Blog

by Josh Druck
on February 24, 2015

Why Sales Enablement is the Key to Social Selling

Like it or not, your B2B salespeople are using social networks.

Sales professionals know that social networking helps them cultivate 1-1 relationships with their clients and build the credible reputation they need to inspire confidence in potential clients.

Reps see that social selling is the logical enhancement to existing sales practices. According to research by Aberdeen Group, 64% of social sellers hit quota, as opposed to the 48% that do not. So we weren’t surprised when, in our Social Selling Survey, 73% of sales reps said they see the value in social selling.

The problem is that this excitement doesn’t always translate into action. Even though the majority of reps find value in social, less than a third reported using social in their sales process.

This is weird, right? Sales reps recognize the influence social can have over their sales numbers. But for some reason, this doesn’t translate into actually using social for selling.

So, if your reps recognize social selling’s benefits, why are only a third of them actually using it? The answer, it turns out, is quite simple.

They don’t know how.

Only one in four reps reported knowing how to integrate social into their sales process.

This makes sense. Like every sales technique, social selling is a skill that needs to be learned, practiced, and perfected. Reps may know that an optimized LinkedIn profile can boost quota, but what does an optimized profile look like? Reps know they should engage potential clients on Twitter, but how do they do that? So long as your reps don’t know how to integrate social into sales, they won’t. Or, really, they can’t.

The story gets even more interesting. Some of the reps we surveyed are using social networks to sell. These reps were the most enthusiastic about social selling, the ones integrating social into their sales process, and the ones seeing a real relationship between social efforts and quota. What’s the difference between this group of rockstar social sales reps and everyone else?

Sales Enablement is the difference.

The most influential variable in our data was enterprise-level social selling enablement. Whereas sales reps’ enthusiasm about social selling did not have an effect on their integration of social into their sales processes, sales enablement did.

When companies do not provide social selling enablement, 67% of reps find value in social selling. When companies do, that percentage jumps to a whopping 96% of sales reps. And reps are not only more excited, they’re using social selling more. A lot more.

Remember when I said less than a third of reps use social in their sales process? Well, when we look at reps whose company enables social selling, 74% of them integrate sales into their process.

Companies support their sales team’s efforts on social, by giving them the integrated tools they’re looking for. The same reps who already love social learn what to do and how. And before you know it, you’re seeing 10-15% growth in top-line revenue.

So the answer to our question is clear. Why aren’t more salespeople using social?

Their companies don’t enable it.

Despite the value reps see in social selling, and the tangible effect it has on sales, only 22% of respondents claimed their companies encourage social selling. And once these salespeople have the tools to integrate social into selling, they see real results.

Want more? See all of the Social Selling Survey results here.