As the power of social media tightens its grip on the modern workforce, the need for companies to make the right kind of noise becomes more important than ever. Social media though, isn’t just the role of the wider marketing team – employees and sales people in particular, should ideally be right in the thick of it, making the most of the online marketplace. How is social selling changing the way B2B organizations engage with decision makers? To get some answers, I’ve had a chat with Sophie Barnes of Xchanging.
Tell us about Xchanging and what you do there?
Xchanging provides technology-enabled business solutions to the global commercial insurance industry, recently acquired by CSC, a leading provider of next-generation technology solutions and services. I am the Global Social Media Manager, I implement and manage the global social media strategy across the Xchanging brand. Working to build brand awareness and align our social activity to marketing campaigns. I manage the social selling program within Xchanging and work closely with the talent acquisition team on their LinkedIn strategies, and own the employee advocacy program.
How did you go about implementing social selling in the organization?
So first, about two years ago we began exploring the tool [Sales Navigator], exploring what the trend ‘social selling’ meant and how B2B companies could benefit from it. It still is, a trend that is up and coming. I spoke to LinkedIn and said, “What have you got going on and what can we do to implement this at Xchanging?”, “How can we benefit from this”. So, we started a pilot trial with them.
To grab the attention of the sales team, I used the gamification of their Social Selling Index (SSI) score, sending the link around for them to explore their own scores. I stepped back and watched them all go, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m beating you” to each other and looking at how the managers were thinking, “Oh God, my team members have actually got higher scores than me. What I can do about this?” – that’s when the personal emails came creeping in. Then we really pushed it out into the business, which was all about education. We had webcasts with LinkedIn, globally, then figuring out how we can of become one Xchanging and one sales and marketing teams to help drive and fill the leads funnel.
What were some of the challenges that you faced implementing social selling?
It was getting the buy-in, obviously, from the business. Sitting down and trying to prove the ROI of social media, which I obviously fight on a daily basis when it comes to the B2B insurance market. Initially, the buy-in, having the time and the resources to sit down with everyone and actually train them one-to-one on how to use the tool. The challenge that I now face is having the sales guys be confident in what they’re doing and actually stand up and give me a case study. I want to show back the business how social media is helping not only the brand and marketing activities, but sales too.
What channels do you use for social selling?
Predominantly, obviously, LinkedIn, then I try to encourage Twitter, to help build up individual profiles (to help when attending events and joining the hashtags). Obviously, I get “I haven’t got time to do all of this.” So we sync their accounts together, not best practice I know, but to keep their constant flow across both channels with content and help build up their profile. Our main focus is definitely, definitely on LinkedIn increasing the SSI scores, being active and being there.
What digital sales collateral do you use?
We’ve got digital flip books, they’re called Turtl. We share them across our social media platforms, the analytics we receive are really insightful. It’s also great for capturing leads with the call to action for more content, they also have a little funky GIFs. We’ve then got all of our YouTube content and downloadable PDFs all online. We tend to use our social channels as strong content as well. We do twittertchats or hashtag campaigns to help promote a service, and then I’ll put that into a nice Storify to then reuse as content as well.
What tools do your sales people use on a daily basis?
On a daily basis, the sales guys are obviously on LinkedIn. Every single one of them. And of course Salesforce. Then, I have just recently rolled out my employee advocacy program. I’ve got them all on Smarp as well. I have got key senior directors, or their PAs, on Hootsuite. It’s what we use internally in my team to log in and schedule stuff from there. Then obviously, all the analytics you get off the back of Brandwatch, Sprout, and Hootsuite. And then the LinkedIn Sales Navigator, they’ve got a brilliant reporting system. I could just pull it off into a CSV file. We then use Google Analytics and how it kind of all syncs in the UTM tracking with Marketo and the lead captures that we have there as well.