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Henry Nothhaft, Jr., CEO of Trapit, shares his views on how social selling will evolve in 2017. In the upcoming days, we will continue to publish predictions about the future of B2B sales and social selling in 2017. Enjoy!

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With the exception of a few visionary early-adopters, 2016 marked the first time many enterprise sales organizations formally acknowledged social selling as a transformative new paradigm – one that could produce meaningful customer engagement with the power to impact every stage of the customer journey. They encouraged their reps to get active on social and update those LinkedIn profiles. They invited a social selling guru/hype-person to their sales kick off meetings. Some even made six-figure investments in formalized training.

All of this effort and expense – only to find themselves a few months down the road with no clue how to measure adoption or impact at any level beyond water cooler anecdotes. In other words, zero ROI and zero impact. The lesson here is that transformative social selling success cannot be achieved on an ad hoc or informal basis.

In 2017, leading companies will upgrade social selling from hobby to formal strategic program. These winners will acknowledge social selling as one of the year’s top five priorities, perform strategic planning, and take a holistic approach to enablement that sees close alignment between sales and marketing teams. The very best organizations will tightly integrate program, training, and platform.

Program – well documented and broadly communicated expectations and guidelines that define the organization’s specific approach to social selling, and a formal marketing plan that supports these efforts.

Training - on-going education and dialogue concerning best practices and success stories.

Platform - an approachable technology platform that provides an infrastructure to organize and support the program end-to-end. The right platform enables and empowers sellers of all levels of digital competence to achieve best practices, provides marketing and sales leadership a set of tools to support and measure these efforts, and easily integrates with other systems of record within the sales and marketing technology stack, such as marketing automation and CRM. As a result, sales teams can make a direct correlation between social selling efforts and KPIs like leads generated and revenue.

It's time to ditch random acts of social and take social selling seriously. Are you ready? 

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Posted by Henry Nothhaft, Jr.

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