Where’s your social selling playbook?
Having just finished another 5 ½ hour social selling training session, this time for insurance sales professionals, I reflect upon how I can do better at not just social selling education, but having my attendees actually implement what I teach.
Whenever you are an expert and deeply immersed in a subject, there is a need to, for lack of a better word, “dumb down” that content so that those not as immersed in the subject matter can better understand, internalize, and execute upon it.
At the end of the day, though, there has to be a “crossing of the chasm” when those not in the habit of doing something to actually activate their knowledge and implement your teachings.
Sure, I spoke in my last post about the digital transformation that has yet to come and the fact that the ROI of social selling has already been proven from many perspectives.
While salespeople might understand in their heads the potential ROI of “doing” social media, they need to be assured that social media does not become a time suck. They also need to be assured, being results-oriented sales professionals, that somehow, they can measure their success.
Measuring one’s social selling success will often first come in anecdotes. Take the gentleman in my class today who heeded my advice to go beyond LinkedIn and utilize Facebook as part of his social selling.
After posting something quasi-professional on Facebook during one of our breaks, he was excited that he was able to book an appointment with a prospect for the following day as a result of that post.
Once you begin to see the fruits of your labor on social media, it very much becomes an addicting presence for many sales professionals.
There are other ways to measure your achievements before you hit those anecdotal milestones. If you think of your social media profiles as your professional websites, we can at least measure how many profile views we are getting from our activities.
This can be measured on both LinkedIn and Twitter but not on Facebook, unfortunately.
We can consider this the very top of the funnel. If we make 100 sales calls or send 100 emails, how many results in lead generation?
If we get 100 profile visits, how many of those convert into a lead? Conversion rates will be different for different communication channels and rely on a multitude of factors, but it translates a metric into something that should be familiar to any salesperson.
Of course, LinkedIn has been kind enough to create their own Social Selling Index, which if you follow social selling best practices, should increase as you become a habitual social seller.
But how does one take the education and internalize it as a habit? This is the key to any investment in social selling training.
Enter PDCA Social. It’s not only the name of my social media agency, but the concept of PDCA is something that I apply to all of my social media marketing for my clients and my own brands.
The concept, also known as the Deming Circle after being developed by the “Godfather of Quality Control” Professor Edwards Deming, is extremely applicable to the grand experiment that is social media.
We Plan, we Do, we Check, and then we Act upon our findings in a never-ending circle of kaizen. Marketing has always been data-driven, and when we optimize our marketing efforts according to the PDCA cycle, we should ideally always be getting better results over time – and if we are not, we know what we need to do better.
Brands often do this by creating a playbook as to what their social media activities should be. A playbook might include rules for engaging with others, publishing content, campaigns, and even advertising.
If a playbook can be created for a social media program – especially one that is aligned with the “P” in PDCA being the social media strategy – that playbook can then be tweaked over time to achieve better results in the everchanging spectrum of social media. It also allows brands to both better train employees and potentially outsource the work to external agencies.
I have always been a fan of taking the same approaches that large brands take with their marketing and applying to anyone’s use of social media. In the early days of my social media career, I encouraged job seekers to take the same approach to branding and tools and leverage it for themselves and their own “company.”
Sales is no different. Once salespeople create their own social selling playbook, they can literally both internalize and measure their social selling activities.
Following the playbook also ensures that social media does not become a time suck for them.
What might a sample social selling playbook look like? It could be a combination of the following daily activities where x is a number, y represents a social network, and z represents a strategic keyword:
- Respond to notifications
- Manage new followers/invitations/friends and look for opportunities to expand network or prospect
- Engage with x network updates on y
- Invite/Follow/Friend x potential referral partners on y using z
- Publish x pieces of content on y representing z
- Ask for introductions to x potential clients on y using z
- Research x new targets on y using z
Having a well-defined social selling playbook that is limited to 5 to 15 minutes of activity a day is the key to internalizing social selling training and ultimately organizational social selling ROI.
How far along is your sales organization in your digital transformation?
More importantly, what does YOUR social selling playbook look like?