How to Shift an Enterprise to a Social Selling Mindset

For companies to start generating leads and driving revenue through social selling, a fundamental shift must take place. The organization’s culture and mindset must change. For enterprises (and any organization), this can be a challenging prospect for enterprises, given that tradition can trump innovation.

But it can be done! IBM, for instance, has famously made this transition. Below, you’ll find four key insights and recommendations for promoting social sales and changing your company culture.

1. Worry First about Your Organization’s Mindset

To transform your sales team, you need a new mindset, a new skill set, and a new tool set. And the transformation process needs to happen in that order.

Too often, companies try things in reverse. They buy social selling software. Then, they expect their employees to use it. That’s a problem. While a good social selling tool can promote adoption, it’s not a silver bullet.

So, if adoption is lagging at your company and results are inadequate, don’t immediately blame the software. First, ask yourself whether you have changed your team’s mindset.

2. Executives Need to Lead the Charge

McKinsey & Company studied organizations that are embracing digital change, and they concluded that executive buy-in is key. Social and digital change must come from the top. They write:

Indeed, digital and social transformation can’t happen on the margins. It takes deep commitment – from multiple departments.

For social selling to happen, sales, marketing, and sales enablement leaders need to be aligned. Sales leaders need to lead by example. Marketing leaders must support the sales team’s content needs. And sales enablement teams must offer consistent, ongoing training.

If you’re trying to get executive buy-in, here are some resources that can help:

3. Once Your Executive Team Is on Board, It’s Time to Work with Your Sales Team

Once you have your executive team on board, then, you can start transforming your sales team. First, your sales reps need to stop thinking, “I must pitch my product to buyers as quickly as possible.” Instead, sales reps must say, “I must spark relevant sales conversations by providing insights.”

Quick Tip: At this stage, it helps if sellers learn the value of content – both created by the company and created by others. Marketing and sales enablement teams should teach sales reps to use content to start conversations and challenge the status quo.

Second, sales reps needs to stop thinking, “I need to cold call as many people as possible.” Instead, they must think, “I need to become more digitally and socially savvy – like my buyers.”

Quick Tip: As companies support skills transformation, continuous education and training must be available to sellers. Furthermore, success stories need to be widely shared. Skeptical salespeople need to hear that social selling actually works.

Finally, sales reps need to stop thinking, “Can’t we automate this?” Instead, they must think, “Social selling works because of the human-to-human interaction. Software is a trampoline – not a crutch.”

4. Start Small and Create Mini Success Teams

When you’re trying to expand social selling in your organization, you can find success by creating social selling “pockets.” These pockets are small groups of sales reps who have embraced the social selling mindset and skill set.

By starting with a small, dedicated group, you can experiment with social selling, demonstrate success to the skeptics within the organization, and learn early lessons as you prepare to ramp up your social sales efforts.

It’s Time to Change

Before you can start an enterprise-wide social sales program, your company’s mindset must change. As McKinsey & Company’s research has shown, the change must start with your executives. The leadership’s attitude, in turn, will shape the sales team’s attitude.

Of course, changing a company’s mindset does not happen overnight. But don’t delay the change. The sooner you start, the sooner you can use social networks to shape your buyer’s mindset, beat your competitors, and drive more revenue.

Learn More about Changing Your Company

Flip through the ebook that we created with Sales for Life, and learn how to change your executive team’s mindset.

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