Social Selling: The New Normal for World-Class Performers

According to the “Digital in 2017 Global Overview” report, published by Hootsuite and We Are Social, more than half of the world’s population uses the internet. And the growth rates, especially in the sector of mobile social users, are impressive.

What does this mean for the state of social selling? At CSO Insights, we’ve been monitoring social selling data for a couple of years in various studies. Now, we can show the impact of social selling over the last four years from 2013 up to 2016, based on our annual Sales Best Practices Study.

Social selling is on its way to becoming the new normal

Let’s look at the impact of two practices we have monitored for the last four years: “Social media is a highly effective tool to identify new business opportunities” and “Social media is a highly effective tool to identify decision makers.” World-Class performers tackled this practice differently from all other participants in our studies. Twice as much focus was put on this practice by the world-class segment compared to all respondents, back in 2013.

Rapid change and rapid growth took place between 2013 and 2015 within the World-Class segment. There was rapid growth leading to the establishment of the new normal. World-Class performers are leveraging the benefits of social selling on a daily basis. World-Class performers are two years ahead of time, when respondents were still questioning whether to embrace or ignore social selling.


For CSO Insights, “World-Class” has a specific definition. This is a segment of the global study’s population that practices the top 12 behaviors (12 practices that were determined to have the highest correlation with a set of predefined sales performance metrics).

The World-Class segment outperformed all others by 21 % in 2016, and successfully applied the critical success factors for social selling: focus, speed, integration, and adoption!

World-Class performers focused on social selling two years earlier than average performers, they integrated social selling techniques into their sales processes and methodologies, they developed an integrated social strategy from marketing to sales to sharpen the social selling purpose and benefit, and they drove adoption by using their sales managers to proactively coach social selling skills.

World-Class performers have a clear strategy on how to align social selling with their marketing and sales system. However, they also allow themselves to remain playful with social techniques, learning new things every day, as their environment is also constantly changing. This way, they can improve, refine, and adjust their approaches on an ongoing basis.

Interested in more on this topic? I had the pleasure to deliver a joint session on “How Social Selling Can Help Humanize The Sales Process” with Katie Ng-Mak, sales director at HubSpot.

Watch our session from last week’s Social Selling Summit and learn more about how these trends in our research are playing out in the real world and listen to our conversation and the first-hand experience of Katie Ng-Mak.


  • How is social selling implemented in your organization?
  • How does social selling help humanize the buying experience?
  • How would you describe the alignment of your social selling strategies between marketing and sales?


Related blog posts:

Social Selling: World-Class Performers Are Two Years Ahead of Average Performers

Why Aligning Your Social Strategies Is Key to Social Selling Performance

Social Media Guidelines: What World-Class Performers Do Differently

Why Aligning Your Social Strategies Is Key to Social Selling Performance

  • Michael Garrison
    Posted at 08:44h, 05 July

    Great article Tamara. As a referral based sales consultant/coach I couldn’t agree more with you. What is shocking is how many of my clients don’t integrate referrals, their current sales systems and social selling.

    Silo’s are the death of sales ROI, even when discovered within the sales department itself.

    Keep posting…your stuff is great.

  • Tamara Schenk
    Posted at 03:23h, 23 April

    Thanks, Michael, for taking the time to comment on my blog post!
    I’m sorry for the very late response. We have experienced some technical challenges…
    Yes, not integrating referrals or using referrals at the wrong stage of the customer’s path is a real challenge. And I totally agree, silos are never driving sales performance…
    Thanks again!

Post A Comment