5 Reasons Why Your Social Selling Program Is Failing

Marketers and thought leaders make social selling sound far too easy, don’t they?

Wiggle your nose. Snap your fingers. Give your salespeople a LinkedIn account, and voilà! Your salespeople and your company will have be swimming in revenue.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Effective social selling requires more than signing your salespeople up for LinkedIn or Twitter accounts. It requires thought and planning. If you’re struggling to see results from social selling, here are five things you should consider.

1. You Don’t Have Objectives in Place

There are so many clichés to describe this problem. “Don’t put the cart before the horse.” “You’ve got to walk before you run.”

Though planning and setting goals may seem like common sense, many companies overlook their objectives. The first step in any social selling program is to understand your objectives. You have to know where you want to go and how quickly you want to get there.

Quick Tip: Limit your focus when you start your program.

It’s easy to want it all – closed deals, pipeline nurturing, prospecting, current customer care, etc. But if you foist all those expectations on your sales team all at once, your salespeople will feel overwhelmed. Choose one area of social selling (say, prospecting), and work on that first.

2. You Forgot to Get Buy-in from Marketing

Even though the word “selling” is in the term, social selling isn’t just for sales teams. You need marketing’s support. Your marketing team can help with the following:

  • Training your sales team on social media best practices – marketers, after all, have learned to master social networks
  • Discovering and providing content that salespeople can share
  • Writing sample messages that your sales team can use

Quick Tip: If you’re stuck, consult these resources:

3. You’ve Made Social Media All about You

The more your salespeople talk about your product and services on social media, the more potential customers ignore them.

It’s time to realize that your customers care about themselves. So, give your customers insights that they want – not a steady stream of product pitches.

4. You Haven’t Invested in Social Selling Technology

Perhaps you decided to duct tape together your own solution. Maybe your marketing team spends their time combing the internet, finding content to share with sales, copying and pasting URLs into a Microsoft Word document, and then e-mailing the file to your sales team.

Sound familiar? Here’s a quick test to give you an idea of what you’re missing. Answer the following questions honestly about your own organization:

  • Can you split your salespeople into teams based on geographic location or products?
  • Can you curate content that is specific to each of those teams?
  • Can your sales team find company-approved content and messages in one location – without having to dig through their email?
  • Can your sales team share content to social media – with a click of the button and without copying and pasting?
  • Can you track and measure your sales team’s social selling activities?
  • Can you measure the revenue contribution of your social selling efforts?
  • Can you do all of these things without wanting to yank your hair out?

No? If you had a social selling solution, you could.

5. Your Sales Leadership Considers Social Media a “Non-Selling” Activity

In 2014, 65% of sales leaders thought that their reps spent too much time on “non-selling” activities.

Typically, “non-selling” activities include items like expense reports and travel. But if you don’t approach social selling the right way, your sales leadership could see social networks as distractions and “non-selling” activities.

How can you avoid this problem?

  1. Build your business case for social selling
  2. Explain the benefits of social selling to your sales executives
  3. Find an executive sponsor to champion your social selling program
  4. Choose a solution that allows you to track and measure your sales representative’s progress

It can be hard to change someone’s mindset. Some sales leaders are stuck in their ways, and they believe in logging cold calls. But armed with the right statistics and some gentle persuasion, you can help foster a culture of social media on your sales team.

How to Find Success with Social Selling

If you want to launch your social selling program, flip through this workbook and learn how to set yourself up for success.

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