Once you’ve set up a social selling pilot, you then have the challenge of scaling it. Tribal Chief Sarah Goodall recently spoke to Kirsten Boileau about how they did it at SAP.
While it sounds great to be flying all over the world, training salespeople and marketers to do social selling, there comes a point where your time, budget, and resources can’t stretch any further.
That’s when it’s time to consider how to take everything you’ve built – the learning programmes, the coaching, etc – and turn that into a train the trainer programme.
You can watch, or listen to, the full interview with Kirsten here, or read on for our summary of her tips.
1. Find enthusiastic social sellers
It takes a certain type of person to become a trainer. Kirsten recommended that you ‘focus on those that have high social abilities.
They may have a high LinkedIn Sales Navigator score, or be blogging about the industry. You want to look for employees who are passionate about the industry.
She continued to explain their process at SAP: ‘The very first set of trainers that were chosen were chosen by a regional market unit leader who just wanted to ensure that he had a good crop of trainers on his team, but they weren't chosen for their passion and their abilities. We learned very quickly that that wasn't going to scale with that kind of persona. We really needed to find people that were very passionate, that were willing to add this to their daily jobs, that had their manager’s buy in to add this to their jobs, and making sure that they were actually social themselves.’
It's important that the people who become your trainers set an example. It won’t hold as much weight if you have trainers who tell trainees to post on social media, but they never post themselves.
2. Establish what good looks like
Enthusiasm for social media is only part of the equation. The next part is that ‘these people need to actually be able to train. You can't have someone who's not willing to, who can only just read slides. They have to be really good presenters. They need to be able to read the room. They need to be able to handle objections. All of those kinds of things. They need to be able to be very engaging, because this is a topic that it takes a long time to actually train people on.’
You also want to ensure that they’re not all based in one region so that they can adapt their training style to their audience, and to the prospects those future social sellers will be targeting.
3. Ask the right questions during the application process
At SAP, the application process involved interested employees answering questions including:
- How many trainings have you done in the past?
- Why do you want to do this?
Whether you ask someone these questions in person or via a form, it helps you to understand what their motivations are, and if they’re strong enough for that employee to become an effective trainer.
4. Establish the training process
When it comes to the training process, it’s important to ‘take it piece by piece,’ said Kirsten.
If you try to teach too much too quickly you may experience a lot of objection from your learners.
Your learners don't have a whole lot of time. ‘The least amount of effort they can put in is what they want to do, and it just won't work for them if they don't have the behaviours ahead of time. So we focused on building themselves a good brand.’
Platforms like LinkedIn also change often, so it’s important to train the right mindset into your trainers and social sellers so that they expect this and can adapt.
If you’re only training them to use the platform, you may find that half the room is still using the old version, while the other half are on the new version, which leads to ineffective and unproductive training sessions.
The enthusiasm of your social sellers and trainers is contagious. The more other employees see them benefiting from social media, the more likely they’ll be to want to join in, too.
It’s important to make the process of becoming a social seller as simple as possible, though. If an employee feels overwhelmed by everything they have to do, or they don’t understand how it could benefit them, they’re less likely to want to do it and the results won’t be as effective.
Once you’ve got an enthusiastic and experienced social seller, you can look into them becoming a trainer who can nurture the next generation. Over time, this creates a ripple effect within the business, helping to scale your social selling programme faster.
To watch the full interview with Kirsten, go here.