In speaking to many sales leaders and sales reps (especially outside of Silicon Valley) they were wondering, “Would social selling make a difference to my sales organization and our sales results?” Having been in the “social media / digital world” for a while I found that an interesting question. But often if you are in the mix of something you can’t see what others can’t see. So I did some research on social selling to back up what my gut what was telling me, i.e., “Yes, social selling makes a tremendous difference to a sales organization’s bottomline.”
You might be wondering, what types of statistics are out there around social selling and it’s effectiveness. Here’s a few:
- Sixty-five percent of the most successful sales people who use social media as part of the selling process believe social media is critical to their success
- Studies show 78% of salespeople who use social media outsell their peers
- Research into actual use of social selling has revealed that sales professionals who use social selling are 51% more likely to exceed quota, three times more likely to go to a special sales event for top sellers and get promoted faster*
Why might this be the case? Nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision—researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on—before even having a conversation with a supplier. Sadly, however, 2/3 of firms do not have a social media strategy for their sales organization, even though 80% of the sales people surveyed believe the sales force would be more productive with a greater social media presence.
So I began looking at the critical components of social selling and found that sales managers, despite the few that are very successful, many are unsure how to use social selling. Sixty-eight to 84% of salespeople surveyed feel the sales process is changing faster than sales organization are responding. However, according to the report Powering Profitable Sales Growth: Five Imperatives from the 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study, Accenture and CSO Insights, digital transformation, digital selling, applying digital tools, online and social media to enable digital relationships and drive sales across multiple channels is fast emerging as a primary driver of market differentiation, business growth and profitability.
Here’s some of the reasons sales team leaders and members are not leaving social media and social selling:
1. Sales leaders are not moving their teams to social selling.
2. Sales individuals and teams don’t have online professional brands.
3. Sales and marketing teams are not working together as a united front.
4. Salespeople don’t have the digital proficiency to develop an effective online brand to drive more sales.
Sales leaders must understand how to leverage social selling to advance the relationship between their prospects, potential customers and current customers. In addition, businesses need to learn how to make the most of each individual salesperson’s online brand while keeping the company’s social persona intact. And I will explore more about social selling and solving these issues in the next blog post.
Here’s a link to the snapshot of the report on Social Selling.
VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Service To Create Amazing Customer Experiences
*LinkedIn Research Surveys and Analysis of Using Social Selling Tools Data 2014- 2015