In a recent post, What Exactly is Social Selling? A Simple Definition, Kasey Fleisher Hickey explains social selling in practical terms, and provides dos and don’ts for social selling.
Let’s take this a step further and explore how to move a social selling strategy beyond the sales team. Many companies are having success with social selling programs rolled out to the entire organization, including sales, marketing, customer success, and customer service teams.
Anyone in your organization who interacts with a prospect or customer one-on-one is capable of helping advance your social selling strategy. Here are some tips on how to get your entire organization excited about social selling.
Easy access. Choose a tool to help enable and track the social selling efforts of your entire team. Load content into an easy-to-access library or interface where anyone inside of your organization can easily find it. Don’t assume employees will go to your website, search for applicable blog posts, then share it with prospects. I assure you, they will not.
Be fun. Create individual and team rewards for being top content sharers. Give employees practical tips for how they can think about social selling throughout their day. Easy examples: Add content links in signature files. Create out of office replies that say, “For great content about…” with links to applicable resources.
Create a competition. Traditionally we think of the sales team as being the most competitive bunch in a company, but don’t overlook your customer success team or marketing teams, who are often highly competitive and have their own robust social networks. Anyone who touches a prospect 1:1 should be considered an ambassador for your brand, and therefore can help with your social selling efforts.
Be useful. If your employees feel like they are helping the prospect or customer, they will be more likely to share content. Remember to think about social selling efforts after a prospect becomes a customer, for a consistent customer experience throughout the entire buying cycle.
Pro Tip: Create if/then content guides for support, customer service and sales teams. “If the customer says xx, offer them yy content.” As a marketer, you may think you’re already doing this, but there is nothing more effective than creating a specific table that shows which content addresses which buying objection or customer inquiry.
Repeat as needed. And by “as needed,” I mean “a lot.” Once you’ve created a social selling program, talk about it frequently. Write a plan and share it will all teams in the company. Encourage your CEO and executive leadership to reinforce a social selling mindset. Share it from the mountain tops (and Twitter).
Then repeat. Again and Again. You will likely see early adoption and then periods of waning activity. It’s important to continue refreshing and reinforcing a social selling mindset throughout the entire organization.
Establish social selling as a company priority. Great social selling happens when it’s a company strategy, a marketing strategy, and an employee strategy. Even when the primary focus is to reach prospects and customers, many companies experience a wonderful byproduct of social selling when it helps their recruiting efforts too.
Make an example out of the best social sellers, even if they aren’t a quota-holding seller. Everyone loves recognition, not just the sales team. Reward good behavior, and make an example out of the most prolific and effective social sellers. Keep an eye out for the best social sellers who don’t hold a quota.
Find that customer service representative who is doing great social selling because she believes in your product and/or wants to create helpful customer relationships. These are the best kinds of success stories to highlight within an organization, and what an opportunity to give recognition to an unsung hero.
The impact on your customers when someone shares information to genuinely help them, rather than trying to sell them something, is an amazing karmic power shift where they feel obligated to your company for helping them without asking for something in return. I encourage you to try these tips with your entire organization to extend your social selling strategy beyond the walls of the sales team. I’d love to hear your successes in the comments section.