What Is a Social Selling Playbook, and How Do I Create One?

As more and more salespeople become active on social media, sales leaders need to provide their teams guidance. The best way to do that is by creating a playbook.

A social selling playbook describes how your salespeople should engage with their buyers on social networks. It makes sure that your entire team is consistent, while also guiding them through the sometimes troubled waters of social media.

Below, you’ll find a framework for creating your playbook, including scenarios that may arise and suggested responses that your sales team can use. This framework is not exhaustive. Rather, it’s meant to get you thinking about how you want your salespeople to act on social media.

For example, when should they say silent?

Indicate When Salespeople Shouldn’t Respond

Not every LinkedIn comment or Twitter question needs or merits a response. This is a hard lesson to learn, and it’s one that you should include in your playbook.

For example, you might encourage your salespeople to remain silent when they come across:

  • Generic mentions of the company without any commentary
  • Sarcastic, derogatory, or otherwise mean-spirited remarks
  • Rumors

There may come a time when disgruntled customers or prospects decide to take their frustration out on your salespeople. Knowing when to remain silent will be helpful for your salespeople. So, take the time to figure that out now, before your salespeople start using social networks.

Arm Salespeople with Sample Responses

When creating your playbook, don’t focus solely on what sales reps shouldn’t do. That will make them nervous and scared of social networks. Instead, give them examples of what they should do. That way, they feel empowered.

Questions: It helps to walk your sales reps through sample scenarios. Let’s start with something basic. Let’s say that someone asks your salesperson a product-related question. Here’s a flowchart that you might use.

Comments and Replies: On Twitter and LinkedIn, your salespeople should routinely share great content that positions them as go-to resources. Of course, when they share content effectively, they will receive comments and replies. This flowchart can help them deal with replies and comments:

Competitors: It’s fairly common for people to mention competitors on social media. What should your salespeople do in those situations? The answer to that question varies from organization to organization. Here’s a sample flowchart to get you thinking about your strategy:

For salespeople, the question of competitors will be a big one. Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • If a sales rep’s prospect is tweeting at your competitor, should the sales rep interject or bring it up in conversation?
  • If sales reps run across an article that mentions your competitors without mentioning your company, should the salespeople track down the author?
  • If people are discussing your competitors in a LinkedIn group, should sales reps chime in by mentioning your product?

There’s no right or wrong answer. But here’s a good general rule of thumb: If it would be rude to butt into the conversation in real life, it’s probably rude on social media, as well.

Have a Protocol for Escalation

Every social selling playbook needs to have an escalation process. Your salespeople need to feel like your team will support them in the event that things turn ugly. (They probably won’t, but it’s always best to prepare for the worst.)

You should determine which categories of posts should be escalated and who should be in charge of handling them. Here are a couple times when comments should be escalated:

  • Personal attacks
  • Libellous claims

In those instances, your company’s legal and HR teams should be able to help. In your playbook, include the contact information of the appropriate parties and everyone’s role and responsibilities. Be sure to review the escalation process frequently, especially if employees frequently change roles in your company.

Consider Including an FAQs Section

A lot can go into a social selling playbook, and it’s impossible to include everything. A good playbook should anticipate the most frequently asked questions. For example, you might include:

  • Examples of copy for LinkedIn connection requests
  • How to use social networks in your sales development process – For example, should SDRs “be visible” when they look at someone’s profile? How often should they look at someone’s profile?
  • Buying signals on social media – When should a sales rep introduce the product to someone? And how?

If you don’t know what to include, ask your sales reps. They probably have plenty of questions.

Finally, Keep Your Playbook Updated

Over time, you’ll learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your team, and you’ll have to adapt your playbook. Think of your social selling playbook as a living document. It should be updated on a regular basis because both your team and social media will change.

Trust me, your team will thank you. No wants to follow a social selling playbook that was last updated in 2012.

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