Making The Shift To Social Selling: Six Ways To Get Your Boss On Board

When I told my first boss about the power of social media, she was extremely receptive. She empowered me to take the lead on identifying how we could use it and what our metrics of success would like. Yet, more than five years later, I’m still convincing business professionals around the world about the power of social.

Today, the shift has gone from social media as a whole to social selling. It’s the idea that social media and technology can help us in leveraging our relationships to be better at prospecting, lead nurturing and ultimately doing business.

The majority is still selling under a traditional umbrella, but brands that have embraced social selling are reaping the benefits. While many of today’s sales professionals are aware of the power of social selling, your boss and colleagues may not be.

If your company is rooted in traditional sales and won’t shift, try these six ways to get your boss on board:

1. Show The Stats Behind Social Selling

Show your boss impressive statistics that support your case. Let your boss in on the power of social selling by sharing articles about social selling or eBooks that uncover the skills you need to succeed when selling in the digital world.

Studies and research aren’t hard to find, and can be an effective way to convince your boss that the social selling train has left the station, and there’s good reason as to why you should be on it. The sheer size of Facebook’s user base—around 900 million—should inspire any business to believe that there’s at least one prospect there to find.

A 2012 study, The Impact of Social Media on Sales Quota and Corporate Revenue, found that using social media in sales increases your ability to close deal. In fact, the report states that 78.3% of salespeople who use social media outsell their peers who do not.

Numbers like these make a very compelling argument that social media is a leading factor in today’s sales landscape.

2. Demonstrate Actual Results

Social selling works, as the stats above demonstrate. But you should also show results in terms that your boss actually cares about. Look to competitors and industry leaders. How are they using social selling and why is it working for them?

For instance if you know that your sales team has been struggling to meet quota and your boss has been struggling to support a change, use data that proves positive results to persuade your boss to consider your solutions.

For example, The Impact of Social Media on Sales Quota and Corporate Revenue reports that not only do social media users achieve and exceed quota more often than non-social media users, they also don’t miss quota as often. In 2012 non-social media users missed quota (by more than 10% or more) 15% more often than social media users.

3. Build Your Case

If you find it a challenge to build a case for social selling, you’re not the first. It’s still a relatively new concept but it’s not as complicated as some experts are making it out to be in their blogs and reports.

A great place to begin is to think about how you can tie the benefits and impact of social selling to your company’s overall sales objectives. Your boss probably cares less about clicks, conversions, and awareness values and more about increasing revenue and decreasing costs.

Talk to your boss about current challenges and identify needs that social selling can address, whether it is increased sales, customer retention, or improved customer service. Build your case around needs that your boss has already identified.

4. Develop A Strategy

Create a clear and concise strategy that outlines what you hope to accomplish, how you’ll accomplish it, and how you’ll know you’re successful. With a strategy in hand, upper management is more likely to pay attention. But don’t overlook the importance of keeping your strategy document clear and concise. You don’t want to get bogged down in social media jargon and turn them off.

Maybe you want to build a stronger, more comprehensive sales pipeline? Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s measureable and you’ve outlined the steps you’ll take to reach it.

A strategy is a great way to educate and inform your boss about how social selling would work for your company. What does it look like for your
brand/company and how can it be used easily and cost effectively? How does social selling advance business objectives and grow bottom line? How does it improve workflow efficiencies and support sales goals? Who is your audience and how will you connect with them?

5. Give It a Try

Start small to avoid overwhelming your boss. Establish a social presence; begin listening to conversations about your brand and document opportunities. From there, you can show the value of social media and begin implementing your social selling strategy.

It’s always better to crawl before you walk. At least get a taste of how social selling works before you start going around the office preaching about its powers. You can start by simply using a tool like Twitter to be more effective with your prospecting and lead nurturing. From there, you can start investigating software and technologies that could help you make social selling real.

You can start by simply using a tool like Twitter to be more effective with your prospecting and lead nurturing. From there, you can start investigating software and technologies that could help you make social selling real (like Introhive!).

6. Be Patient

Finally, be ready to ride the wave. It’s not going to happen over night.

Sometimes you need to start the conversation and then wait. Periodically you’re your boss articles, blog posts and relevant information as you find it. Become the expert and find opportunities even if you know that you won’t take advantage of them right away. Continue to talk about it, learn about it and show success stories to your peers and senior management. Gather supporters and build an army of social selling enthusiasts and soon your boss will understand why social selling makes good sense for your company.