How to Build a Social Selling Culture in 4 Simple Steps

Social Selling Expert Kurt Shaver

Kurt Shaver

When it comes to building a social selling culture, most companies fall into one of two camps: they either think it’s going to be way harder or way easier than it actually is. Because many sales leaders don’t fully understand this relatively new form of selling, they often dedicate inadequate time and resources to it or refuse to adopt it at all.

But here’s the rub: teams that use social selling techniques attain their quotas at a 31 percent higher rate, according to the Aberdeen Group.

Kurt Shaver, founder of The Sales Foundry, offered four specific steps you can take to create a social selling culture during his session at the Inside Sales Virtual Summit. View his presentation in the video below.

1. Identify key players

Before you can execute a social selling strategy, you need to identify your key players and their roles.

Shaver says you’ll want the following people to participate:

VP of Sales: This initiative will go nowhere without executive support.

VP of Marketing: Content is a pillar of an effective social selling strategy. Sales teams usually aren’t equipped to create content. So, marketing is a key player.

Sales Manager: You’ll need somebody who can keep your sales team excited about your strategy and reinforce the right habits.

Enthusiastic Top Rep: If you want your team to adopt this new initiative, find a successful sales rep who believes in the power of social tools. Let this enthusiastic top rep champion the cause.

Sales Ops: Somebody needs to track your progress and measure results. Make sure sales operations is involved early and often.

Those are the players. Now, let’s dive into the strategy.

2. Define your goals

When you’re defining your goals, the easiest thing to do is to say that you want to increase sales. That’s the ultimate goal, but you need to measure some other metrics to see if you’re making progress first.

Here are some goals you can track:

  • LinkedIn connections accumulated

  • Introductions made and received

  • Posts created

  • Searches conducted

  • Profiles viewed

  • Appointments set

Shaver shared an example of how one of his clients tracked and measured its goals. The company is in the insurance business, so it wanted its salespeople to build up LinkedIn connections who could become referral sources.

LinkedIn identifies connections by industry, which makes it easy for the sales team to see how many attorneys, bankers and CPAs it is adding to its network of connections.

3. Train your team

Just because you have a LinkedIn account doesn’t mean you’re getting maximum value out of it. It’s kind of like a gym membership. You have to actually use it to benefit from it.

The hardest part is maintaining the discipline to do the work on a regular basis. That’s what’s going to drive your results.

Provide training on these four key components of your social selling strategy:

1. How to create a professional profile

2. How to grow your network

3. How to engage others

4. How to use LinkedIn as a prospecting tool

Pro Tip: Set realistic expectations about how long it will take to build a social selling culture. It usually takes 60 to 90 days for your team to adopt the right habits and start seeing results.

4. Make sure managers follow up

How do you manage a social selling initiative after you’ve done the training? The easiest way is to start to add it to your regular sales process.

When you do account reviews with salespeople, ask them questions like these:

  • How many appointments have you set through LinkedIn?

  • Is anybody on our team connected to a high-level decision maker at a company we’re trying to reach?

  • How many prospects shared one of your posts in the past week?

The more you integrate your social selling strategy into your regular interactions and meetings, the more your sales reps will use these tools.

Remember to give your team time to learn and adopt these new techniques. And make sure to measure the results, so you can make adjustments as needed.

Connect with Kurt Shaver on LinkedIn or Google+.

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