Enterprise social selling framework consists of three phases:
Pre-Launch Phase: The pre-launch phase included all the planning activities to launch the program.
- KPIs and social media policy: The organization benchmarks related to social selling including (followers, reach on all platforms, LinkedIn connections, Google search reach, and engagement) were identified. A successful social selling pilot program requires tight governance on what will be published on digital channels. This can be achieved by defining the social media policy.
- Availability of Brand guidelines: Every company has brand guidelines which need to be followed for external communication. Some of the sections which the brand guidelines document should have are: proper logo usage, proper font usage, correct color usage etc.
- Audience and prospect analysis: As a pre-requisite, it is important to benchmark the current presence of the participants and their prospects on social media platforms.
- Content readiness: The pre-read content to be shared during training and post-training should be in place before launching the program. Some of the sales participants may not be able to attend F2F training, so training should also be enabled using online channels like videos etc.
- Pre-Launch Buzz: It is very important to make participants understand the benefits of the program and feel encouraged, excited and enthused enough to attend by taking out time from their busy sales lives. Change collaterals like mailers, short teaser videos and communicating case studies, success stories of the other organizations etc., can help tremendously.
- Identification of change champions: In social selling, like any enterprise program, identified change champions from the sales team play a significant role in program adoption. The identified change champions are required to help other participants resolve their queries.
Execution Phase: The execution phase includes onboarding the participants to digital platforms by enabling creation of their profiles, coaching the participants on publishing content, identifying prospect, and finally approaching / engaging with prospects.
- Executive leadership involvement and sponsorship: For any enterprise program which involves critical functions like sales and marketing, it is very important to have support from the senior leaders in the company. It involves continuous communication from leaders highlighting the benefits of the program to the participants and a clear mandate to participants for attending and leveraging the program.
- Benchmarking and tracking KPIs: In order to determine the success or failure of the programme, it is important to benchmark the key parameters at the beginning of the programme. The key parameters involve the improvement in Klout score, follower base and engagement rate on all platforms, the participant’s name featuring in google ranking in the top five results when a branded search is done on their name , funnel generated through social selling, and contacts created in CRM system using social media. Benchmarking and regular tracking needs to be governed as incorrect information might set the wrong benchmarks
- Face-to-Face and online training: Training is one of the most important components of the social selling programme. Generally, enterprise social selling training ranges from 16 to 20 hours. There are two options. Either break the training into byte-size chunks and conduct the training purely online, spread across multiple weeks, or conduct 2-3 days of dedicated sessions. Among both of these options, 2-3 days of face-to-face programme is usually considered to be more effective as attention span is very high in a focused, in-person session.
Post Launch Phase: The post-launch phase includes the activities to support the participants adopt the program. It includes:
- Adoption reporting to management: In order to ensure serious commitment from the participants, monthly reports should be published to the, leadership highlighting key achievements, improvement areas and power users of social selling.
- Setting up a helpdesk: A dedicated e-mail helpdesk should be setup, wherein the participants can write to get their issues resolved. Also, it is beneficial to set up a helpdesk which is available at least 24x7 to enable the participants. This will also be handy if there is a social media crisis which erupts due to the improper use of social selling.
- Query-resolution sessions: Social media channels, especially Twitter, can be tricky, and there are continuous updates to the platform, so one needs to keep themselves updated. As and when the sales team leverages social selling, they would certainly come up with queries. These queries need to be resolved. Query resolution sessions can be bi-weekly and timings should be pre-setup, considering the location of participants, especially if the enterprise is spread across the geography.
- Content dissemination: After the training has been conducted and the sales team has been on-boarded on the social selling programme, it is most important to ensure that sales managers regularly post the content on social media channels, listen, approach and engage with influencers or prospects. Content can either be provided by the social selling vendor or the proficient sales managers can curate and create the content on their own. Marketing team has to ensure that either of the above approaches is followed