Unintended Results of Social Selling Training

Do you want to: Upset and discourage your best sales reps? Reinforce prospecting tactics that have never worked? Encourage reps (who know better) to spam potential buyers? Pay a premium to achieve all of these horrors? If not, then you need social selling training for your sales team.

The Silver Bullet for Driving Sales & Impressions: DATADo you want to:

  • Upset and discourage your best sales reps?
  • Reinforce prospecting tactics that have never, ever worked?
  • Encourage reps (who know better) to spam potential buyers?
  • Put your sellers’ “personal brands” in front of sales outcomes?
  • Pay a premium to achieve all of these horrors?

If not, then you need social selling training for your sales team.

Forget about my opinion. Look around. Social selling (as it’s being practiced) is a waste of time for most sales teams.

Whether you’re new to social selling or using LinkedIn for sales you should know the truth — and make changes to how you measure social selling’s impact.

The Truth About Social Selling Training

I’m not saying LinkedIn isn’t a valuable tool. It is, for some sellers. But for most it’s proving ineffective because of misguided curriculum within social selling training programs.

The lack of productivity isn’t intentional. However, it is avoidable by assessing your reps’ current communications techniques and improving them. Social selling training must help sellers become better conversation-starters.

Most teams will benefit from focusing less on sharing information on LinkedIn — more on plumbing its database for leads the good old-fashioned way.

Effectively, prospecting.

Success is less about farming leads, more about hunting prospects.

Social selling training must help sellers become better interrupters. Better prospectors. Everything else is a waste of precious time.

Why You Must Measure Reps Differently

Whether you’re getting started or considering further investment in social selling training, measuring your team is vital. However, LinkedIn statistics are not enough to determine how effectively sellers are using LinkedIn.

Use of LinkedIn is a nice-to-know. Effectiveness is a must-know.

Effective use of technology is the most difficult part of social selling. Hence, many sales managers settle for less. Don’t. Beware.

LinkedIn itself and social selling gurus are often financially motivated to sell practices that don’t much work.

Here’s proof: Have a look at sellers’ typical social selling activities. An honest look. How’s it going lately? Usually we see…

  • Comments on prospects’ LinkedIn posts going without interaction.
  • Posts of press releases on reps profiles yielding radio silence.
  • Updates (more press releases and regurgitated articles) seeing likes.

It smells a lot like a mass marketing campaign, doesn’t it? Most sellers (even the good ones) are broadcasting: Having a one-way monologue on LinkedIn.

Beware: Assessing your sales team’s LinkedIn Social Selling Index statistics (usage) is not enough to determine how effectively they are using LinkedIn to prospect new business.

Don’t settle for less than sales outcome measures.

A Perfect Storm

Comments, posts of press releases, updates sharing articles… these activities rarely connect to a clear, effective prospecting process. Worse, sellers are being encouraged to act as marketers. And they’re rejecting it.

It’s becoming a perfect storm of productivity loss.

Have a close look. Most social selling training investments aren’t paying off. Because they train reps on marketing tactics rather than prospecting skills.

The result: Sellers (hunters) are becoming in-effective farmers. They’re planting seeds that never sprout.

Because they can’t. Germination is impossible. People aren’t on social media to be sold to. In fact, according to Simon Marley, CEO, of Growth Logik, an increasing number of decision-makers are hiding their true authority on LinkedIn.

Think about that!

Bottom line: The most effective digital / social sellers are focusing less on sharing information on LinkedIn—more on plumbing its database for leads the good old-fashioned way.

Prospecting.

This in mind, here are three questions you should be asking sellers in every pipeline meeting.

  • Why do you invest time on LinkedIn? (at all)
  • How do you invest that time?
  • Would you rather reassign that time? Why or why not?

What do you think?

Picking the Right Social Selling Training: A Cheat Sheet

Social selling training is on the agenda for B-to-B sellers in 2014. Sales reps and dealers are under increasing pressure to speed-up prospecting using LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter and more. But how can you choose the best social selling training or trainer for your organization?

