Ever have a day when it feels like one more word about social media will make you scream?
Okay, well you need to get over it.
Sure, it’s annoying to deal with the constant barrage of “I-got-a-promotion and I’m-getting-married and my-life-is-better-than-yours,” updates in your personal life but when it comes to selling, social media should be your best friend.
Introducing social selling (the act of gaining leads, referrals and sales through social media) can be challenging for most managers.
That’s because the chances that your whole team has the same level of social media ability and experience is slim to none.
Your challenge (should you choose to accept it…and you should) is to introduce social selling to your team without massively disrupting your normal sales process.
When you have a well-oiled process, you are naturally going to be hesitant to change it. Being an awesome manager, however, means you need to push through that and embrace
1. First, Set Your Sights on The Reps Who Will Excel
Chances are, even though this is your first time actually introducing social selling to your team, there are those who are already doing this.
While you can be a social media all-star at any age, let’s face it, we see more and more millennials excelling.
It’s not ageism, it’s a simple fact.
For those who aren’t yet social media savvy, there are other signs that they will be awesome at it. After all, just because you have a salesperson who is on Facebook 10 hours a day, there is no guarantee this will actually translate into great social selling. Conversely, you can have someone with no experience become your next social rock star.
Some of your most successful social selling reps may simply have a greater handle on customer relations, no matter the medium.
Look for some of the following traits in your team members.
- They take photos to share with clients and create post-sales testimonial videos for later use.
- They share video and interesting content with their followers.
- They maintain great customer relationships.
- They understand the importance of checking in and following up.
- They go above and beyond to keep their customers happy.
- They have mastered the humble way to ask for testimonials.
- Customers like them.
- They remain connected on social media and already communicate with them through channels like LinkedIn.
Once you have identified those key players, you can begin actively training and working with them on how to begin (or improve) their social selling skills.
2. Create Incentives and Rewards for Those Who Embrace It
Most of us meet change with some resistance. It’s natural.
Your job as manager is to make these changes as seamless as possible while mentoring and rewarding those who work hard.
Networking is the foundation of social selling. It’s great if your salespeople already have a network, in fact, most do. If it’s already a network that is established online, wonderful! If not, you have a great place to start from.
When you see your salespeople working diligently to make those connections, reach out appropriately to customers and produce compelling and educational content socially, you need to reward this behavior.
Not only does this help that individual continue down the road toward greatness, but incentives will make the entire team strive for reward as well.
Not sure what to offer? Well, you know your team better than anyone else. What’s worked in the past? (check out our post on motivating your team for more ideas)
Many managers will come up with an incentive based on whoever got the best testimonial video or published the best content that month.
3. Have Your Team Search Their Online Presence
Googling yourself is something I recommend for everyone! It’s also something that your sales team must do.
I’m not talking just about finding the smut associated with their names (if there is any), but just because your sales team hasn’t had a strong social media presence until now doesn’t mean they haven’t been mentioned online.
Typically customers write reviews when one of two things happen. Either they had “the best experience with sales rep Dave,” or “Dave is the worst piece of crap the world has ever seen.”
After all, when was the last time you wrote on Yelp or Facebook Reviews? You probably didn’t go there to give a neutral review.
Having your reps see what’s being said about them socially is a great learning opportunity. Part of social selling is developing relationships. Sometimes this means humbling themselves to help resuscitate relationships that have suffered.
They will also see that having poor customer service is no longer something that can be swept under the rug.
On the other hand, if nothing is being said about them, they have a completely clean slate to start from and you want to encourage them to build a positive online presence that customers can easily find.
The good news here is that motivation to work on this largely comes from the person themselves. We naturally thrive off of praise and steer away from criticism. Their natural tendencies will help them seek out and build a positive online presence.
4. Identify Those Who Need Help and Offer it
Anytime you bring something new into the mix, not everyone is going to catch on at the same rate.
One of your jobs as a manager is to be aware of this and don’t let discouragement make anyone fall too far behind.
The most common stumbling block for your reps will be prospecting. Once a sale happens, social interacting becomes much easier.
Most people learn best by following a great example. Have your team (not only those struggling) subscribe to many different blogs, watch webinars and connect with many different leading sales stars online.
Not only will this help them learn the value of connecting, but it will also help them learn from their peers.
Just a few of my personal favorites include:
And I’m sure you have dozens more to add to the list! Send an email out to your team and encourage them to become more active. Offer time to have meetings, discuss new trends for social prospecting and allow time for brainstorming.
5. Track Monthly Progress
You’re used to tracking metrics each month, so adding social metrics to the mix won’t be too challenging.
You must, of course, learn which metrics are the most important to note.
The folks at Kruse Control utilize and recommend the following:
- Growth of followers/fans
When it comes to honing in on the accomplishments of each salesperson however, their tracking becomes a bit more detailed:
- Worthwhile connections made
- Promising referral partnerships
- Prospects currently in the pipeline
Measuring success not only on the team level, but on the personal level, will help you identify both issues and successes.
6. Devote a Section of Your Sales Meeting to Social Selling
As I mentioned earlier, you want to integrate social selling without totally disrupting your current sales process.
The easiest way to sabotage your current success is devoting an unreasonable amount of time to your new ventures.
You might not have the bandwidth to devote an entire meeting to social selling and lead development, but you certainly have time to devote a portion of your currently scheduled meetings.
This is your time to motivate your team, check in with your goals and note the individual results of your employees.
This is also a great chance to gamify things like getting great testimonials and reigniting sales relationships online. Any chance you have to connect with and motivate your team will result in better effort and certainly an emphasis to enhance the outcome of social selling.