Why Employee Advocacy Initiatives Should Start with Social Selling
Are you trying to empower employees to use social networks to achieve business objectives? It can be tricky. With social business, there are many moving parts – your content strategy, your employees’ motivations, competing company initiatives, and more.
If we could offer companies one piece of advice, it would be this: Focus your efforts on one department, and then expand your program. Spend time thinking about which department needs social the most, and then, develop a social program specifically for that department.
In our experience, the sales organization is the most logical place to start. Let’s take a look at why employee advocacy should start with social selling…
1. Narrow Focus Sets You up for Success
Before we answer the question “Why sales?” let’s dig deeper into the question, “Why focus on one department?”
Think about how various departments use social media. A salesperson may want to use social media for building pipeline, while an HR professional would use social networks for attracting talent to your company. Each department has its own set of goals and objectives.
When you try to activate all your employees all at once, you have too many competing objectives. Your program is spread too thin, and your efforts have little impact. Your sales team will grow frustrated because they aren’t getting the content and training they need to build pipeline. Meanwhile, your HR professionals will feel frustrated because they aren’t equipped with the tools they need to attract top talent.
When social initiatives lack a clear departmental focus, no one ends up adopting your program because the program isn’t tailored to them. To remedy this problem, focus on one department, figure out what works, show results, and then tackle the challenges that another department faces on social.
2. Social Selling Can Be Tied to Revenue
That brings us to the next question: Why start with sales?
In short, sales is your revenue center. When you’re building a business case to empower employees on social media, the link to revenue is essential. Executive teams are far more likely to approve programs that are seen as revenue generators, rather than a cost centers.
Plus, by focusing on sales, your business case writes itself. There are plenty of statisics that tie social selling to revenue. For instance, social sellers realize 66% greater quota attainment than those using traditional selling techniques.
If you’d like more help building your business case, check out this resource.
3. Salespeople Are Used to Customer-Facing Communications
Employees who use social media for work should be well-versed in speaking with customers. Your sales reps are accustomed to this. They send emails to customers. They speak with customers on the phone. They give demos to customers.
You don’t have to teach sales reps how to speak to customers; you just have to teach them how to use a new channel (i.e. social media) to do so. Other departments, which aren’t customer-facing, have steeper learning curves. Not only do they have to learn your messaging; they also have to learn how to use social media. That’s a lot of work.
4. Leads Won’t Slip through the Cracks
Let’s imagine that you have an engineer sharing company-related content on social media, and people are engaging with it. How will the engineer know if someone could be interested in buying your product? And will the engineer know how to route the contact information to your sales organization? It’s probable that potential customers will slip through the cracks.
With social selling, that risk is mitigated. Salespeople know how to look for buying signals. Plus, they own the buyer-seller relationship from start to finish. Contact information does not have to be passed between departments, and as a result, leads are less likely to get lost in the shuffle.
Activating employees on social media can be tricky, but it becomes much more manageable when you focus on one department before expanding into other departments. And as we have shown, your sales team is the most logical place to start.
So, what’s holding you up? Do you need more resources? Here are a few places to start: