Board Mambers - how to support a social selling program?Apr 28, 2023
In the previous blog post, I talked about the role that Social Selling plays in the company's sales strategy. I also emphasized how important the attitude of the Management Board is during a "digital transformation" of the organisation. (If you want to read about this, you can find it on my blog.)
This entry will be a bit shorter as you will find three practical tips that allow you (as a member of the Management Board) to implement Social Selling activities. And if your organization already uses digital activities, these tips will take you to the next level. Welcome!
What areas should be taken care of from the point of view of the Management Board so that Social Selling activities bring the expected results?
1. Supporting the organization is a mental change
In my experience, I have found that the biggest barrier to implementing Social Selling “as it should be” are beliefs — more specifically, the attitude of salespeople toward promoting sales via social media. Their attitude, in turn, often depends on how Social Selling is perceived at the "top" (i.e., by members of the Management Board as well as other leaders).
Many companies use Social Selling in similar ways. For example:
1) Sale going wrong? Salespeople can connect with customers on LinkedIn.
2) Not enough leads? Salespeople can write more messages to customers (taking advantage of automation).
3) Hasn't worked? Of course not! This Social Selling thing does not work at all!
Social Selling is not simply exchanging phone calls for private messages on LinkedIn. It does not solve the main problem that sales forces face today in terms of customer acquisition — the problem of trust. We don't build trust by mass mailing on LinkedIn. Regular and consistent content publishing is needed as well as participation in discussions important to customers and actively building relationships in the online world. All of this takes time.
As a leader, It is important that you know that Social Selling cannot be tested using a short campaign. Social Selling is part of the digital transformation of sales departments that takes place at various levels in the organization. And It starts with you, the leader! If you do not see the potential and communicate it from the top downward in the organization, it is difficult to expect results from the work of the sales department.
What can you do?
A mental change is needed in the organization and it is the Management Board tha plays the most influential role in this change — a change in which the use of Social Selling (mainly LinkedIn) becomes an integral part of the company's sales and marketing strategy and the activities of employees are even rewarded and strongly supported by the "top".
That is why communication "from" leaders "to" the entire company is so important.
It is important that management and leaders send a clear message that Social Selling is not a game but rather an element of a well-thought-out strategy. It is necessary to inform everyone (from the very beginning) that the organization supports the Social Selling culture so that salespeople have no doubt that public participation on LinkedIn will be badly perceived — neither by colleagues nor (and this is most important) by management.
It is advantageous to allocate an appropriate budget for marketing activities. Content published by salespeople for Social Selling is like fuel for a car. Today, without marketing, it is increasingly difficult to achieve the development goals of the company — that is, to care for a constant flow of new customers.
This is where the role of marketing and its efficient cooperation with the sales department starts. Again, it is important that the Management Board promotes cross-departmental cooperation.
2. Include talks about Social Selling on the agenda of meetings with sales managers.
Despite the fact that the use of Social Selling in Poland is growing rapidly, there are still many people who do not take this action seriously.
It's bad if a handful of salespeople think this way, and it’s worse when the head of the sales department has a similar attitude. Such treatment of Social Selling causes its subordinates to limit their activity, stop developing, and consequently, lose the chance to build a stable and perspective source supporting their sales goals.
What can you do?
Here the matter seems a bit easier. The first step worth implementing is to include Social Selling on the agenda of meetings with sales managers. In this way, you show that Social Selling is important for the Management Board and at the same time send a clear signal that the company's authorities do not treat it as mere fun.
3. A good example is your LinkedIn activity!
The last part that “seals” the above activities as you work to reach your Social Selling potential is … you. More specifically, your actions must be consistent with the position presented above. The change in the way the entire organization thinks and behaves starts at the top. Therefore, set a good example and show that you are with people.
How? Take care of your presence on LinkedIn.
Fill in your LinkedIn profile. Publish your content. (Make things easier here by using a publishing platform that is "powered" by marketing.) Comment on posts by other LinkedIn users. And most of all, take part in discussions that are important from the perspective of your industry. For starters, turn to the marketers, who are usually very eager to provide the support you need in the first steps.
I guarantee that these actions will do much more than any attempt to motivate and persuade with words only.
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