Preparing to Build Your Business Case for Social Selling

All sales teams strive to acquire new customers and increase customer lifetime value. Social selling can help you achieve those goals. However, before you can create a social selling program and implement a platform, you need to get executives on board.

Part of that process involves building a business case for social selling. That means stringing together an argument and demonstrating how social sales will help your company achieve its goals. Here are the basic steps that you will take to develop your argument.

The Past and Present: How Did Your Sales Team Get Where It Is?

When you start your business case, think about the current state of affairs. How is your sales team currently selling? How did the organization arrive at this strategy? To move your sales team forward, you have to understand where you are right now. Take the time to interview key stakeholders and look at the tools and processes in place with a critical eye. Here are a few questions you might want to ask:

The Company at Large:

  • Are you currently using social in your company? For example, is your marketing department using social?
  • How are those departments using it?
  • Who are they key stakeholders and what have they learned? (They can help guide you as you plan your program.)

The Sales Team:

  • How is your sales team performing? Is there room for improvement?
  • What tactics are your sales reps using? Which ones are working? Which ones aren’t?
  • Is your sales team currently using social? If so, how?

The Future: Where Do You Want Your Sales Team to Go?

Now that you understand your sales team’s past and present, it’s time to think about where you want the team to go. This is an opportunity to show how social selling will help not just your sales team, but the company at large. As you look to the future, ask yourself:

Questions Related to the Overall Program:

  • What is the problem that social selling can help the sales team overcome? For example, are you missing revenue targets?
  • Why will social selling help us overcome that problem?
  • How will this project support our business strategy?
  • What are the financial and non-financial benefits of this program?
  • What are the goals for our social selling program?

Questions Related to the Sales Reps:

  • What problems do the sales reps face, and how will social selling help them solve those problems?
  • What are the benefits of social selling?
  • How will reps fit social selling into their existing routines?
  • What should reps’ personal goals be?

Getting from Point A to Point B

Now that you understand where you are and where you want to go, it is time to document the steps that will get you where you want to go. It doesn’t need to be a detailed Gantt chart at this point, but you should have a high level overview of how the project will take shape. This gives stakeholders an idea of how they can help.

Things to consider:

  • What roles do you need to fill?
  • What risks are involved in this project, and what plans are in place to mitigate risk?
  • How will you purchase technology?
  • How will you ensure successful participation in the program?
  • How will you introduce new technology to the sales team?
  • How will you train your employees?
  • What is your timeline for launching your program?

Quick tip

As you think about your timeline, create a 30-, 60-, 90-day plan for launch. For example, the training portion of your program might look something like this:

  • In 30 days, we will launch sales training.
  • In 60 days, we will ensure that all of our sales reps are trained in social selling best practices and on our social selling platform.
  • In 90 days, we will establish a process for capturing and sharing social selling success stories internally.

Return on Investment

A key part of your business case is the return on investment. The good news is that the ROI of social selling can be quantified into dollars, which makes it much easier for management to approve your project. After all, it’s difficult to argue with hard numbers.

So, take the time to do some research and find some great industry stats on social selling that will help tip the scales in your favor. Look for information that demonstrates the ROI of social selling – for instance, how it can improve sales opportunities and reps’ quota attainment. For example, according to LinkedIn’s data, top social sellers create 45% more opportunities per quarter.

Need more stats or help building your business case? Check out this resource:

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