Social business transformation: Jennifer Dubow explains the social selling story
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Jennifer Dubow has a long title and interesting job. As an IBM Inside Sales Social Business Transformation Leader she is helping create a team of social sellers.
Why exactly should sellers become more social? As Jennifer explains, on the one hand the behavior of customers is changing. They now spend a lot more time online, researching and comparing products. Sellers should take advantage of this and make themselves present wherever the customer is. This means occupying the social space that surrounds the public web. On the other hand, a big part of a complex sales process (like that in the B2B space) involves finding the right internal resource who can help define the right pricing/product mix. Here, internal social networks can help uncover these valuable folks.
So how do sellers become more social? Enablement is key. As Jennifer explains, one of the biggest barriers to adoption is fear on the part of the sellers. To address this, Jennifer engages in face-to-face training covering all the available social tools and is prepared to cover the same point multiple times until it is understood. She also notes that we learn best from our peers: the power of word-of-mouth cannot be underestimated. Hence she creates ‘social selling champion networks’: those that have adopted social techniques and are leading the pack are engaged as mentors and teachers for their peers.
In order to help customers find sellers, her team created ‘rep pages’ that allow sellers to post updates and more importantly engage the customer, whether it be through social channels like Twitter or LinkedIn, phone, email or video chat. See an example here.
One of the key challenges in creating an environment of social selling is measuring the value. The sales process is lengthy and complex and involves multiple touch points. Hence it can be problematic to map activity on a social network or rep page back to actual revenue. Furthermore, interaction differs throughout the sales cycle, with customers not always wanting high engagement. Still, one way to measure social sellers is through scorecarding and measuring their social activity over time.
Jennifer has held a number of roles throughout the organization and explains her personal experience and where she has found the value in creating networks both internally and externally. The connections she has made have helped her advance her career and expand her knowledge.
Listen to the full interview: