Social Selling Training: Time for a Redesign

I wasn’t really shocked or even surprised that CSO Insight’s 2015 Sales Enablement Optimization Study ranked Social Selling Training as ineffective.

“Social selling training services were ranked as the training service with the highest need for major redesign (33%)”

In the past two years, I’ve seen way too many self-proclaimed “experts” reducing social selling to “How to Use LinkedIn” or “How to Create a Great Headline”. These folks show up for a few hours or a day and leave again, treating social selling like it was a set apart from the sales process. I rarely see it actually incorporated INTO a comprehensive multi-day sales training workshop.  That should be the ultimate goal: social selling melts seamlessly into sales training. Not something to follow it.  Be part of it.  I am old enough to remember filling out my first green sheets and blue sheets back in the 90’s. Today, using LinkedIn is one of the best ways to research and fill in useful details in the discovery boxes. People are getting too focused on using LinkedIn to find an email and aren’t reading profiles to find words and phrases to “mirror” in discussions.

It’s Not Just a Tool   

The analogy that Tamara Schenk uses about teaching a sales rep how to use a new CRM is perfect. Sales needs more than tool training, it’s about the context of the why and how it fits into your existing sales process.  Not a generic one either – YOUR process, your stages, your gates. When that doesn’t happen, social selling just becomes another task that takes up time in the selling day – a bunch of wasted busywork.

Social Selling Training is About Process

I sit with my customers and find out what their sales process is, walk through how social fits into it, and what of their content is right to be sharing.  And if they don’t have the right content, I help them work with marketing it create that.  We talk about how to fit a social “touch” into their email and calling cadence.  Social selling becomes another element in the overall sales process and is useful at each stage.

“Leveraging social media effectively requires enablement leaders to take a focused, holistic and integrated approach for salespeople and their managers, connecting the dots from training to content up to coaching to drive adoption and reinforcement.”

Check out CSO Insight’s Blog for more on Sales Enablement and their 2015 study.