Disclosure: SAP sponsors the Social Business Engine podcast but is in no way affiliated with Business 2 Community

Social selling training is a key part of any modern, successful sales force. The team at SAP recognizes this fact and has put together a world-class social selling training program for their sales teams across the globe. The theme of this episode, number four in our series, “Savvy Social Selling, the SAP Way” is Social Selling Training & Enablement. Bernie speaks with SAP team members, Marco Cai – Global Head of Social Enablement & Training, Marco Argaez – Global Channel Marketing Director and Sales Enabler, Charrelle Robinson-Brown – Head of Global e-Learning & Gamification for Social Selling, and Phil Lurie – VP of Sales Technology.

How The Importance Of Social Selling Is Communicated In SAP’S Training

The SAP sales training team recognizes that there are many sales professionals who don’t understand the concept of social selling. As a result, they likely don’t understand how important or how effective social selling has become. For that reason, a training emphasis is placed on the importance of social selling.

At SAP, social selling training is not talked about in a generic way, it’s tied to the specific situations the team members being trained are dealing with. This focus on relevance makes the importance and specific implementation of social selling come alive.

There’s also an emphasis on the facts about the effectiveness of social selling. Trainees are shown how both markets and customers have changed through an ingenious exercise – they are encouraged to look at the way they typically buy, as consumers themselves. When they recognize how technologies like social media influence their own buyer’s journey, they are better able to see how their own sales practices need to change in order to effectively reach and help their customers.

How SAPs Social Selling Training Encourages Behavior Change

There are many ways that SAPs sales trainers empower and encourage social selling behaviors within the SAP sales teams. First, trainers help trainees understand the goals of social selling. Next, it’s vital that they are taught how to update their own social profiles professionally. Trainees are equipped to develop a professional personal brand, are provided social advocacy tools and are shown how to use search engines to find customers and build their personal networks.

But SAPs social selling training isn’t only focused on salespeople. Managers are trained to understand the proper role of social selling in the overall sales process. They coach their teams to use social selling as an important tool, but not to neglect the traditional social skills and sales approaches that establish and nurture good customer relationships.

How Long Does It Take For A Novice Social Seller To Become Proficient?

Naturally, even among SAPs sales team, the answer to this question depends on the person, their role, and their background in sales. But generally speaking, it takes 3 to 6 months for a person who is entirely new to social selling to learn the right approach and best practices that enable social selling success.

A key ingredient to successful training is that the trainers recognize the different learning approaches that are typical of the generations within the sales force. For example, Millennials often understand social selling and learn it faster, while those from previous generations are more reticent at first, but once they are convinced of the impact social selling can have on their pipeline, they adapt to social selling very well.

It’s also interesting to point out that salespeople who self-initiate social selling training experience a “deeper” learning of the concepts than some who are required to take the training. Self-initiators already recognize the benefits that social selling can provide to their own sales success and are motivated to learn and apply it to their sales approach.

Hear the details of how SAPs sales trainers equip their teams toward success at social selling, on this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:50] How do you convince your sales team of the importance of social selling?
  • [6:24] What steps do you take to encourage behavior change toward social selling?
  • [9:16] How do you maintain momentum among those trained for social selling?
  • [13:28] Taking the beginning social seller to proficiency
  • [20:16] Dealing with the resistance to the idea of social selling
  • [21:42] How SAP has become one of the top social selling companies in the world