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?

Author: Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc., where he built the sales team. Today, he is the authority on effective prospecting communications techniques as founder of Communications Edge Inc. (formerly Molander & Associates Inc.) He's been in sales for over 2 decades. He is author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.Jeff is a sales communications coach and creator of the Spark Selling technique—a means to spark more conversations with customers "from cold," speeding them toward qualification.

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