5 types of Sales Leaders in social selling. Which type are you?Dec 31, 2022
During the last 3 years of running social selling programs, I have had the opportunity to work with a group of several dozen different sales managers. They represented different companies (mostly technology), different strategies and different approaches to the presence of their teams both online and on LinkedIn.
Hence, I was able to distinguish five main and at the same time the most frequent “types” of sales managers. Who are they and what are their principles? How do they react to changes (including those related to social selling activities)? And how does the boss’s attitude affect the effects of social selling? Let’s find out!
1. HEAD OF SALES — “NO”
All the characteristics of this type of boss can be summed up in one simple word: NO. From their perspective, any change, transformation or even small improvement is: A — unnecessary, B — expensive, C — takes up time, D — just doesn’t make sense.
This approach is characterized by negating the initiative, demotivating other team members, and thus lowering morale.
Social Selling is transformation. The head of sales has the greatest influence on how it is done, so if you have this type of attitude and as an organization you are considering whether to implement a social selling program, I recommend that you stop and work on how to answer the following questions as a preliminary phase:
- To what extent is the sales strategy based on customer acquisition and to what extent is it possible to achieve goals based on the current customer base? If the business needs to acquire customers, the next question will be important:
- To what extent are the current activities of traders achieving the goal of acquiring new customers? Whether and what challenges are traders facing nowadays in traditional customer acquisition methods?
If you see similar challenges on your team, think about how being on LinkedIn can. And if you still do not see nor want to “go this way”, do not start a social selling program. Instead, allocate the budget for other activities.
2. HEAD OF SALES — “NON-PRACTICE”
This is definitely one of the most difficult type of sales managersI have had the opportunity to work with. Their special feature is a lack of open and honest communication. How is it manifested? Let me explain.
Working with such a boss in practice is as follows:
- During meetings, they apparently understand everything (but does not admit to the question marks that appear in their head).
- They are optimistic about ideas and plans, and willingly agree with proposed strategies.
- But when it comes time to implement and identify specific activities at the level of working with a team, things simply don’t happen.
This attitude is also a major threat to ongoing programs. For the team, this is a signal that they can do exactly the same.
3. HEAD OF SALES — “OPEN TO WHY”
This type is curious, open-minded, and distrustful. They realize that this is a direction from which there is no turning back. Yet despite everything, they are constantly looking for data that will make sure that social selling works.
They are quite skeptical about changes at first. But if it is proven that this combination of social media and sales process gives concrete results, they will start to see the potential in it themselves.
4. HEAD OF SALES — “NOT IF, BUT HOW”
They do not look for excuses, they do not postpone anything “for later” and instead of constant negation, they will roll up their sleeves and prove to themselves that social selling has an impact on sales. They begin, test and regularly ask for feedback.
Such a boss is also a constant seeker of knowledge. At the beginning, they ask a lot of questions and need specific guidance (examples include: how to prepare processes, how to talk to the team, how to measure and present the results in discussions with the Management Board). However, once they start to understand everything, working with them is a pleasure.
5. HEAD OF SALES — “COACH”
They are focused on continuous development and broadening horizons — for both themselves and their whole team. They perfectly understand the mechanisms of social selling, and constantly expands their knowledge in this area. They drive and motivate subordinates, while providing them with the space and tools to test new and more advanced processes.
They trie to inspire and set an example, which clearly confirms their activity on LinkedIn. They know how to design, measure and optimize individual activities so that their team becomes better and better.
To sum up, I have good newsEven if you are in group 1 or 2, experience shows me that the maturity of the head of sales in social selling is a process. It is common to go from 1 or 2 to 4 or 5 as you expand your knowledge of changes in customer purchasing processes. But the biggest changes are caused by the perception of connections between the world of customers and the world of sales processes. Therefore, if you are wondering if social selling can help your team, start with an exercise in which you check the potential of your client’s profile on LinkedIn and how many current customers use LinkedIn on a regular basis. I recommend you use the trial version of the LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool. With its help, you can check to what extent your group / customer profile uses LinkedIn.
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