While some organizations continue to treat social media as a pure marketing channel, others are shifting to “social business,” in which the communication channels of social media are made available to employees throughout the company for use in their day-to-day jobs. The idea of social business is to derive value from networks of people, and nowhere is that more important than among sales staff.
JLL, a global professional services and investment management firm, introduced “social selling” to its sales staff as part of a PR department initiative, earning the prize for Best Use of Social Media in Ragan’s 2014 Content Marketing Awards. The concept of social selling involves training sales staff to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (@CRESocialSeller), and other tools to listen, engage customers, and collaborate.
To instill social sensibilities among the sales team, the PR department of Paige Steers, Rebecca Taylor, and Eileen Veihmeyer developed a suite of training tools—including a video and an e-book—as well as a methodology to assess program participants. The training resulted in the increase of qualified “Social Sellers” from 81 before the program kicked off to 328, with most training participants believing the training will drive sales. This unique effort is a real-world example of how communicators can bring real value to an organization beyond developing and posting their own tweets and status updates.