Social Selling: A Case for the Specialist Model

Discover why more social selling organizations are adopting the specialist model in favor of the long-entrenched generalist model.

September 5, 2014

social-selling-average-specialist has experienced incredible success using the specialist model. So naturally, they recommend it for the sales organizations they work with.

What is the specialist model?

Let’s start with what the specialist model is not. It’s not the generalist model that most sales organizations are familiar with. In the generalist model, the same sales rep is responsible for the entire, end-to-end sales process. This means that one individual finds leads, qualifies them, secures appointments, advances leads through the various stages of the sales cycle and closes them. Essentially, they do it all – they even deliver customer support in many cases.

The specialist model breaks up tasks based on skill sets and team member preferences. The manner in which these tasks are allotted varies by organization, but it’s common to see dedicated appointment setters, dedicated closers, dedicated account managers and dedicated lead researchers within the specialist model.

A case for specializing

Dr. James Oldroyd partnered with to conduct a research study that compared the two models. The researchers found that the average generalist achieved a 12% closing ratio, while the average specialist achieved a 19% close ratio, a seven percent uptick.

Who are your specialists?

A transition from the generalist model to the specialist model will not happen overnight. All the specifics that need to be addressed are probably making your head spin already.

But it is possible to dip your toe into the specialist pool, so to speak. You probably have a group of sales reps who enjoy prospecting and are thorough in their research however, for one reason or another, deals become mired in their pipeline along the way. These team members are perfect fits for a “business development” team, and would gladly volunteer given the right opportunity and reward structure.

And you probably have another group who doesn’t particularly care for the sales “grunt work” but has a knack for moving deals through the final stages of the pipeline. They, too, might be willing to experiment with a system in which qualified prospects are spoon-fed to them.

If and when your volunteer teams achieve results, you can leverage it as the proof needed to promote broader change. As social selling activities are becoming the rule rather than the exception, the specialist model is making even more sense for organizations.

So the question is, for companies entrenched in the generalist model, is the specialist model worth exploring? Well, what would a closing ratio bump of seven percent mean for your company? Heck, what would a two percent uptick mean?

Learn more about the two models, along with insights that will help you successfully establish the initial connection by downloading our free eBook, “Cold Calling is Dead, Thanks to LinkedIn.”