborative learning, and we have built the platform to provide a multi-user experience which includes; iteration, practicing and feedback which are all essential within a collaborative learning environment. That means you team lean together, bounce ideas off each other, digital, but a classroom like experience.
6. Scaling quickly - As well as a pilot in parallel, we recommend that you run a SPRINT, for the who organization. In the book called SPRINT by Jake Knapp he talks about "The Design Sprint is how smart teams start big projects." . We run a social selling SPRINT which will enable the whole sales team (not just those on the pilot) to understand the program and to start implementing some processes on social ahead of being coached on a methodology. This is a great way to get everybody involved, communicated to as part of the project and see who are the people that want to "stand up and be counted".
7. C-Suite Strategy - In addition to all this work supporting and enabling your team, in any change program, the C-Suite must be involved. We run a day strategy session, so we can understand your "as is" position" and for you to debate and propose a "to be" position. We do this through normal brainstorming workshop. We also analyze the technical, people and process barriers to you achieving your vision.
8. Different countries are different - One piece of advice, is don't assume that because one country is OK with something, it is acceptable in all the other countries. For example, don't take a US view of the world, for example and roll that out across, Asia, Europe, Australia, South America etc. Cookie cutter doesn't work, you must take into account different country, language and political sensitivities.
9. Measurement and Governance - I have written before (blogs below) about how to measure a social selling program. The great thing about social selling is that everything is transparent, you can measure at any point through a person's development. And of course, we can see and measure who is contributing and who is not.
10. Understand that some people won't make it - In any change program there is a typical bell curve of distribution. And while we do everything to make sure that people get the right coaching, training, for example 10, 20, 70, learning. (It holds that individuals obtain 70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others, and 10 percent from formal educational events). The fact is that some people won't make the transition and you have to decide how best to deal with them.
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