Social Selling: Getting Your Salespeople Onboard

3 Tactics to Get Salespeople to Embrace Social Selling. Today’s technology-enabled buyers do their own research before calling a sales rep. They use blogs, discussion forums, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Facebook to frame business issues, identify options, and evaluate solutions. According to CEB, the average buyer completes nearly 60% of the decision process before contacting anyone in sales.

Great Salespeople look, sound, and act like experts on social media, which can often be a challenge for sales newcomers. PeopleLinx’s State of Social Selling Report found that while 76% of B2B sales reps recognize the value, only 24% of B2B sales professionals feel they know how to use social media for selling. However, when companies offer social sales training to their teams, the number of reps who say they use social networks as part of their sales process jumps from 28% to 74%.

Change requires a program. Whether your company has five, 500, or 5,000 salespeople, you know that changing sales behavior can be a challenge. Continue reading to get three steps that will help you mobilize your sales team on social.

Social Selling


1) Communicate the value of social selling to sales reps.

Social selling is a foreign concept for many salespeople. You are, quite literally, asking them to change the way they work.

Position your social selling program as an employee benefit. You’re helping your team use tools and techniques that will make them better salespeople. You’re helping them make quota.

In particular, communicate three main points:

  1. Social selling is important. Give reps the broader context and help them understand that their world is changing and they need to change with it.
  2. Social selling helps reps make quota. Make it real: Talk about their current sales process and help them envision a world where online social networks are part of that process. Invite high-performing reps to share stories about how they’ve used social to find a lead, get a meeting, or cultivate a relationship.
  3. You’re launching a program. Describe the training and tools that you’ll be providing them, what they can expect, and when.

Deliver these messages at a splashy sales kickoff or in informal lunch-and-learns. Do it in person if everyone is together, or via webinar if your reps are distributed in the field. Whatever the medium, keep your communications short, direct, and to the point.

2) Clean up sales reps’ profiles.

This is your first big opportunity to deliver value to your reps. You’ll help them create personal brands that are genuine, compelling to buyers, and consistent with your company brand.

Start this phase by designing how you want your reps’ social profiles to look. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before training your sales reps on how to make their online profiles even better.

  • Picture: What kinds of profile pictures do you want? Do you want to encourage uniformity or personal expression?
  • Company name: What name do you want reps to use — full name or acronym? Should they include “inc.” or “corp.”?
  • Headline: Is there a standard structure you want employees to use for their LinkedIn headlines? For example, “Account Executive at YourCo”?
  • Industry: What industry categorization should they use? For example, “Software consultant,” “Software sales,” or “Software”?
  • Professional summary: How would you like sales reps to talk about your company in their summaries? Are there images or videos you’d like them to embed?
  • Skills and endorsements: What value does your industry place on skills and endorsements? Some industries love skills and endorsements, while others (e.g., law) prohibit them.

Expert Tip: Bring a professional photographer to internal sales meetings and take headshots to help your salespeople look even more professional on their social profiles.

3) Remind them to connect.

Without connections, your sales reps’ social activity is like the proverbial tree falling in the forest — heard by no one. At the same time, network quality matters more than size. Your reps need to connect with the right people to drive sales.

Tools like LinkedIn and Twitter have auto-recommendation features that will prompt your salespeople to grow their networks. But those automated tools don’t know who your buyers are. Or your channels partners. Or industry influencers. You do.

Remind your salespeople, on an ongoing basis, to use LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with individuals they already know who:

  • Work at companies where you’re trying to develop deeper relationships
  • Have job titles that fit your buyer profile
  • Are talking about topics that indicate interest or buying intent

As your salespeople nurture these high-value connections, encourage them to leverage the connections they’ve made by listening, commenting, and posting original content on social networks.

Expert Tip: Remind and reiterate to your salespeople that LinkedIn works better for deepening existing relationships and Twitter works better for creating new relationships.

What tips do you have for getting salespeople to embrace social selling? Share in the comments.

By PeopleLinx and HubSpot