Social Selling. The business case for investment.

If you are looking to convince yourself or your boss why you need to invest in social selling, here are some compelling stats. I picked them up from the excellent LinkedIn Social Selling RoadShow in London.

STAT: Sales teams at SAP with an SSI* over 60, on average, achieved 160% of their sales target.

Malin Liden, VP at SAP, revealed that there are 15,000 sales folk using LinkedIn Sales Navigator across the globe. It has been a three-year project to get here but social media is now contributing to a sales pipeline that is measured in the billions rather than millions!

Social sellers are farmers not hunters

Be warned, said Malin. It only works where the sales pros adopt a farming approach rather than hunting. Her big learning is to convince sales teams that this is about creating relationships – waiting for prospect to come to you when they are ready – not hunting down prospects and bombarding them from day one.

STAT: Just 30 sales-people at Euromoney Institutional Investors generated a multi-million sales pipeline through LinkedIn.

Juan Mejia, Head of Inbound Marketing at Euromoney, said that despite the challenges of working across different business units, he was able to do some basic tracking of the impact of social selling. The business is now investing more in measurement to really understand the scale of the opportunity.

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STAT: 73% of all sales revenue for New Voice Media is influenced by Linkedin

Sales used to be a solo sport. But it has got a lot more complex.

LinkedIn talked about how sales is more complex because many more people are involved in the decision-making process.

Sales used to be about sending a rep out to meet a decision-maker. A one-to-one approach to selling, but that doesn’t work.

STAT: There are now on average 5.4 people in the decision-making unit (DMU) according to CEB.

BUT.

The vast majority of sales teams are not identifying and targeting the wider DMU. In fact…

STAT: Only 5% of sales deals are mapped against 5% or more decision-makers. 67% of sales deals only had one connection to the account.

How does a social selling approach help with this? Using a tool like Sales Navigator allows you to identify and track more people easily within target accounts. Using the ‘Related Leads’ function allows you to quickly map out more prospects.

Prospects are changing jobs frequently.

Here is another reason why sales teams need to be active on social. LinkedIn shared about how frequently decision makers in the UK are leaving their company or changing roles within their company. You might be surprised to learn that:

STATS: Time spent in role:

  • VP of Sales = 32 months
  • CMO = 29 months
  • CTO = 29 months
  • CIO = 34 months

So if your sales teams only nurture a single connection (rather than the DMU) it exposes them to the risk of losing opportunities as the prospect moves on from the target account.

How does a social selling approach help? Use Linkedin to keep track (at scale) of people who are changing roles within your target accounts. Crucially, it will help you track where they go – so potentially creating new opportunities at new accounts.

Sales reps are moving roles frequently.

It’s not just the prospects that are moving around. It is the actual sales guys on your team as well. If they go, often the relationship can go as well.

STAT: One in three sales reps are moving roles/companies every year.

Percentage of sales reps that move in the year, based on years of service:

  • 0-5 years service: 50%
  • 6-10 years service: 39%
  • 11-15 years service: 28%
  • 15+ years service: 32%

How does a social selling approach help? Using something like LinkedIn Team Link, allows sales leaders to track prospects across teams rather than relying on any individual.

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Top sales reps see the competitive advantage in social selling.

STATS: 77% of top sales people value social selling. In contrast, 59% of sales people with average performance value social selling.

Hope that was useful. Please let me know if you would add/challenge any of this.

*SSI = social selling index – the metric (measured out of 100) is used by LinkedIn to measure levels of activity and engagement on the LinkedIn platform.



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