The 8 Steps to Rolling Out a Social-Selling Strategy


Randy Illig recently spoke with social-sales expert Brynne Tillman about how leaders and organizations must embrace social selling, or risk getting left behind. Part 2 of this interview discusses an eight-step process for rolling out a social-selling strategy.

Randy: I would imagine that one of the biggest concerns a company would have is controlling what their people are sharing. How do you tackle that?

Brynne: There are eight stages in rolling out a process and content strategy. The first thing is to identify internally your process and your compliance. What are the rules and structure around content? Articulate a policy.

Then, establish goals and KPIs. One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make hands-down is that they don't have any goals set for their sales and marketing teams. We have to put that in place, and we have to make it measurable. So what are the KPIS, both results and activities? What are we looking to achieve? As we go through this program, just like any sales activity, we can measure what's working and what's not working, then make changes as needed.

Randy: What’s the second step in rolling out a social-selling initiative?

Brynne: The second one is buyer mapping. We have to take a deep dive into our CRM. Look at the titles of the people that have been touched in our sales process. Develop a map of our stakeholders and the industries we serve. Look at the filters inside Linkedin, and fill those out with our ideal prospects, so we can start to find them.

If you don’t do this, reps will randomly engage people that will never be an influencer or buyer. So make it simple for the sales people to find the people that they need to start conversations with.

Randy: Step three is selecting the tools. Are there highly dominant companies in this space?

Brynne: Sales Navigator is a platform that we highly recommend, which is one of LinkedIn's premium tools. Then we recommend four or five other ones.

There are wonderful employee advocacy tools with full libraries of compliant content, making it very easy to grab content and share it in a way that moves buyers to their solutions.

We also recommend a calendar-syncing tool. We use, but there are dozens of them out there. It allows people to schedule time on your calendar without the back and forth. When you're prospecting on Linkedin, it's amazing to watch. When you have the right messaging and you’re reaching out and you have a calendar-syncing tool, you start getting booked calls. I love to watch people go, “I can't believe I have four calls this week with my targeted buyers, and they booked them.”

Randy: That's happened to me. It’s pretty neat—people call me.

Brynne: Exactly. I also think everyone should have Grammarly. It brings up the professionalism in communication. And then my company has a proprietary app for our clients that stores messaging templates, so your people don't have to copy and paste. So pick and choose which tools you want. Most of them are very low cost.

Randy: Tell me about step four, content strategy.

Brynne: It's our job as an organization to supply the sales people with the content they need to move a buyer through the journey. There are seven types of content that are needed throughout the whole journey, from the very top of the funnel to closing the deal. It's up to the organization to develop and supply that content.

Your content strategy needs to do a few things. First, it has to be focused on leading buyers to your solution, not leading with the solution. When you lead with a solution, you're pitching a product. When you're leading to a solution, you’re offering vendor-agnostic content that people can use even if they never talk to you.

The second thing is having a good balance of curated content and original content. For every four pieces of content you share, three should be someone else's, one should be yours. Sometimes I even say six to one.

Randy: You say that a lot of organizations miss the fifth step—developing a playbook.

Brynne: The playbook is designed to guide our sales people on what to do and say on a daily basis. Give them literally step by step, so a fourth grader could follow it. Your sales people should know exactly what to say and when to say it.

But many organizations will roll out training without one. They’ll high five; they love the training; they’ll think it’s so exciting. And then they leave and don't know what to implement.

Randy: They miss the how.

Brynne: Right. They get excited, but when they leave, they have 57 emails and voicemails and then, within an hour, they forget that they were even in that training. So having that playbook with their daily to-do list is vital.

Randy: Step six—“Developing a buyer-centric profile”—is somewhat LinkedIn-specific, right?

Brynne: Yes, it means moving your profiles from a resume to a resource. It's important that their LinkedIn profiles are buyer-centric, so they cover who your sales people help, how they help, and why prospects care. If we don't do that, then everything that we do that's driving traffic back to your profile will fall flat.

And by the way, we define social selling as the process of leveraging online platforms and tools to attract and engage targeted buyers and get them excited to take your call. That's the goal of our profile. It has to move our buyers by creating curiosity and getting them excited to schedule a call.

Lose the profiles that start with my mission, my years in business. Prospects don't care about that. We have to earn the right for them to care about us. And the only way we can do that is to provide real value. It starts with your profile. Bottom line, convert your profile from a resume to a resource if you are looking to leverage LinkedIn for business development.

Randy: Tell me about the final two steps.

Brynne: Lots of organizations start with number seven, training, but you have to do the other six first in order for number seven to be effective. Onsite training, virtual live instructor-led training, or even e-learning can work.

And then number eight is measuring and coaching for improvements. Go back to step one and look at those KPIs. Make sure that we're doing the right activities, producing the right results. Do a stop/start/continue on your social-selling activity for each rep. Then roll out a coaching methodology to make sure that we're optimizing everything.

Read Part 1 of the interview with Brynne Tillman, on how leaders must evolve their salesforce to a social-selling methodology.

Experience FranklinCovey's  award-winning consultative sales method by registering for a complimentary Helping Clients Succeed webcast.


About the Author

Randy Illig

Randy Illig is the Global Practice Leader of FranklinCovey’s Sales Performance Practice and the co-author of Let’s Get Real Or Let’s Not Play. With more than 25 years of experience ranging from direct sales and general manager to successful entrepreneur, CEO and board member, Randy leads the global sales performance practice team as we help our clients build high performance sales and sales leadership teams. Randy is a former recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, the Ernst & Young “CEO Under 40” award, and the Arthur Andersen Strategic Leadership Award.

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