So you’ve proven your social selling program is a success. The next question for many organisations is how to replicate that success globally. The trend towards agile organisations - with its 20-30 point improvement in financial performance and a lot more - may suggest keeping tight reins on all operations is a no-go.
But if you’re wondering how that works with licence allocations, economies of scale and training then you’re not alone. The question of which management model works best is something we’ve been getting asked a lot recently as we reach the stage where social selling programs are becoming more established.
In our experience, there are generally three management models that organisations adopt for social selling programs - centralised, decentralised and a hybrid “hub and spoke” model, which is managed centrally but delivered locally.
So read on for the pros and cons of each. But first, here are the general issues you will need to consider:
Social Selling Management Models: Issues To Consider
Below you’ll find some general issues you should consider as well as those specific to social selling, such as Lead Lists and Team Link.
McKinsey’s research shows that agile organisations generally perform much better as they “can redirect their people and priorities towards value creating opportunities”. They see a:
- 20-30 point improvement in employee engagement
- 20-30 point improvement in financial performance
- 10-30 point improvement in customer satisfaction
- 30-50% improvement in operational performance
But as they point out:
“A common misconception is that stability and scale must be sacrificed for speed and flexibility. Truly agile organizations combine both: a strong backbone or center pro
vides the stability for developing and scaling dynamic capabilities.”
A fully centralised approach is therefore less likely to provide speed and dynamic decision-making that may be required, while a decentralised model may lack a strong backbone but a hybrid approach could provide both.
Economies Of Scale
The cost of any licences for social selling tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator and any training costs will almost invariably be lower when purchased in bulk. However, the economies of scale may level out after a certain point and any savings you may make need to be weighed against other efficiency savings.
Developing a global centre of excellence for knowledge sharing and training is a common goal for many organisations scaling social selling programs. But while establishing global best practices and standards is critical, programs can fail if they don’t take account of local knowledge and expertise.
Each team will also need personalised support that helps social sellers go from knowledgeable to experts. This is where local trainer, coaches and champions become critical. (Not to mention they also provide ears on the ground to provide continuous feedback on the program.)
Team Links & Lead Lists
Team Links are an important part of social selling programs, as they can be a quick way of identifying potential warm referrals into target accounts. And it goes without saying that lead lists are critical to social selling success!
Obviously, the more that licences are linked up as part of a social selling program, the greater visibility that social selling teams will have over referrals and lead lists.
To get the most success from your social selling program, it’s vital that licences are allocated to those who can create the most impact. How licences are distributed will therefore affect the degree to which they contribute to global and regional goals.
Also, sales employee turnover rates are exceptionally high at 35% - nearly triple that of other roles at 13%. When they move on, this presents problems.
- What will you do with their unused licences? If you don’t go down the centralised route, is there going to be enough demand to reallocate these at a local level?
- What happens to their lead lists?
At the outset, eLearning can often be used to provide foundational training to the masses (delivered in their native language). As your social sellers become more skilled, or hit roadblocks, they will need more targeted training such as webinars, workshops and coaching.
Using contractors or agencies to do so isn’t the answer - instead you will need to upskill local teams and Social Media Champions to deliver training and coaching, as we explain in this blog.
Measuring and reporting on the impact of your social selling program is critical. In most instances, the C-Suite will want to see the global as well as local impact - comparing the ROI and trends that have led to greater success in one area or another.
All social selling programs will have to rely on change management best practices to establish the right mindset shift.
Social selling can be a totally new approach to a lot of salespeople and the methods used may be very different to what they're used to. It requires picking up new habits and totally changing their selling behaviour.
The Pros And Cons Of Different Social Selling Program Management Models
We’ve looked at the general issues to consider but how do they apply in practice for each mode? Read on for the pros and cons of each.
Centralised Social Selling Program
The social selling program is managed centrally, typically by a team manage all elements of training, budget and tools selection and allocations.
- Controlling the budget centrally = greater economies of scale
- Ability to move the licenses around from one person to another
- When employees move on, you can retain the Lead Lists
- TeamLink and TeamLink Extend available as you will generally meet Enterprise volume requirements
- Centralised reporting so that you have visibility over impact on a global and local level
- Localisation is limited
- Time zones are difficult to accommodate if running a global program
- A single team will have limited capacity to service all participants, meaning limited scalability
Decentralised Social Selling Program
Social selling programs are managed by region, with each region having sole responsibility for training, budget and tools selection and allocations.
- Budget will most likely need to be provided and justified locally
- Accommodate the fact some countries will want to take part and others won’t
- No team needed centrally to manage the roll-out = faster decision making
- Lose the economies of scale that comes with managing centrally
- When people leave, they’ll take the remaining time left on their ‘expensed’ license with them
- You’ll lose TeamLink visibility across the organisation
- Will be difficult to administer which countries have expensed licenses and which buy centrally
- Difficult to measure overall impact with several reports for different countries
Hybrid Social Selling Program (Hub & Spoke)
The program is managed centrally but delivered locally.
- Central control of the budget – economies of scale when buying bulk centrally
- Ability to control licence (re)allocation
- Central visibility of the impact/data for tracking progress
- TeamLink visibility across the license users (TeamLink Extend for larger roll-outs)
- Countries have the ability to support, coach and mentor in local language and in the same time zone
- Aligns sales and marketing more closely around an account based approach at a local level
- Scalable for the longer term
- Longer term change-management approach – not a quick fix
- Relies on engaging local volunteers and champions to drive and embed social behaviour change (often this is local marketing)
- Employees change roles so building a succession plan of skills is important
If you’ve not guessed already, the Hub and Spoke model generally delivers the “best of both”. It helps keep decision-making and training dynamic and relevant to the area, whilst benefiting from the economies of scale and visibility of a fully centralised program.
As we mentioned though, it does involve a longer-term change management approach and for that a partner that’s been through that process before can be a major help. It’s something we’ve done at Tribal Impact plenty of times.
If you're trying to roll out a global programme and aren't sure about the best approach, why not book a free, no-commitment, sales-free 15 min consultation with one of our tribe's experts Vanessa Baker. Alternatively, send her your questions via DMs on LinkedIn.
Why not book a FREE no-commitment, sales-free consultation with our Head of channel social advocacy programs, Vanessa Baker.
Pick Vanessa's brain and gain some insight into which steps would work best to improve its success in your company?
About Vanessa Baker
Hello, I'm Vanessa, Head of Channel Social Advocacy Programs at Tribal Impact, love my role helping clients with their inbound marketing and great social content. Proud Mum to one dog, two boys & four cats.