3 Ideas Sales Managers Can Use to Instill a Social Selling Culture

Learn how Microsoft became an industry leader in social selling by focusing its measurement, accountability, and enablement on the Social Selling Index.

October 21, 2015

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As a sophisticated sales manager, you know what it takes to motivate your team. Most likely, you recognize and reward top performers who meet objectives that align with team and company goals.

When you make the switch to a social selling model, the same tactics apply. Give recognition to the people who are meeting social selling objectives, and the team members who lag behind will be motivated to get on board.

Becoming a social selling organization is a major transition. So it’s important to continually communicate the potential impact of doing it right. Eventually, you can use metrics like the Social Selling Index (SSI) to quantify the process. At the outset, though, there are easy ways to hold your team accountable while reinforcing the importance of incorporating social selling into their daily workflow. These three tactics are based on LinkedIn Sales Solutions’ own best practices, and have proven successful for our sales teams. Feel free to tweak them and make them your own.

Host a “Sales Social Hour”

It may sound like an after-work gathering for cocktails and appetizers, but our social hour is all business. It’s a dedicated hour of work per day (or week, to ease your team into the practice) in which the entire team is devoted to social selling activities.

You can encourage your team to focus on the opportunities identified in our recent “Step up Your SSI” series of posts:

  1. Establishing a Professional Brand
  2. Finding the Right People
  3. Engaging with Insights
  4. Building Strong Relationships

The social hour will not only help with social selling adoption, it will help your team raise their SSI scores. That will position them to succeed as you transition to using SSI as a key performance indicator.

Initiate “Profile Month”

A completed, professional, compelling LinkedIn Profile is the foundation of successful social selling. You can encourage your team to make their profile a destination for prospective clients with a “Profile Month” promotion.

Assign a certain month in which everyone is expected to update their profile. You can share resources with the team to make sure they know how to get results. The LinkedIn Sales Solutions Blog has a wealth of material to help your team get rid of resume-style language and turn their LinkedIn Profile into a personal branded microsite. This SlideShare from LinkedIn’s Koka Sexton is a good starting point:

Celebrate “Network November”

One of the most important assets of a social selling superstar is a strategically-built professional network. Top performers use their networks to engineer warm introductions, map buying committees, and generate referrals.

Network November is a way to keep network-building top of mind for your team, making a habit of forming the connections that will help them get ahead. Encourage your team to build out their connections:

  • With the rest of the team
  • With their email contacts list
  • With existing clients
  • Through LinkedIn Groups activity

Encourage your top sellers to share success stories to really drive the point home, and give prizes to the most impressive networking tales. The team member who scheduled a meeting with a seemingly-unreachable CEO through a connection she made on LinkedIn Groups can be a powerful motivator for the rest of your team.

Building a social selling culture requires change, and it’s natural for some of your team to be slow to adapt. You can help build the enthusiasm that leads to lasting change with these three sales management tactics. Encourage your team to dedicate time to social media, make their profiles sparkle, and build out their networks, and you will be well on your way to creating a social selling organization.

For more advice on driving a social selling transformation at your company, download our eBook, The Sales Manager’s Guide to Driving Social Media Adoption and Revenue.

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