Effective Social Selling Part 2: Adoption Rates Impact Quota Attainment

Last week, we talked about one critical success factor to make social selling effective in your organization: formally aligned social strategies between marketing and sales. Today, we are discussing another critical success factor for success, and that’s adoption.

Many of our studies have shown that adoption can make or break your implementation success. For instance, regardless of your sales process, the adoption rate of CRM or SECM is an early indicator of an initiative’s chances of creating the desired business impact. If the adoption rate is too low, you can take action to change that. If your adoption rate is moving in the right direction, then the rhythm of your business dictates when your initiative will show measurable results. But, what does “too low” mean? Usually, we see an impact on performance when adoption rates cross the 50% level, and a significant impact when adoption rates are higher than 75%.

In the 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, we looked at the adoption rate of social selling and their impact on sales performance. These adoption rates tell you the percentage of salespeople in your organization that regularly use the newly implemented social selling tools and techniques, based on the developed social selling skills.

Alignment of social selling strategies drives adoption

In this year’s data we can see that the alignment of social strategies drives social selling adoption. That makes a lot of sense. The process of aligning the social strategies of marketing and sales requires many conversations, followed by communication and implementation activities. All these activities improve clarity and adoption across the sales force, especially regarding the key questions, “why are we doing this?” and “what do we want to achieve with social selling?”

Across all study participants, social selling adoption is still a challenge. Only 12.9% reported having social selling adoption rates greater than 75%. But of those with fully aligned social strategies, almost one-quarter (22.7%) reported these high adoption rates.

Higher adoption rates lead to higher performance

The average quota attainment of the 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study was 57.7%. In organizations with low social selling adoption rates, sales teams didn’t even achieve average performance. Instead, they ended up with 51.5% which is less than the average quota attainment rate in this study. Also, it’s less than the average quota attainment we had in the much bigger 2017 World-Class Sales Practices Study (53.0%).

Then, there is a broad middle range that delivers remarkable results with 60.9 % of salespeople achieving quota, which is 3.2 percentage points above the study’s average. A significant performance impact can be achieved when adoption rates climb above 75%. Quota attainment of 64.8% is an actual improvement of 12%, and an adoption rate greater than 90% leads to an improvement of 22.4% (compared to the study’s quota attainment average of 57.7%).

Social selling can impact sales performance in a remarkable way. However, it has to be done the right way. Aligning the social strategies across marketing and sales is a prerequisite and a critical success factor to ensure clarity and consistency. Driving social selling adoption across the sales force is another critical success factor that can only happen if enablement teams ensure a holistic development of social selling skills beyond social selling technology and if they ensure that all necessary steps and activities are integrated into salespeople’s existing daily workflow.

Questions for you:

  • What is the social selling adoption rate in your organization?
  • If adoption is low, what are the reasons from your perspective?
  • If adoption is high and creates measurable impact, what are the critical success factors?
  • How do you measure social selling success?

 

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