6 Questions Every VP of Sales Has about Social Selling
Without an executive champion, your social selling program won’t make it very far. Gaining the support of an executive will boost your program’s visibility and reputation within your company. Plus, executives will be better able to communicate the importance of your program to the rest of the organization.
In sum, recruiting an executive champion is one of the best things you can do for your social sales program. And who better to champion your sales program than the VP of Sales? After all, the VP of Sales is responsible for sales growth and developing their teams. To help you sway the opinion of your VP of Sales, we’ve compiled a list of FAQs about social selling. We hope that they help you gain executive buy-in.
Q1: What is social selling?
There’s a lot of talk about social selling, and your sales leadership might have preconceived notions about what social selling is. To get everyone on the same page, make sure you have a definition. Here’s one you can use:
Social selling is when salespeople use social networks to build relationships with the end goal of selling more. Typically, this involves supplying and discussing content, which generates leads and opportunities, drives revenue, and increases customer lifetime value.
Q2: Will social selling generate revenue?
The short answer: Yes, social selling generates revenue. Sales teams that leverage social networks tend to outperform their peers.
The longer answer: According to LinkedIn’s research, social selling leaders have 45% more opportunities per quarter than social selling laggards. And according to Sales Benchmark Index, social sellers reach 66% greater quota attainment than those using traditional prospecting methods.
Before you launch your social selling program, do some research and find some great industry stats that will help tip the scales in your favor. Here are two resources that might help:
Q3: Will this take time away from selling?
Social selling shouldn’t take time away from selling for two reasons. First, using social networks shouldn’t occupy a sale rep’s entire day. Rather, it should take a few minutes every day, leaving plenty of time for other sales activities.
Second, social selling is selling. To be sure, a sales rep is not going to close a deal on LinkedIn or Twitter. However, the use of social networks is one of the best sales tactics. In fact, social selling separates the top reps from everyone else:
The CEB interviewed over 1,000 sales reps, and they found that the best sales reps use social media to:
- Connect with potential customers
- Share points of view valuable to customers
- Generate leads
In other words, social sellers aren’t just chatting with their buddies on Facebook. They are using social networks to add value and move deals forward. That’s an important distinction that you need to convey to your sales leaders.
Q4: How many resources do we need?
A VP of Sales is likely to be interested in how implementing a social selling program will impact the department’s structure. Will you need to hire more sales development reps, account executives, sales enablement professionals, or sales managers?
Generally speaking, there are 8 roles that you need to fill, and most of them can be filled by your current staff:
- An executive sponsor
- A project manager
- A content creator
- A content curator
- Social listeners
- Social sellers
- Metrics and analytics
- Your vendor’s customer service
In addition to discussing your personnel, highlight your plans for technological support. Note that a good social selling platform will help streamline the process. A user-friendly platform will make it easy to train your reps, get everyone up to speed quickly, and ensure that best practices are being followed. As a result, each sales rep will be more productive, decreasing the need to hire more sales reps to hit your revenue goals.
Q5: How will this complement our existing sales playbook?
Creating best practices is one of the most difficult tasks of a sales leader. So, many VPs of Sales will be scared to throw out their old playbook. There’s good news, though! Sales teams don’t need to discard their old playbooks. Instead, they should think of social selling as a way to augment their sales process.
If you’re struggling to imagine how social selling can enhance your current playbook, don’t worry. We have a few resources to help you:
Q6: What is our change management plan?
One of the biggest obstacles to change can be the team itself. It can be hard to introduce new best practices and new technologies that disrupt the current status quo, even if the new best practices and new technologies will eventually improve the sales process. So, before you pitch social selling to your VP of Sales, come up with a change management plan.
For example, you’ll want to have answers to questions like the following:
- What are our business objectives and how are they connected to social selling?
- What is our roadmap for implementation?
- What are our KPIs?
- How will we introduce social selling and social selling technology to our team?
- Do we need a governance board?
- When will we start executing on our plan?
- How will we optimize our program?
Over to You
Convincing your VP of Sales to see the benefits of social selling is a pivotal moment. Every sales organization is slightly different, and every sales leader has a unique perspective. To sway opinion, you need to understand the unique pain points of your organization. Overall, these questions should help point you in the right direction and enable to argue for the importance of social selling from many different perspectives.