Social Selling Impact! Why Managers Should Encourage Social Selling!

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The sales world is changing, and social selling is becoming a powerful tool in today’s sales toolbox. This episode of Social Business Engine introduces a multi-part series of podcast episodes we have entitled “Up Close: Savvy Social Selling the SAP Way: Best Practices that Win Customers.” This series of interviews will bring you the insights from some of SAPs most successful leaders and brightest minds.

In this episode, you’ll learn about the role managers play in encouraging social selling among their teams. Featured in this episode are insights from Marc Havercroft, COO/VP of SAP Success Factors – Enrico Palumbo, HR Director and Member of the Management Board of SAP Switzerland – Shailendra Kumar, Vice President, Chief Evangelist – and Phil Lurie, VP Sales Technology, SAP.

Be sure to download the case study that accompanies the podcast series – Social Business Journal Volume 11. It weaves together the narrative of social selling success factors at SAP. It’s available for download, ungated in the resources below.

SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, priding itself on helping you streamline your processes, giving you the ability to use live data to predict customer trends. SAP has embraced social selling to enable its global sales team to more effectively engage with customers. This podcast series and companion case study explains how SAP is scaling social selling across the enterprise.

Selling Behaviors Must Change Because Customers Don’t Buy Like They Used To

The digital age has created many benefits for the consumer, like providing the ability to research and even try out products before they ever talk to a salesperson. That means the traditional approach to sales doesn’t work in quite the way it used to. Social selling is the answer to these changes because it enables salespeople to become a trusted resource to potential buyers long before the buyer is willing to make a personal connection with them.

Sales organizations must shift their mindset to implement social selling as a consistent practice. This episode draws out the best practices of leaders from SAP regarding how they train their teams in social selling, how they keep the momentum going after the training, and how they empower and equip them to engage in ways that are genuinely beneficial to potential customers.

Social Selling Requires A Cultural Shift: Here’s How SAP is Making That Shift

This episode highlights four different leaders from the SAP team and their responses to some questions relating to social selling. When asked how they are helping their teams make the shift from analog thinking to digital thinking, these were the points they shared:

Mark Havercroft says he encourages his team to look at the world around them from the perspective of the individuals they want to serve as customers. They need to observe how people engage with the digital world around them and even use their personal consumer journey in the digital world to reflect on what they can do to become a resource to others. The goal is for the salesperson to become part of a network of trusted advisors in advance of the transaction, via social media.

Enrico Palumbo explains that he begins the cultural shift the first day of training with new team members. He helps them understand how the things they post and recommend on social media are a reflection of the company. He desires to help them fine-tune their messaging and sharing practices to improve their personal brand and promote the company in a positive light.

Shailendra Kumar encourages his team members to spend more time on social media, getting used to the platforms and practices so that they can directly communicate with buyers. He says that little things like paying attention to birthdays help his salespeople connect with clients in an informal way that creates a mindset shift in the client and the team member.Phil Lurie views the final goal of social selling to be the same that it has always been in sales – to become a trusted advisor to future customers. But social offers a distinct advantage: it enables his team to use social media to listen to the things potential customers are concerned about so that they can then position their personal brand as an expert who can answer their concerns. They do that through sharing articles and resources relating to those areas of concern. He says that when team members can learn how to combine effective social listening with helpful resources and messaging, they have found a winning combination.

Even Though Digital Selling is a New, Level Playing Field, Don’t Forget Purpose Matters

One of the most important concepts shared on this episode centers around the reality that digital selling is a new and level playing field for everyone. So everyone has the opportunity to shape their position and message on social media to meet the needs of their particular market. But the end goal is not just to sell products; it’s to help the buyer make a decision that achieves the outcome they’re looking for. Keeping that in mind enables the salesperson to become the expert resource customers are looking for.

Make sure to set aside some time to listen to this episode. It is filled with great insights from some of the best leaders in modern sales.

Featured on This Episode

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:12] Bernie’s introduction to this series of interviews, sponsored by SAP
  • [1:43] Why Social Selling is so important for the team at SAP
  • [4:15] Mark Havercroft: Sales professionals need to view their own consumer journey in the digital world
  • [5:47] What the SAP team hears back from customers about their social sales journey
  • [7:17] Enrico Palumbo: Making new team members ambassadors of SAP – in real life and on social
  • [10:45] The goal in digital sales is the same as it has always been in sales
  • [13:27] Transforming mindsets via the “digital dancefloor” approach
  • [19:20] Some of the best ways to maintain momentum after social selling training
  • [25:30] Mentoring and reverse mentoring approaches to help the shift happen

Resources & People Mentioned


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Author: Bernie Borges

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