The Crucial Role of Leadership in Social Selling

Thrilled to be part of Social Selling 2019! This high energy event at the iconic Marina Bay Sands was completely sold out with ~600 attendees.

Social Selling 2019 JQCC

Studies shown that in the B2B space, 67% of the buyer's journey is now done digitally.  According to IDC, 75% of B2B buyers, 84% of C-level or VP level executives use social media as part of their purchase process.  If you are not actively engaged in Social Selling, you are not showing up in those online purchase research: you are missing out on plenty of potential sales.

At the same time, adopting social selling involves a fundamental shift in philosophy, operating principles, structure and behaviour.   For an organisation to be successful in social selling, it takes more than rolling out a training program or playbook.  It requires leaders in the organisation to enable a social selling culture.

In my keynote, I took the audience through the 4-Step Process to Build Social Selling Capability in organisations.


Step 1: Educate

First, help your employees understand the business case of social selling, why it's important to the success of both the business and the individuals. With social selling, we encourage employees to build a strong personal brand - which positions them as a thought leader in their field, and also opens up future career opportunities. You educate to create the awareness and desire in your employees to engage in social selling.

Step 2: Equip

Equip your team with the knowledge and tools to do social selling. This is where you roll-out your social selling playbook or training program. A social selling playbook must include 3 critical components of establishing presence (ie. show up on social media), connection (ie. finding and connecting with the right people), engagement (ie. having the right conversations).

Step 3: Execute

Ability to execute well will determine the results that you'll get from your effort. As leaders, it's important that your role model how you show up, connect and engage.  Also, providing timely coaching and feedback to your employees to improve their capability to connect and engage with the right prospects.

Step 4: Enable

Create a nurturing learning environment.  It's not about being perfect.  It's about making consistent progress. Celebrate the wins, reward the efforts, acknowledge the progress.  At the same time, repeatedly communicate the new behaviour, initiatives and cross-functional collaboration that you expect from your team.  Approach building social selling capability as a learning journey.

There are a number of common mistakes that I've seen in organisations trying to build their social selling capability.  Including rolling out the "onboarding program & playbook" prior to investing the time to create awareness and desire in their employees to get on the social selling bus; running social selling with the same mindset from a decade ago in terms of how they do targeting, prospecting and engagement.  These will simply create more frustrations in their people, distrusts with their customers, and wasting precious time, energy and resources.

Therefore, in our work with companies embarking on social selling, we always start with a Discovery Phase to clarify the purpose, goals, current state, burning platforms, in order to inform the approach and strategy. This time investment upfront, will greatly increase the quality of the results. And saves lots of unnecessary frictions and stress down the road.

In our hyperconnected world today where information is democratized, buyers are more informed, more sophisticated and have more options than ever.  They are not interested to be sold.   They want to buy from people they know, like and trust, when they need it, in the way they prefer.   Social selling is your tool to give your customers the buyer experience they want.