3 Real World Strategies Companies Are Using to Make Social Selling Stick
Find out how executive buy-in, sales and marketing alignment, and thorough training led to successful social selling adoption in these inspiring case studies.
July 23, 2015
As a sales leader, you have most likely heard some amazing success stories from organizations who have adopted social selling. In industries from consumer goods to enterprise-level software, organizations who make a fundamental shift to a social selling mindset see increased quality of leads, shorter sales cycles, and ultimately more revenue. In the meantime, traditional sales tactics like cold calling are becoming less and less effective. If you’ve been thinking about moving your team to social selling, there’s no better time than now.
A social selling initiative works best when it’s integrated into the DNA of your sales and marketing department, rather than applied to the top of what your sales reps are already doing. Without a shift to the social selling mindset, your reps will end up using the same old sales tactics on a different platform—cold email instead of cold calls.
To help you transition your team and make it stick, we’ve rounded up three proven strategies from organizations who have seen incredible growth as a result of their social selling initiatives. Let these three examples inspire you to adopt a social selling paradigm that will serve your sales team for years to come.
Comunycarse: Align Sales and Marketing
Before their transformation, Spanish telecommunications company Comunycarse suffered from a severe case of sales and marketing misalignment. Their lead generation strategy was to buy into marketing databases and make cold calls—a frustrating, low-yield effort that led to tension between the two departments as they argued about what constituted a good lead and how best to follow up.
Comunycarse started from the ground up, organizing the entire sales and marketing teams around social selling on LinkedIn. With common goals, KPIs, and a shared definition of a good lead, marketing was able to more effectively use LinkedIn to generate leads for sales. Sales was able to more effectively follow up with a smaller set of better quality leads instead of spending hours cold-calling.
The result of Comunycarse’s social selling initiative: improved employee morale, more opportunities for sales, and a 20% improvement in conversion rate.
The takeaway: align sales and marketing along social selling principles as the foundation of your initiative.
PGi: Start with Star Performers
Web conferencing software company PGi helps companies around the world connect and collaborate with audio, web, and video conferencing solutions. PGi turned to social selling to help their sales teams find and connect with leads, and map accounts to identify buying committees.
To kick off their social selling initiative, PGi invested in Sales Navigator licenses for their top acquisition-focused salespeople who were motivated to get the most out of the platform. Once the rest of the team saw the success of the pilot program, they were enthusiastic about adopting Sales Navigator themselves.
Thanks to their strategic rollout, PGi saw a 22x return on their investment in LinkedIn Sales Navigator, with $900,000 in revenue directly attributable to LinkedIn.
The takeaway: Start your social selling transformation with the experienced salespeople who are likely to see immediate results. Let them inspire and mentor the rest of the sales team.
Guardian: Train the Team for Success
Guardian Life Insurance of America was experiencing high turnover rates with the independent agents who sell their policies. The agents had trouble building a book of business, which led to burnout after a year or two on the job. Guardian decided to implement LinkedIn Sales Navigator as part of their social selling initiative, to help their agents find the right people to engage.
When they rolled out Sales Navigator, Guardian took advantage of the training LinkedIn provided, helping make the transition smooth and maximizing the sales reps’ engagement with the platform. LinkedIn’s training enabled the agents to see results quickly, which helped form a lasting commitment to social selling.
Guardian saw a 56% growth in connections, and a total of $21 million in life insurance is attributable to their social selling efforts.
The takeaway: Provide thorough training for your sales team to set them up for early success and stoke their enthusiasm.
Making the switch to social selling is a big change for most organizations. To be the most successful, it needs to be a structural change, not just a cosmetic one. You can maximize your team’s success potential by following the examples above: Make sure the change is organization-wide, across sales and marketing; let your executives lead the charge to ensure the sales team gets on board; and provide training to support your team’s efforts. When your organization makes the social selling transformation, it will be equipped to survive and thrive.
For more tips and advice on switching your team to social selling, download The Ultimate Guide: Getting Started with Social Selling.