2 Ways to Turbocharge Your Sales Strategy

June 8, 2013 at 7:00 AM

I bet that two vital pieces are missing from your sales strategy.  These two missing elements can have great impact on revenue growth.  If you formalize them into your sales process, training and measurement, revenue will grow.   Otherwise, your sales team will be eaten up.  Your revenue will be lost to the swift and the strong.describe the image

As the sales operations leader, you develop the sales strategy and support team performance. 

One of the missing pieces is as old as the concept of sales itself.  The other, by comparison, is very new.  Incorporating both into your sales strategy will drive results.

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The two elements to formalize into your sales process, training and measurement are:

  • Referral Sales
  • Social Selling

Customer referrals have been the most powerful sales tool since the dawn of commerce.  Today, social selling in the B2B space is the buzz.  At SBI, we rarely see sales strategies that formally address these gold mines.  Reps aren’t trained to these activities and very few track success.

Below are some recent statistics to illustrate the point:

  • LinkedIn adds 172,000 new members per day.   That’s equal to adding the entire population of New York City in 7 weeks.
  • Referrals in B2B often have closing rates 2 times greater than marketing-generated leads.  In addition, referral costs per lead are always among the lowest.
  • 73% of sales people using social tools in their sales process out-performed non-users.
  • Referral programs have ROI’s 300-400% better than all other campaigns combined.
  • 71% of B2B Sales leaders and managers see significant revenue potential with social selling.

Everyone in sales knows that referrals are the holy grail of new revenue.  Doing a Google search for “B2B Social Selling” yields 7,150,000 results.  But you've not made these part of your sales strategy.  What are you waiting for?

If you ignore this, your company sales performance will crash and burn.  Your competitors are moving fast.  Making these strategies part of your DNA is wise.  Now is the time to get ahead - the window is closing.  Only 34% of sales leaders today say they have a social selling strategy.  Just 25% in sales have received any training on selling socially or gaining referrals. 

Here are a few steps to get you started:

  • Share this blog with your Chief Sales Officer.  Show him that social and referrals must be an integral part of your strategy.
  • Identify the sales reps at your organization that are ahead of the curve.  Conduct a survey of your reps.  Gather data such as LinkedIn connections, Twitter followers and social selling activity.  Determine reps with the highest levels of referral sources feeding their pipeline.  For successful Social Selling approaches, click here 
  • Build “Social” and “Referral” Expert Panels.  Pick your most successful reps and create an Expert Panel.  To learn more about Expert Panels and how effective they are, click here.
  • Begin training based on your Expert Panel’s best practices.  Using your best, determine what they do and how they do it.  This includes the concept of building social debt.  How do they build social debt?  How and when do they ask for referrals?  For more on Social Debt, click here.
  • Add basic fields to your CRM system.  Was the opportunity a referral?  What is the prospect’s social footprint (LinkedIn connections, Twitter handle, etc.)?  What type of Social Debt did your earn?
  • Track Results – What is measured is managed. 

To deliver on Social or Referral sales strategies requires discipline.  As with all initiatives, you need to have buy-in from sales leadership.  Some best practices related to both of these strategies must be followed.  Important steps are included in the tool with this post. 

An example is to build out the “eco-systems” of your current customers.  Incorporate this training into your on-boarding.  Create social media guidelines and make them part of your job descriptions and accountabilites.  Measure success and broadcast across the company.

Organizations that want to continue to grow must embrace these strategies.  Make it part of your DNA.  Train everyone but make it more than an event.  Incent people who embrace these strategies.  Just don't remain passive or you'll be looking up at your competitors.

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Topics: Social Selling, sales strategy, Sales Process, Sales Training, Sales Operations Strategy, sales operations

Posted by Patrick Seidell

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