by Peter Strid
on December 7, 2015

Sales Training? Social Selling Better Be On The Agenda

I’m not talking about a 15 minute breakout session for LinkedIn head-shot pictures or announcing, “We’ve decided we want you to all start sharing content!” Trying to get a busy enterprise sales professional or consulting firm partner to share content to their non-existent twitter handle…good luck.

Adding social selling into the sales workflow and cadence without showing them the money is not going to happen. Do you know how many sales reps think, “Social Media is The Devil?” I can tell you firsthand–a lot.

Start by explaining to them that you understand that their job is difficult, now harder than ever in fact. We oftentimes refer to this new landscape as “The New Buyer’s Journey.” People smarter than me have uncovered the stats to back this up:

  • 8 dials to get a decision maker on the phone. (TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group)
  • 5.4 decision makers involved in the enterprise purchase decision. That’s 43 dials by the way. (CEB)
  • 60% of decision has already been made before they come to you. Once they finally do get face time, their buyer has already made up their mind 60% of the way. (CEB)

It is key that you outline these hurdles for them. Help them understand that they need to build credibility faster with their buyer. If the buyers are researching your product online and through social (AND THEY ARE. 84% of B2B buyers use social media (IDC) to influence buying decisions) you need to show the reps that they have an opportunity to inject themselves into the conversation so they find the opportunity to influence the buyer earlier and shape the outcome of the decision. Become part of the buyer’s 60% process and not an afterthought!

Give them comfort in knowing that the c-suite recognizes these challenges and has taken steps to invest in giving them a competitive advantage through social education, coaching, tools, etc. The c-suite must understand, “buy into,” and support this strategy. You cannot and should not expect success if you don’t invest. Having one Jr. level marketing resource trying to implement a process is a surefire way to fail or at least expose an uphill climb.

And a very important consideration: Make sure you embed any process into the existing workflow. We all know how difficult “change management” can be. If you layer social into the existing workflow and the sales professionals can see that it actually improves their efficiency, they will get hooked.

To summarize:

  • Announce and endorse it from the c-suite.
  • Embrace the “New Buyer Journey” and identify hurdles.
  • Build credibility and show them success stories. Sell them on social with examples on an ongoing basis.
  • Hold their hands and simplify it for them. They have enough on their plate. Make this easy for them.
  • Embed the new process into an existing workflow.
  • Partner with an organization that has done this over and over again.

If you’re is looking for ways to move the needle on sales performance in ’16, register for our upcoming webinar: How to Monetize LinkedIn for Social Selling.

Check out our eBook (partnered with HubSpot) on How to Mobilize Your Team on Social. Also, if you’re interested in seeing more stats on social selling, check out the results from our State of Social Selling Survey by downloading our white paper here.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.

PeopleLinx has joined FRONTLINE Selling! Click here for the press release.