What Is Social Selling to the Modern Sales Team?

“What is social selling?” Discover how the answer can help your sales team adopt a personal, consistent, measurable, and transformative social selling mindset.

September 9, 2015


Over the last five years, social selling has gone from a buzzword to a fad to a must-have. Organizations of every size in every vertical have seen the value of using social networking to enhance the sales process.

As more businesses adopt social selling, it’s becoming the new norm. Social selling best practices are rapidly becoming sales best practices. Now is the time for sales leaders to take the initiative and lead their teams to a more profitable paradigm.

To help you make the switch with your team, we analyzed successful social sellers to answer the question: What is social selling to the modern sales team? Here is what we discovered.

It’s Personal

LinkedIn Sales Solutions' formal definition is: “Social selling is leveraging your own professional brand and social network to gather insights and connections, then using that information to help you discover new opportunities, sell, and get business done.”

In other words, social selling starts with each sales professional’s personal brand and online activity. Each salesperson is responsible for making connections, sharing insights, and building relationships.

How Sales Leaders Can Help: Encourage each of your salespeople to build their own brand. Make sure they have completed, optimized LinkedIn Profiles. Partner with the marketing department to provide quality content for your team to share, and encourage them to be active on social media where their potential customers are.

It’s Consistent

Social selling is more than leaving the occasional comment on a prospect’s feed, or doing a quick check on a LinkedIn Company Page before jumping in with a pitch. It’s not about giving the appearance that you’ve done your homework on the prospect.  It’s about using insights you glean from deep research to make connections, build lasting relationships, and continually provide value to prospects and clients.

How Sales Leaders Can Help: Keep an eye on your team’s Social Selling Index (SSI) scores to verify they’re actively engaging with prospects and clients. The SSI measures activity that is proven to get results, based on a survey of high-performing sales professionals.

If your team is on Sales Navigator, encourage them to save leads and accounts, so they can get alerts and follow up swiftly on prospect activity.

It’s Measurable

There’s a common misconception that social selling is composed of “soft” activities that are hard to quantify. In reality, social selling efforts are just as measurable as any other sales activity. Your team is far more likely to be successful if they have concrete goals and KPIs for their social selling efforts.

How Sales Leaders Can Help: Align your performance evaluation to social selling goals, and adopt social selling measurables as KPIs. Top-performing salespeople tend to score high in all six of the following metrics:

  1. Number of connections
  2. Number of personalized connection requests
  3. Connections at key accounts
  4. Number of “get introduced” requests
  5. LinkedIn Group participation
  6. Overall activity: number of likes, shares, and comments

It’s Transformative

The most successful social sellers adopt a new mindset, incorporating it into almost every aspect of their sales routine. Over time, they phase out cold outreach for the most part, in favor of the more efficient prospecting and nurturing that social selling makes possible. This paradigm shift takes time and continued effort to fully realize, so it’s important to keep the team motivated during the transition.

How Sales Leaders Can Help: Identify your social selling superstars, the salespeople who are seeing great results from their efforts. Let them mentor and inspire the laggards on the team, and encourage them to share their best practices with everyone. You can also promote confidence with ongoing training, again looking to your superstars for support.

Social selling is a lot of things, but it isn’t the future of sales. For top sales professionals across industries, it’s the present reality of sales. If you can make your team’s social selling adoption personal, consistent, measurable, and transformative, you can help them achieve amazing results.

To learn more about adopting social selling for your sales team, download The Sales Manager’s Guide to Driving Social Media Adoption and Revenue.