The use of social media is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Dan Bernoske‘s recent blog post provides keen insight into the value of social selling. But most B2B businesses do not know how to leverage the power of social media. The answer is close by – Human Resources. HR leaders are experts in social media. They have the unique opportunity to share this expertise with Sales. This is a chance to build credibility and earn a seat at the sales leadership table. And drive revenue growth and profits, too.
This post provides a checklist and a 6-step tactical program to start the HR-Sales social media collaboration.
Using LinkedIn as a Glorified Résumé is Dead
A key strength of HR is the ability to accurately judge a person from a profile. Here are the results of an audit of LinkedIn profiles of major B2B technology suppliers:
- Online résumé – 72.4%
- Minimal information – 25.6%
- Social prospecting presence – less than 2%
This means that most sales people use LinkedIn to advertise for a job. A smaller number have simply posted a photo and career history. A tiny fraction are helping themselves and the company attract customers. Here is a comparison of an online résumé and a social prospecting profile. Which question is your sales force answering when prospects check their profiles on LinkedIn?
As the expert in résumés, it is HR’s responsibility to help Sales turn this around. Shift the focus of online profiles 180 degrees from Inward to Outward. Don’t waste this highly visible resource for your reps to sell themselves to their next employer. Instead, provide potential buyers with insight into how your team can help them solve their business problems.
Transforming your LinkedIn Profile requires Buyer Knowledge
Before you implement this change, it requires an intermediate step. To show your buyers that you can provide value, you must understand what they need. This, of course, varies widely from one company to the next. It depends upon the problem that your product or solution is intended to solve. This determines who buys it and how they make their decisions.
To make your online profiles relevant, it all starts with the Buyer Persona and the Buyer Process Map (BPM). Who buys your solutions? What questions do they need to answer to make the decision? Most Sales and HR leaders have little experience in the research required to extract and organize this critical information. One of SBI’s core offerings can help here and jump-start the social prospecting effort. For more information, read this and this.
6 Step Program to Transform your Social Prospecting
Once the Persona and BPM work is done, you are ready to follow the program outlined below. This requires a consistent effort, focused first on the sales force.
Under the leadership of HR, re-brand your sales team with a consistent buyer-focused message.
- Click on the “Get Ready for Social Prospecting” image below to download a step-by-step guide.
- Customize it to your business and customer’s needs.
- Work with Marketing to develop a common message for all profiles.
- Require everyone on your sales team to take action within 2 weeks.
- Monitor compliance with the program.
- Expand the program beyond Sales to include all customer-facing roles.
Make the Next Move
LinkedIn profiles have become a staple in business. It is the #1 source for personal background information: a quick bio and a photo. Your customers use it every day. Social prospecting will give buyers confidence in your sales people before they meet. In fact, it might be the reason they are willing to meet at all.
Tell your Sales leader that it’s time for his team to stop advertising for a job. Offer to lead the charge. This will make the human resources on the sales team more effective. It is an opportunity to increase HR’s credibility and value with the Sales leadership. Get started before your competition makes the first move!