3 Questions to Ask Your Sales Team
The social selling backlash has begun. You might sense it or be experiencing it. But you won't read much about it online. I'm reading a lot of self-appointed experts whining, “You're doing social selling wrong, dummy!” It's as if the market is changing. Experiencing. Maturing.
Rest assured: For most sales and marketing leaders the backlash against social selling is becoming tangible. Personal. Reps are pushing back.
This in mind, here are three questions you should be asking sellers in every pipeline meeting.
- Why do you invest time on LinkedIn? (at all)
- How do you invest that time?
- Would you rather reassign that time? Why or why not?
Yes, these are basic questions. But that's the point: You want raw, un-filtered answers — insights on how your team's productivity is being hindered or helped by current social selling practices. These questions can be asked on a private basis or in a group. Both strategies can yield productive results.
Is This Your Sales Team?
Social selling has, for many, been a bust. It's a time-wasting venture in farming (marketing) conducted by those we've hired to hunt (sales).
We've wisely invested in tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator. However, many organizations are subscribed to a dangerous practice: ordering reps to abandon their hunting instincts — instead, focusing on planting seeds. Marketing.
- Sharing valuable content and articles and hoping for engagement
- Sending self-centered, templated email scripts via LinkedIn InMail
- Re-posting press releases on LinkedIn blogs and updates
“Management is forcing me to waste time posting updates on social,” say many sellers. Instead, they want to be on the phone — dismissing social entirely.
This attitude is often based on experience. They tried it; social didn't move the needle.
But did your reps go to battle with the best weaponry? With an effective, repeatable communications methodology? Or did they just push content out to customers and go back to their day?
1. ‘Why Do You Invest Time on LinkedIn? (Or Not)’
Asking your reps why they do (or do not) invest time on LinkedIn can be a real eye-opener. Especially when your organization mandates participation. If you're invested in Sales Navigator reps must be using it — frequently and effectively.
You want that ROI. Sales Navigator is expensive.
But getting to effectiveness isn't easy. I know, because my clients struggle with earning sellers participation in something they often:
- don't believe in (the status quo rep)
- know won't help them (they've tried and failed)
- are afraid of (they don't want to be a spammer or loudmouth)
If reps are comfortable with the status quo do they truly need social selling? The answer may surprise you. In some cases buyers are:
- not active on LinkedIn
- not contained in the LinkedIn profile database (at all!)
- disguising their purchase authority (to hide from over-aggressive sellers)
LinkedIn may not be a fit.
Validate Failure and Move On
You cannot argue with experience. Experience drives our behavior. Humans do more of what rewards them, less of what doesn't. Especially good sales reps!
If your reps have tried and failed with tools like LinkedIn, validate that failure and investigate why they failed. Nine times out of 10 it's lack of an effective “hunting” communications technique — and over-focusing on “farming” activities.