Transforming Your Organization for Social Selling

On a recent episode of The Healthtech Marketing Show, I sat down with social selling expert Tim Hughes, author of Social Selling Techniques to ChangeMakers. With 25 years of enterprise B2B sales experience and a history of rolling out social selling to thousands globally, Tim shared his methodology for transforming organizations to sell socially at scale. 

Rather than focusing on why social selling is important, this episode focused on the practical pillars of an effective strategy across large teams. Tim emphasized that while tactics matter, social selling must align with the overarching sales process as a strategy itself. With buyers now 70% through their journey before engaging sellers directly, establishing digital connections and insights ahead of active outreach is critical in sales.

As such it is a key part of any ABM program and done well, it is much more effective than other prospecting techniques.

Certified Methodology for Social Selling Transformation

As founder of DLA Ignite, Tim has developed a social selling methodology certified by the Institute of Sales Professionals, the only such external validation in the world. This certification goes beyond a typical training program to examine both strategy and real-world application, ensuring participants can execute core techniques successfully.

By studying results data across thousands of sellers over the years, Tim insisted his recommendations are grounded in statistically significant proof, not opinion. His methodology delivers a framework customized at the company level while empowering individuals with defined competencies to maximize their personal effectiveness.

3 Pillars of Successful Social Selling

According to Tim, the foundation stands on three essential pillars:

  1. Buyer-Centric Profile
  2. Target Account Network
  3. Insightful Content  

1. Buyer-Centric Profile

Tim stressed that profiles must showcase empathy, not egocentrism. Rather than centering capabilities, they should reveal helpfulness and scaffold digital conversations.

As an example, his unusual profile headline,

“I Should Have Played Quidditch for England,”

sparks interest and drives visitors. This aligns with Tim’s personal passions while encouraging connection, embedding a “why” focused on relatability.

Data proves summary titles drive the most internet visibility beyond one’s name itself. Instead of generic job descriptions, they should highlight interests, humor, and approachability.

2. Target Account Network

Expanding networks for digital access matters more than size or vanity metrics. Crafting network proximity to key accounts and buying influences enables visibility during crucial research stages. 

Even if target customers don’t connect directly, infiltrating digital circles of advisors and industry colleagues grants insider status when questions arise. This facilitates organic awareness as a trusted resource rather than cold-contacting during later buying phases.

Tim emphasized that initial outreach should focus on meaningful conversations, not product pitches. The goal is to provide value, not demand attention.

3. Insightful Content

With buyers wary of overt promotional messaging, insightful content that addresses real needs differentiated sellers. Tim advocated empowering teams to share their expertise, not just marketing propaganda.

Data shows personal stories and experiences perform best on social platforms, yet organizations often constrain this. Leadership should encourage showcasing uniqueness, not mandate corporate brochures.

Buyers crave authentic perspectives into challenges they relate to. Thus content should highlight learnings and best practices, not specifications — stories sell better than stats.  

Activating Social Selling Across the Organization

Tim acknowledged that deployment at scale depends on change management through the typical technology adoption bell curve. But investing in core teams has a ripple effect across marketing, recruiting, and beyond.

He generally trains in small cohorts for maximum attention while championing early adopters to showcase rapid ROI. This often sparks organic expansion into other departments hungry for social impact and reach.

In Tim’s experience, even modest investments generate substantial return thanks to increased productivity and pipeline:

  • 10 new sales meetings per week per SDR
  • 34% next-step conversion rates from new digital meetings
  • 30% faster revenue growth 
  • 20% shorter sales cycles

These compound quick wins with longer-term efficiency gains as market penetration and mindshare build cumulatively thanks to social selling.

Overcoming Objections and Resistance to Change

Skepticism and change aversion always hinder innovation adoption. But leaning on metrics deters the most stubborn naysayers. After proving success, social selling becomes self-funding thanks to clearly attributable sales acceleration.

In some past implementations, companies even fired personnel unwilling to adopt modern techniques. But usually patient coaching and financial incentives convert a workable majority. Regardless, forcing square pegs never pays.

Particularly in rigid industries averse to risk, social selling may seem counterintuitive, recklessly progressive, and unnecessarily disruptive. But data supports the methodology, so leaders should challenge assumptions with business realities. If horse-and-buggy companies adopted automobiles, digital-averse sales teams can modernize too.

Social Selling Drives Hiring and Cultural Redefinition

Interestingly, an ancillary benefit of social selling comes in recruitment and employer branding. By positioning current employees as approachable experts, social activity essentially curbside markets a company’s culture.

As talent attracts talent, warm authenticity conveys community and vision. This draws inquiries from proactively interested candidates already aligned to organizational values and passions. 

In Tim’s experience, enterprise social selling therefore slashes cost-per-hire while elevating workforce quality. A virtuous cycle takes shape, whereby cultural reinforcement alleviates hiring strain.

Transformation Requires Holistic Commitment

Ultimately social selling relies on personal discretion within a structured system. Leaders must endorse new techniques while setting guidelines and guardrails to align activity with strategy. Progress depends on individual effort within a community moving toward shared goals.

This balances creativity with purposeful reinforcement. Companies shouldn’t force everybody onto LinkedIn without reason, but those providing helpful insights deserve spotlighting and incentive. Channeling personal strengths into a broader content ecosystem pays dividends.

As Tim summarized with his signature British wit:

“Sellers should post less brochures and more humanity. Share meaningful experiences, not meaningless platitudes. Frame passions in problems solved, not specifications listed. “

Putting Social Selling into Practice

Tim Hughes boiled down three steps sales professionals can take immediately to elevate their social selling impact:

  1. Revise your LinkedIn profile’s summary headline to showcase your personal “why” over formal job titles. Leverage humor and approachability over stuffy corporate descriptions for relationship building.
  2. Prioritize expanding your network among target buyer circles and influencers. Aim for 200 new relevant connections weekly through warm outreach without pitching.  
  3. Create and share content highlighting real human insights and experiences versus product propaganda. Pepper in strategic keywords throughout your profile for discoverability rather than the summary.

As Tim emphasized, social selling relies on empathy, not ego. It focuses on valuable conversations, not automated blasting. And it showcases authenticity, not promotional posters. So refresh your personal presence, expand your genuine digital relationships, and redouble helpful content sharing.

If you liked this post and want to learn more…

  1. Check out more posts like this in the Healthtech MarketingLearning Center. It is chock-full of articles, use cases, how-to’s, and ideas to get you started on your ABM journey.
  2. Follow me or connect with me on LinkedIn. I publish videos and articles on ABM and healthtech marketing.
  3. Buy Total Customer Growth: Our book on how to win and grow customers for life with ABM and ABX.
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Posted by Adam Turinas
Posted in Healthtech Marketing Show, Selling to Healthcare on February 20, 2024

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About the Author Adam Turinas

Hi, I am Adam Turinas, Healthlaunchpad's founder. I am passionate about helping healthtech firms succeed through better sales and marketing. I have hard-earned experience in healthcare technolgy as I started two healthcare businesses in the US, the first with zero healthcare experience. We sold the second business to a strategic buyer seven years later. Over 9 years building a healhtech businesses, I have learned how to sell and market effectively to healthcare organizations. Prior to this, I spent two decades in digital marketing across healthcare and other consumer industries where I sold over $100 million in products and services to corporations and healthcare orgs. I would love to talk with you. You can book a call with me on the right hand side. Best Adam (This is page 0 of many)