12 questions before starting the social selling program!

analysis audit plan strategy Apr 28, 2023
socialselling program strategy

Where should you implement a Social Selling program in the company?

More and more companies have come to the conclusion that in order to seriously implement a Social Selling strategy, it is not enough to conduct one training with LinkedIn. Implementing Social Selling at your company is a transformational process that should be developed via an official agenda. It requires a conscious start and appropriate development. Additionally, it is impossible to compare one program to another because each organisation is at a different stage of preparation and maturity. Each has different resources. Therefore, it is necessary to analyse the company’s present situation before deciding on changes. And since marketing is usually the initiator of the program, they should be responsible for this initial analysis.

 

What exactly should you analyse?

Social Selling maturity audits that I conduct together with the Monday Group and Adrian Domański (as part of our implemented projects) usually involve 60-80 questions that allow us to look around or get to know the organisation better. Only then are we able to prepare a strategy embedded in organisational realities.

In this article, I share some of the most important questions we ask as part of the Four Pillars of a Social Selling program:

 

I Commitment and buy-in

1.1. What is the purpose of wanting to implement a Social Selling program? Is it customer acquisition, sales development or retention of existing customers?

Most companies focus on acquiring customers, although digital support for activities on the existing database may lead to faster revenue.

1.2. What are the attitudes of the Management Board and the Head of Sales toward Social Selling?

If the attitudes of the Management Board and Heads of Sales are not at a good level (based on meetings or workshops), halt the implementation and prepare a program from the start that is a joint project of the Head of Sales and Marketing.

1.3. What is the salesperson's attitude? Have they used Social Selling in their work in the past and with what effect?

If historically salespeople in your organisation have tried their hand at Social Selling and their opinion is that it does not work, you should specifically define the activities that were performed on LinkedIn. Many times in such a situation, it turns out that salespeople simply exchanged a cold phone call for a cold message on LinkedIn. This was not a Social Selling activity :-)

 

II. Marketing

2.1. To what extent does the company use content marketing today?

Content for Social Selling is like fuel for a car — without preparing the right amount of materials for publishing and developing a permanent content delivery process, the program will not develop.

2.2. What is the relationship between Marketing and Sales? What was the cooperation like historically? What is the definition of a Lead and what is the Sales Team?

If historically there was turbulence in this relationship (i.e., sales received hot leads from marketing, but understood them as scheduled meetings and not contacts obtained from content), disappointment follows. This very often translates into the perception of Marketing as an "underdog" and is basically a result of the different languages used by these departments.

2.3. To what extent does the ideal customer profile on the Sales side correspond to the customer profile on the Marketing side?

If marketing campaigns in social media do not fit into predefined parameters (i.e., number of employees, position level or functions in the company), there is a high risk that salespeople will reject Leads for the same reason. This, in turn, has a negative impact on the perception of marketing activities as supporting trade funnels.

III. Sales

3.1. To what extent do salespeople know the pain points of customers (from the perspective of all members of the purchasing committee)?

Defining all potential members of the purchasing group is the first step in working with Sales Navigator. The second is to define the problems in order for Marketing to prepare content for salespeople who can really support customers.

3.2. Is the company divided into Hunters and Farmers? If not, what do individuals contribute to their targets?

If the goal of the program is to acquire customers and the company has 90% of Farmers on board, there is little chance that they will transform into Hunters in a short time. Under these circumstances, we should think about changing the goals of the program or developing typical, Hunter structures.

3.3. To what extent do salespeople have expert knowledge?

Today, regardless of whether Sales includes Social Selling, they must expand their expert knowledge in order to be a partner for the client. (For example, with technology, it’s not enough for Sales to possess some technological details. They must be skilful at embedding technology in the client's business.) In Social Selling, this increased knowledge is especially important because salespeople build their brands by publishing content and contributing to discussions. We must be divorced from the thinking that only pre-sales functions fill the “treasury of knowledge” for the client.

 

IV. Tools and support

4.1. To what extent is the organisation able to provide salespeople with regular training and consultations?

A Social Selling program is a transformative program based on change. Change happens at the level of attitude, knowledge and skills. Therefore, sales teams need constant access to knowledge, practical tips on using LinkedIn and additional tools such as Sales Navigator. However, what they most need are examples of how to link their sales processes with social activities so that their motivation to change is kept at a healthy and constant level.

4.2. Does the organisation plan to implement a content publishing platform and Sales Navigator licenses?

If the program has more than ten people, it's hard to do without a content publishing platform. On this platform, Marketing regularly prepares content for salespeople as well as the entire organisation if the program goes beyond Social Selling and is an Employee Advocacy program). The platform is not only a bridge to a new digital world, but also an important learning step for salespeople so that they can produce content in the future.

Working with Sales Navigator is a great asset to salespeople (who in many cases treat the tool as a social CRM), especially if the company's customers are large organisations with large purchasing committees. Be sure to check whether the organisation has an appropriate budget in this area.

4.3. Is the organisation starting with a pilot program? If so, when and how will they know if it worked?

With marketers and sales managers, you must determine which parameters of the program they will study. There are three groups of parameters that can answer “Was the program pilot successful?” These are: 1) feedback from salespeople (survey before and after the pilot); 2) incremental measures (number of people in the contact network, number of interactions with customers, number of publications); 3) the pipeline (impact of Social Selling activities on the value of sales opportunities, duration of the opportunity, number and value of closed occasions).

The above questions are examples of the analysed elements that are part the Social Selling puzzle. With these elements, the company can develop a strategy for the first stage of the Social Selling B2B program.

Don't take off without this basic calibration! :-)

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