Social Selling Tips of the Week: Hiring Social Sellers

Learn how to identify and hire top performing social sellers that will transform your sales team for 2017.

December 16, 2016

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The quickest path to spurring sales growth often starts with hiring the best salespeople. And without a doubt, today’s top performers are social sellers. Before you overhaul your entire pipeline or redesign your sales playbook, take a look at what can happen when top companies bring in a few veteran social sellers.

Learn the importance of adding social selling skills to your existing team and making social aptitude an important part of your future hiring process. Here are three recent articles that reimagine the role of social in any sales team.

Where You’re From Affects How (Well) You Sell

What if all salespeople aren’t created equal? According to a study in the Harvard Business Review, it turns out that salespeople across the U.S. might sell differently, interact with customers differently, and ultimately perform differently depending on where they're from.

Author, professor, and sales performance expert Steve W. Martin compiled results from over 250 active B2B salespeople in the field across four specific U.S. regions (West, South, Midwest, Northeast). The results to his 43-question survey reveal a few interesting trends.

The Western region held the most top performers (the only region to report exceeding quota), higher overall job satisfaction, and more involved sales mentors than anywhere else in the country. However, the most interesting finding connecting the Western area to higher performance and subsequent job satisfaction was how invested the sales reps were in their clients’ success.

The Western U.S. reported dramatically higher rates of “personal responsibility for client success,” as well as higher instances of “developing close client relationships” than anywhere else. Turns out that buyers appreciate active, invested social engagement. Social selling might be at the heart of another gold rush out West.

Scaling Social Selling: Going Beyond Tech

The buyer’s journey has changed, and today’s sales professionals have to adapt. At LinkedIn Sales Connect 2016, three social selling industry leaders share the role that social selling plays when hiring top talent.

Bryan Caplin, SVP and Head of Sales at Axiom Law, stresses the importance of social experience for sales professionals. “Social experience is something we look for when we hire. We look at our recruits’ LinkedIn profiles. We look to see whom they are connecting with, and if they’re sharing insights on LinkedIn.”

And while recruits’ Social Selling Index Score (SSI) is important, to Caplin, social selling isn’t just about tracking data and connections—it’s about meeting buyer expectations.

“Customers want to do business with sales reps that add value.” According to Caplin, prioritizing social growth leads to success:

Understanding how [recruits] may have used social in their current roles to grow their book of business has become a key part of how we evaluate talent to join the organization.”

Employers are looking for social sellers that add value to buyers through active social listening, shared industry insights, and deep connections.

3 Reasons Your Business Should Care About Social Selling

Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of the concrete reasons sales has shifted towards social selling. In her Hootsuite article, Christina Newberry outlines three essential reasons that business should care about hiring social sellers.

Newberry highlights a study from CSO Insights and Seismic that reports “social selling tools increased the number of leads for 33% of B2B salespeople.” The study goes on to say that “social tools reduced the amount of time spent researching accounts and contacts for 39% B2B salespeople.”

Newberry also stresses buyers’ increasingly social expectations and the fact that your competitors are scooping up social selling savvy talent faster than ever. Hiring social sellers simply makes your sales team more efficient and effective. Turns out “social selling skills” might be slightly more valuable on a resume than “Microsoft Word proficiency.”

All Sellers Are Social

The buyer’s journey is a fundamentally social one. If your sales team isn’t versed in the language of your customers, they simply won’t succeed in finding prospects, connecting with leads, pitching buyers, and creating lasting relationships with customers. Prioritize social selling skills when hiring and hone your sales team into a conversion machine for the new B2B buying landscape.

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