This is the final blog in a four-part series focusing on the 4 C’s of Social Selling. In the last blog I talked about Conversations – how to trigger them, open them up and make sure you don’t miss them! This time I’m focusing on the final step in the Social Selling journey. The step that is arguably the most important of all – Conversions (not to be confused with Conversation – that was the last blog!)
Digitally nurturing your audiences, engaging with their content and opening conversations are essential behaviours of a digitally active sales force but unless they’re converting those conversations into opportunities, what’s the point?
Conversion is the ultimate goal when it comes to Social Selling but often sales leaders misinterpret what conversion means. It doesn’t always take the shape of an opportunity/deal in the pipeline – it can also take the shape of a referral or a testimonial or a download from your website.
Typical errors at the conversion stage include:
- Sales leaders expecting too much, from their newly trained social sellers, too soon.
- Setting aggressive KPIs on deals sold via social media
- Relying on manually tagging deals as 'Socially Sold' in the CRM system
- Misalignment between sales and marketing metrics
- Miscommunication between sales and marketing
- Identifying opportunities/deals as the only valid conversion point
It’s time to start thinking about conversion in the wider context of your organisation. Gone are the days when marketing fills the top of the funnel and sales finishes it off.
If you’re not playing digital ping pong with your sales or marketing counterpart, then your Social Selling efforts will have limited impact.
Recognise What Conversions Look Like
First up, you need to understand that conversion isn’t just about new opportunities in the pipeline. A referral has value. A testimonial has value. A download from your website has value. Once you recognise that all these small digital interactions are indications of trust, you will realise the true value of relationships. Trust. It’s priceless.
Identify Intent Signals
Make sure you understand the signals that lead to conversion. These are all the little signs of intent which can easily be missed if you don’t align your digital marketing with your digital selling efforts. Specific intent tools (we use Bombora) are also ideal for building a picture of what your target prospects are up online.
For example, a prospect has downloaded something from your website and is also viewing the profiles of your sales team on LinkedIn. Did your marketing and sales teams notice the connection?
Adapt Your Digital Selling Measurement Framework
Once you understand that conversions are more than single deals, you’ll need to adapt the way you measure digital selling impact. Look for patterns and correlations between individual digital selling performance (SSI scores, Sales Navigator data) with individual sales performance (average deal size, sales cycle time, overall pipeline).
Read this case study with Commvault and this interview with Michael Labate from SAP to learn more about how to do this.
Shift The Dialogue Of Your Sales Leaders
Conversions materialise when you embed behaviour change and that comes when you shift the language of sales leadership. Once you’ve adapted how you measure Social Selling impact, you’ll need to embed that behaviour change in every 1-2-1 and team conversation your sales managers have with their teams. Less directive and more facilitative.
For example, “how many calls did you make last week” versus “let’s look at who’s viewed your profile and role changes at your accounts”.
Align Digital Triggers Around Your Customer, Not Your Sales Process
Organisations often talk about aligning Social Selling procedures to internal sales processes and I understand why. CRM systems, sales enablement frameworks – companies have established their own systems and operating procedures. However, customers are thirsty for personalisation.
86% of buyers said that they expect salespeople to personalise their sales materials, with another 82% saying they “appreciate it when deals and docs are personalized for them and their company.”
Just remember, it’s difficult to ‘process’ good judgement and true relationships.
These are just some of the actions you can take to further support your Social Selling success. It’s important to understand the lifecycle journey that your Social Sellers will experience because they’ll have ups and downs along the way. It’s normal that sales teams will hit a point where they feel their digital efforts are yielding little or no return. But often, that is the point where conversions happen and when they do, they happen rather quickly and take people by surprise. This is the moment that sales teams realise how Social Selling works. Capture these conversion moments (no matter how small or insignificant) and share them with others in the team.
That concludes my 4-part Social Selling series, although already some have suggested additional topics for further exploration including C-Suite and Conviction (thanks Paco!). If you can think of anymore, let me know. I might just continue these series!