Yvon Moysan is a professor at IÉSEG, specialized in digital marketing. His research focuses on the Internet of Things, Big Data and artificial Intelligence in the Banking, Insurance and Retail sectors. He is a member of the Digital Banking and Big Data Chair launched by IÉSEG and Crédit Agricole Nord de France. In this framework, he leads a series of workshops aimed at sharing good practices and experiences. The last workshop focused on the theme of ‘Social Selling’ in the banking and insurance sector. In this interview, he discusses the concept of social selling and the opportunities for banking and insurance sectors.
“To use Linkedin’s definition, ‘Social Selling’ is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals. Today, more than 86% of Internet users are present on at least one social network. And it’s not just a question of age or generation, seniors are indeed also very important users.
For sales people in all sectors, the purchasing process has changed dramatically. Traditional channels for prospecting clients (telephone, email etc.) are less and less effective. As a result, professional social networks like Twitter and Linkedin have become an important channel for salespeople around the world. Different studies have shown that salespeople using this technique generally outperform their counterparts. For example, according to the Aberdeen Group, 64% of sales forces using Social Selling reach their sales quotas compared to 49% for teams using traditional methods.”
“The banking sector is faced with a similar situation to other sectors. There are fewer and fewer people physically coming into local branches, and clients are no longer responding to telephone calls. Moreover, it is increasingly difficult for sales people to reach decision-makers either by telephone and e-mail. Thus, many banks in France and internationally have already engaged in social selling (Axa, La Banque Postale, UBS …). Axa is one of the leaders in the field of social selling in France, and the project was led by the company’s previous CEO.”
“In the workshops I run on this topic, I highlight 8 key steps for successfully implementing a social selling strategy:
The first is the crucial role of a the project sponsor. Ideally, as at Axa, the project must be backed by a person, preferably at the level of the Executive Committee, who is active on social networks and convinced by the potential of social selling.
It is also important that the project is both driven and supported by the sales and distribution team.
I advise to start with a test run with enthusiastic salespeople, who are already active and at ease on social networks. These people will then be good ambassadors for other commercial staff in the future.
Training is the fourth key element. This training must be both concrete and operational (for example, William Blair, an asset management company in the United States, offers a certificate in relation to social selling training). It’s worth noting that success is not age-related. Often the “younger” generation may have a better command of the tools while older salespersons might have a better understanding of sales techniques and networking.
It is also important that the salesforce are accompanied, at least at the beginning, by a coach.
In the workshops I emphasize the importance of the presence of salespeople on LinkedIn and Twitter and in particular the optimization of their social network profiles. The publication of content which adds value and highlights their expertise is another key aspect in this context. I often refer to the “20% / 80%” rule in terms of the amounts of internal (company) and external content that should be posted, and the importance of tailoring content to the users’ needs.
Many different content curation tools exist nowadays (like Scoop.it, or Pocket to store content) which are indispensable tools for those practicing social selling.
I would like to end by highlighting the need to implement key performance indicators (product sales, client meetings etc.) and to measure the return on investment of a social selling strategy. Linkedin’s Social Selling Index, for example, allows social sellers to measure the impact and evolution of their efforts.”