Social selling training is on the agenda for B-to-B sellers in 2014. Sales reps and dealers are under increasing pressure to speed-up prospecting using LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter and more. But how can you choose the best social selling training or trainer for your organization?

Here’s where to start. Follow these steps to make the best decision. Plus, I’ll show you a way to make sure you, personally, benefit in the eyes of your boss.

7 Point Social Selling Checklist

  1. Create selection criteria and request for proposal email.
  2. “Short-list” candidates and solicit proposals.
  3. Review proposals.
  4. Interview best candidates & check references.
  5. Negotiate, review and sign contract.
  6. Assess your team.
  7. Start the training and report effectiveness.

Want to get started on this process? Print-off this Social Selling Training Cheat Sheet PDF. (No registration needed)

Selection Criteria
Will your sellers learn social selling tactics or will they start doing? Only consider training that:

  • teaches a practical, repeatable system based in traditional copywriting skills,
  • helps sellers take “first steps” to apply the system,
  • promises outcomes like more appointments & more response for sellers, in less time.

The more you stick with the above criteria the more you’ll be able to measure the performance of your training investment.

When considering what social selling trainer is best for you consider the instructional design. Only invest in training that:

  • includes worksheets that get sellers DO-ing, (not just learning)
  • is directly relevant to current challenges, goals and ambitions of your sellers,
  • focuses on a balance of platform (eg. LinkedIn) and prospecting tactics and

Beware of social selling training promising outcomes other than measurable increases in response to—and appointments with—your reps and dealers. Hire a trainer who measures his/her own success based on sellers taking action. (not merely repeating what they learned)

Place all of your criteria in a short, focused request for proposal (RFP) email. You’ll put this list of requirements to work in the next step.

Cost and Delivery of Training
Overall quality of the trainer, skills the training will develop and delivery of the training. These factors drive cost.

If your team is geographically disbursed an online training will be most cost effective. Are your sellers ambitious do-ers? Will they actually make time for the training? If so, a self-paced, “home study” program may work.

If your sellers will be reluctant to take the training, mandate attendance from your sales leader. Also, choose to deliver training using a live Webinar format. Make the training assignable to a date on their calendar.

Short-List Candidates
Using Google and LinkedIn search, scan the horizon for training candidates. Identify a short-list of potential social selling training trainers.

Use your selection criteria to solicit proposals from trainers. If you don’t wish to mail out a formal RFP, no problem. Use your selection criteria as a guide to identify the most capable vendors.

Review Proposals: The 3 ‘Must Have’ Components
Effective social selling training must result in sellers getting better response from prospects, faster. Make sure training you invest in focuses on a process that creates:

  • attention from a targeted group of potential buyers,
  • engagement that is provocative enough to spark
  • response—conversation that generates a lead or sale.

Choose a social selling trainer that basis his/her training in direct response copywriting that helps get more attention, engagement and appointments.

Assess: Make Sure You Succeed
Make your social selling training relevant and effective. Start with an assessment. Discover your team’s strengths, weaknesses and challenges—right now.

Require your social selling trainer to perform a low-cost assessment to guarantee your success and avoid disaster.

Make sure the assessment:

  • justifies your investment,
  • identifies and sets performance metrics,
  • uncovers current attitudes & experiences with tools like LinkedIn,
  • identifies both resistance to social selling and early adopters.

Identifying early adopters will insure success in the eyes of your boss. By finding reps and dealers eager to sharpen their skills you can focus the training on increasing their success (and reporting back to the boss on it).

You can stack the deck in your favor!

How to Avoid Failure
One of the most common reasons social selling and/or LinkedIn training fails is lack of focus on how to get response. Make sure your training provides more than how-to lessons on managing LinkedIn’s privacy settings and controls.

The primary goal of your training should be earning more appointments by increasing response.

When interviewing final candidates ask them for references who can tell you how their sellers are generating more response after the training.

Do you have more questions about investing in social selling training? Let me know in comments or send me an email. I’ll be glad to help! Or print-off this Social Selling Training Cheat Sheet PDF. (No registration needed)