We interviewed and gathered insight from 300 of the best sales professionals who consistently exceeded quota to get an insider’s look into the state of Social Selling. We wanted to know: Why were they successful? What were their challenges? What results did they see? In particular, what were they doing to be successful at Social Selling?
Three major findings came out of this study:
61% of the sales teams that engaged with Social Selling said that it positively impacted revenue. This means that six out of 10 people definitively said that what they were doing was driving higher revenues than before.
72% of these sales pros didn’t know that their roadmap was not ideal. While they saw the value in social selling, they didn’t have a prescriptive routine.
74.9% of these same sales teams reported an increase in using Social Selling in the last 12 months. They recognized the buyer has changed, and that they couldn’t go back to their old tactics. They knew there was room for improvement.
Some major challenges also arose from the study.
1. Their Social Selling efforts weren’t integrated into the big picture.
Only 8.5% of social sellers interviewed felt that what they were doing was integrated into marketing and enablement and was truly part of a larger ecosystem. The rest—91.5%—felt they were acting in a vacuum. They were engaging in random acts of social that helped them personally, but really do not have a formalized program in place.
This left gaps in how they could corporately measure social selling. There was no training or coaching or prescriptive system to continue to help them.
2. 69% of these sale professionals taught themselves Social Selling.
They went online, Googled, and learned through experimentation however this only skims the surface with tips, tricks and tactics. This finding provides an opportunity for companies to implement the people, process and technology to shrink the scale gap.
3. Sales professionals know that Social Selling is adding value, but it’s not making the company money at scale because everybody’s doing different things.
Many of these organizations have not formalized scale, they may have invested in certain social selling tools with a handful of training sessions for these tools. Or they've outsourced training to a consultant but with a very limited tactical approach on how to actually drive revenue through social.
There may be a pocket of people who've adopted social selling with tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter for researching, booking meetings and prospecting however there are no solidified best practices at this stage.
This creates three opportunities:
Put together a strategy (the people, process, and technology);
Provide skills-based training; and
Provide reinforcement mechanism to help the sales professionals 6, 12, and 24 months into the future. Social Selling is an evolving process. It’s not going to happen overnight, it’s a completely learned behavior. So reinforcement is key.