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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

We worked with a company recently where they purchased Sales Navigator for 50 people and immediately made a $2 Million incremental impact on sold revenues.  Because of this they invested in an extra 150 licences of Sales Navigator.  What do you think the impact was on revenue?

Well if 50 licences of Sales Navigator made a $2 Million impact then 150 licences additional licences, so 200 in total would make an $8 Million impact?  In fact the additional 150 licences made no impact at all.  200 licences generated $2 Million, the same as 50 licences.

Why is this?

Social Selling is a change in the way people work, so what you get is the classic bell curve.  20% of the people are ninjas they just get it and go, 60% of the people, need training and 20% of the people will never get it.

As sales leaders and business leaders we are taught to work out where on that bell curve we need to place most time.

  1. Do we focus on the ninjas and make high performers higher?
  2. Do we take the middle 60% and turn them into high performers?
  3. Do we focus on the low performers and turn them into middle performers or do we manage them out of the business?

There is no right or wrong answer, as a leader you need to decide.  The way we run our training is we assume that “nobody is left behind”.

What Does This All Mean?

Often we see there are two types of training and they work for the top 20% (the Ninjas) but the training style does not work for the majority 80%.

  1. The one day training – Classic training is to cram as many facts into the students as you can, they go back to their desks, the phone rings and they forget all about the training.  There is of course, one expectation.  Of course, the Ninjas will start seeing results, which is why this type of training will offer results, but the 80% majority you will see no change. 
  2. The webinar – Used by companies to pass on fact based, this is totally the wrong method for empowering employees and taking everybody along.  Why?  Well those that don’t see the benefit will either not turn up or will turn up and go through the motions.  We have seen this been used in a number of companies and the feedback we get is, again there is no change.

In fact both training methods creates a sales teams of have and have not and causes resentment.

For Social Selling to be successful requires an organisation to use change management techniques such as 70:20:10.  All of us learn at different speeds and respond to training in different ways.  Some people, soak up facts, others like to be mentored as a group, some liked to be mentored 1 to 1.  Everybody is different.

People Empowerment 

What we also see is (even after being “trained” on social selling) excessive use of jargon, cliques, and people seeming feeling the need to be carolled into being the same as everybody else.  Here is your chance to be different too stand out and corporate robot.

“I’m a passionate, energetic, tenacious, sales professional with 20 years experience of …” there then follows a long list of things, which means you are a “jack of all trades and a master of none”.

We are all “passionate, energetic, tenacious,” so you are telling me nothing.

Plus a scatter gun of capability is meaningless. How?

If you have a bad knee and you meet a surgeon and they say they are the best surgeon in the world.  Then they are the person for you.  If that person then says, they are also a mini-cab driver and gardener and can help you when you are laid up after the surgery.  You will run a mile.

Social selling and employee advocacy can make a transformational impact to your company, but the training from it cannot be seen as linear.  People are different and you need a program that will flex with the changes in knowledge, attitude and capability.

People who read this post also read these:

Is It Time to get the “Monkey off your Back”?

How to use Social Media to Become more Relevant for the My Network, Customer and Contacts.

Three people walk in to a bar…



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