Sales Transformation: Why It Won’t Happen Without Proper Training

Learn how to steer your sales team toward social selling success through proper training, monitoring, and gamification.

July 31, 2016

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Social selling represents the next revolution in sales, and if you’re reading this, you probably already recognize its significance and staying power. But as a sales manager, you likely also know how challenging it can be to get your sales team to adopt social selling practices.

As with any innovative approach, there’s a significant gap—we sometimes call it a “chasm”—between early adopters of social selling and the major who lag behind. The early adopters will reap the greatest rewards, while most sales teams play catch-up just to stay competitive.

By providing a formal education and training program, you can encourage sales reps to make that early leap, leading to greater adoption and performance. From there, you’ll need to ensure continued success across your team through careful monitoring, encouragement, and gamification. If you can accomplish that, you’ll see incredible, measurable results.

Crossing the Chasm: Formal Training and Education

Though it may seem that the sales reps on your team are content with old, non-social sales methods, that stubbornness likely stems from a lack of formal training. In fact, according to data from Forbes, up to 75% of sales reps haven’t received any formal social media training at work. That represents a tremendous opportunity for the typical sales team.

Putting a formal training program in place gives you an opportunity to teach your team about social selling best practices. For example, making personalized connection requests, connecting to multiple decision makers, and joining groups have all been shown to lead to measurable sales results.

Just as importantly, training also allows you to encourage early adoption across your team. You can explain that those who get in early have the greatest chance of gaining a competitive advantage, while those who feel comfortable with the status quo end up lagging behind.

Measuring Your Team’s Progress

Once you have a formal training program in place, you’ll still need to ensure that everyone on your team is selling socially. Fortunately, LinkedIn provides a metric that makes it easy to measure this. You can use LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index, or SSI, to measures each rep’s engagement and track their progress. You can even show your team that reps with higher SSI scores are more likely to exceed their sales quota.

If some of your team members seem disengaged, you can use gamification to tap into their natural competitiveness. For example, track a social activity, such as making new connections on LinkedIn, and provide rewards to the top performers.

Keeping the Cycle Going

Even after you’ve led your sales rep through a training program and encouraged adoption successfully, it’s likely that some of your sales reps will eventually fall back into old habits. They may favor what’s worked for them in the past over innovative social selling approaches.

One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to regularly trumpet the successes of your most social reps. Remain on the lookout for the best adopters, celebrate their wins, and have them mentor the other reps on your team.

You can also prioritize social selling by encouraging your reps to make it a part of their daily routine. They’ll be surprised by the positive results—both in the short and long term—which in turn will encourage them to keep it up.

For more useful tips on sales transformation and training, download our Crossing the Chasm eBook.