By Glenn Hollister, Principal, ZS
Many sales organizations now are engaged in some form of social selling, and as my colleagues and I have written and spoken about this topic over the past several years, one of the common questions raised by sales leaders is, “How should we get started?” To understand how to answer this question, it’s appropriate to gain some context and gather some data.
In a 2016 survey that ZS conducted with 125 sales leaders, we found that 85% of sales teams across all industries are using some form of social selling. At HSMAI's Hotel Chief Sales Officer Executive Roundtable I asked a group of hotel sales leaders this question, and all said they are using social selling in some way. These findings are not surprising, since social selling has generated a lot of buzz.
However, only 24% of the companies in our 2016 that responded indicated that social selling is “widely adopted and a formal part of the sales process,” and another 20% indicated that social selling is often used but isn’t part of the formal selling process. Responses from the HSMAI group were right in line with these numbers. Why is it that, after all of the buzz and investment in social selling tools, most companies don’t have a formal program? Is social selling just a fad?
While there has been tremendous buzz and companies say that they’re using social selling, our research found that very few companies are making social selling an integral part of their sales approach.
To help sales leaders get started, and to help them develop a programmatic approach to drive consistent social selling capabilities and lift the productivity of their sales force, ZS has developed a framework to develop and assess capabilities in social selling, with the following building blocks:
- Branding: Use social media to establish and advocate for a sales rep’s expertise, reputation and credibility in the market.
- Listening: Drive market, competitive, customer (organizational and individual) and opportunity-level insights by proactively monitoring digital media channels.
- Organization: Build the sales team through organizational design and hiring processes to most effectively integrate social selling.
- Collaboration: Boost the sharing of internal best practices, as well as deal collaboration and the dissemination of content through digital environments.
- KPIs: Drive and reward desired social selling behaviors by defining and tracking measurable performance metrics.
- Selling journey: Enable your sales teams to use social networks to actively engage current and prospective customers during the buying and selling journey.
By incorporating these building blocks, companies will be better equipped to make social selling an integral part of their sales approach, which will help improve efficiency and drive better overall sales results.
Glenn Hollister leads ZS's Travel & Transportation practice. Access more ZS insights.
HSMAI brings together Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Digital Marketing Officers, Chief Sales Officers, Chief Revenue Officers, and Hotel Management Company Sales & Marketing Executives through the year.