There is a lot of buzz about social selling to put it mildly—and the volume only continues to rise. In an earlier post, I commented about "social media strategy" and the associated hype. As I consider social selling, I think I could do a find and replace on "media" with "selling," as well as "marketers" to "sellers," and the post would apply. The gist of the earlier post was that social tools and a social approach should be considered as part of a broader customer engagement strategy, but not as a strategy unto itself.
At ZS we believe there are six conditions to driving sales force effectiveness.
- A customer focused sales strategy,
- Sales force design that provides effective and efficient coverage of the target market,
- An expertly executed sales process,
- Sales managers and salespeople with the right knowledge and skills,
- A program for driving motivation and a performance-focused sales force, and
- Sales operations capabilities that enable the sales force to achieve superior performance.
These conditions and the drivers of sales effectiveness are outlined in our sales effectiveness framework, SFE NavigatorTM.
In today’s environment, engaging customers through social means has become essential, driven primarily by changes in customers’ buying behaviors and processes. We believe that sales leaders need to think carefully about where and how to apply social selling processes and tools in way that supports their sales strategy and drives improved sales performance: as a means to an end, rather than as a silver bullet. As important as processes and tools, sales leaders need to consider the competencies their salespeople require and the coaching that first-line managers (FLMs) must provide to expertly execute a social selling approach.
This week I will join leaders from LinkedIn and Salesforce.com to begin an ongoing dialogue on social selling. We invite you to join us for our webcast on Oct. 24, engage through our blog posts or attend our session at Dreamforce and contribute to the conversation.