How We Built Momentum Behind Social Selling and How You Can, Too

March 24, 2015

As anyone working in sales enablement can tell you, behavioural change is always a journey – never just an event. There’s no single action you can take to switch a global sales organisation from old-school techniques to social selling overnight; nothing you can do that will have everyone happily jumping out of their comfort zone in an instant. However, there are many approaches that you can adopt to speed that journey up – and make sure that the vast majority of your people stay on the right track.

At PTC, we have a global sales organisation working across six continents, and if we want to stay ahead we need to push the effectiveness of that organisation. Social selling was a change that we needed to make, and when it comes to making change happen across a big organisation, it’s all about momentum. In just over a year, we’ve gone from salespeople using LinkedIn on an ad-hoc personal basis to a global organisation that’s adopting a common social selling platform and standards. LinkedIn is now a contributing factor to a huge proportion of our business and our pipeline. We achieved this by planning to build and maintain momentum from the start. Here’s how:

Combining scale with regional support

You can’t hope to effect cultural change quickly if you do it piecemeal. We made a conscious decision to roll out Sales Navigator globally from the start and establish quickly that this was foundational to PTC’s social selling strategy.

But crucially, we combined this with a regional support model that had a sales enablement lead for each region working closely with the Divisional Vice Presidents. This regional focus meant that we were able to adjust to cultural differences, supply our salespeople with regionally relevant content and come up with localised development plans. We’re currently focusing on training trainers in several key regions, in their local language, to drive adoption further and provide a better service to the field.

Getting the senior leadership on board

Executive sponsorship has been the secret sauce behind our social selling implementation. You need sales leaders visibly getting behind the initiative – and sometimes you have to be ready to push to make that happen. Our regional roll-out plan makes it easier for a sales enablement leader like myself to sit down with a regional DVP or VP and talk through what we’d like them to do: this might mean upgrading their profile, or posting more content. This hasn’t been difficult, as we’ve found a huge amount of enthusiasm and support from our senior executives for using their authority and leading by example to make social selling happen.

Making it easy to share content

Sharing relevant content is important to building personal brands for our salespeople– and the more support you can provide, the faster it will happen. We use our sales enablement platform “Velocity” to deliver relevant, fresh content for salespeople to share – and ensure that they start influencing the thinking of key decision-makers.

Using SSI as our yardstick

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”

LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) has been fundamental to embedding social selling on a day-to-day basis. It provides you with a framework and measurement of the behaviours you want to drive and encourage, and helps you identify early on where people are on the bell curve: who are the early adopters, and who are the laggards. We’ll congratulate the former and find new ways for them to develop even further– for the latter, we’ve got a tool that shows where they are on the spectrum and therefore what would be the best enablement to drive improvement.

Having a ranking on usage and behaviour for social selling is invaluable and plays right into the competitive nature of salespeople. The competitive instinct is never far from the surface, and nobody wants to be at the bottom! That’s a major advantage when it comes to rolling out new behaviours and you can build momentum that much faster when you are able to integrate gamification into your social selling plans.

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