Launching a social selling pilot is one thing but scaling it up is quite another. Pilot programs allow you to focus your time and resources on a relatively small controlled roll-out. You can focus your time on analysing the data and optimise the program as you go. It’s focused and manageable.
When it comes to scaling the program to other locations and business units, you need to adopt a different approach. Working across borders within complex matrix organisations as a team of one isn’t easy. Knowing the mistakes to avoid is a good first step to building a program that will be sustainable, successful and scalable.
1. Build A Champion Network Early On
Identifying your Social Selling champions early on is essential. Who volunteered to be part of the pilot? That’s a good start. Who’s adapted quickly? Who’s listening to the advice? Who’s ready for more advanced techniques? These are your champions. They will be your internal advocates.
Put simply, champions will inspire your next generation of social sellers. They’re naturally curious, hungry to learn and will ask you questions. They will also be motivated which means you achieve the results you need in order to request more budget and scale the program.
Too often we see organisations nominating ‘champion’ roles because of their job, their level within the company or because they have capacity to do it. This won’t work. Your champions need to be leading by example and have a passion for Social Selling.
2. Map Training Methods To Sales Readiness
Scaling your program isn’t just about buying more LinkedIn Sales Navigator licenses. This is the stage where you really need to start thinking about training. If you don’t, you risk having a lot of expensive premium LinkedIn sales licenses sitting there going unused.
As a guide, whatever you invest in LinkedIn Sales Navigator licenses, consider investing half as much again on training. Here’s an example:
- 50 licenses @ £1,100 per license = £55,000
- Training & coaching investment = £27,500
You may find this excessive but trust me, it’s better than buying 50 licenses where just 10% are regularly used – it happens. In addition, if Sales reps open the tool, don’t appreciate the value and close it down it’s way harder to get them motivated again.
LinkedIn provides a library of resources from live webinars, recorded demos and cheat sheets. However, nothing beats face-to-face training when it comes to embedding behaviour change and learning how to use a new tool. Even more relevant when it’s customised to your organisation – something that LinkedIn doesn’t provide.
However, workshops can be expensive – travel costs and time in a classroom is time not spent closing contracts. So, make sure you align the right training method to people who are most ready for it.
All the basic foundation training (such as profile optimisation, network building and social listening) should be done before your sales teams step into a classroom. Use scalable technologies such as webinars and eLearning to reach the masses and cherry pick the ones that are ready for LinkedIn Sales Navigator and further training.
3. Focus On Engaging Sales Leaders As Much As Enabling Your Field Sales Reps
Organisations are quickly realising that sales leaders are just as important as field sales teams when it comes to modern selling. Sales leaders need to change the conversation with their team, encourage modern selling habits and embed measurements into the existing sales framework.
Modern selling requires a modern sales leader. It’s just as important to build a pipeline of relationships as it is revenue. You’re in it for the long haul.
But organisations that struggle are the ones that are revert quickly back to traditional techniques when the going gets tough. They have long term intentions but short-term reactions.
A modern sales leader will need specific coaching around how to motivate and engage their team. Building a digital culture takes nerves of steel. One month maybe quiet but your prospects are still watching and when they’re ready (not when they’re pushed) they’ll come quick and fast.
4. Adopt A Train The Trainer Approach
No-one knows your business better than your employees. Hiring external trainers (no matter how global their network is) will be an expensive and non-scalable option.
SAP scaled to over 10,000 trained Digital Sellers via a network of 250 internal trainers. They grew upon their knowledge internally and tailored the material specifically for their business.
LinkedIn offer the Instruct program, a 2 day generic workshop for up to 15 potential trainers. They often bundle this into a larger scale license purchases and it’s a great introduction for trainers who have little or no experience of Social Selling.
At Tribal we run our own 2.5 day Train The Trainer program that goes beyond LinkedIn. It also provides ongoing training so your trainers are never out of date – features change quickly in the world of social media!
Selecting your trainers is critical and where most organisations make mistakes. When you stand up in front people to teach them how adopt social in the workplace, you need credibility behind you.
If you want to transfer knowledge, you can teach non-practitioners to deliver training. If you want to inspire behaviour change, in my experience you need the stories and the experience woven into the delivery.
It’s worth pointing out that your trainers don’t necessarily have to be your best Social Sellers. Look wider than your immediate audience. Look for employees who are passionate and experienced using social media – then evaluate if you can teach delivery and structure.
5. Don’t Outsource What Should Be Done Internally
Finally, relating to the point above, no-one can do this but yourself. This may sound odd coming from an agency that specialises in this market, but I truly believe that to successfully scale your Social Selling program you need to own it from within.
We can help guide you and share our experience of what works and what doesn’t – how to optimise your investment and scale at a steady pace. We can support you in workshop delivery, data analysis, coaching specific individuals and expert training sessions.
However, our goal is to make you self-sufficient. To enable you to scale your program to a level where you don’t need us anymore and that should be the objective of any agency you work with around this topic.
So, here’s a summary of the how to avoid the mistakes: