Last week, LinkedIn opened their Social Selling Index (SSI) to the public.
I find scores like this fascinating, we have so much social noise out there, sometimes it is hard to know what is working and what’s not. It is nice to see the data to prove (or disprove) the sales and marketing trends we’re seeing right now.
While this particular Index is still new, I don’t think it is a novelty scoring system. Social Selling is a very real aspect of modern sales. So, don’t think of this as another Klout. In fact, if I had to choose to increase my LinkedIn score or my Klout score, I’d pick LinkedIn. The last thing we need is another vanity scoring metric (that you, Klout).
LinkedIn Social Selling Index is Revealing
I’ll be the first to admit skepticism when it comes to a branded score or index. I am under no illusion that that LinkedIn’s SSI isn’t heavily biased towards the B2B networking site’s business objective to increase paid users.
However, the data presented is quite revealing.
According to the SSI, I rank among the Top 2% in my industry (Sales & Marketing) in terms of influence, engagement, and effectiveness.
Not only is the data revealing, it is shocking to learn that the sales professionals in the Marketing and Advertising industry have an average SSI of 22.
Again, sales and marketing professionals score only 22% in social selling.
I feel like that is little more than writing your name correctly on the top of an exam.
Four Elements of Social Selling
LinkedIn has identified four important elements of social selling. We would all be wise to spend some time understanding and applying these elements to our social sales strategies.
Those elements are:
1. Establishing a Professional Brand
How you present yourself has a direct correlation to your success as a salesperson. Take the time to optimize your LinkedIn profile to attract and retain sales leads. A few areas of a LinkedIn profile that are sadly overlooked include:
- A professional profile photo
- A well-written biography (written in the first person)
- A title that explains what you do and includes important keywords
- An easy way to be contacted
- Certifications, Awards, and Recommendations
2. Find the Right People
Finding the right people comes down to having well-defined customer personas. When we can articulate exactly who we are targeting, our marketing materials and sales presentations become laser-focused. Personas give us clarity on who the right people are.
3. Engage with Insights
I’ve talked a lot about closed-loop analytics — or insights. In sales and marketing, we must be tracking our marketing efforts with actual sales to calculate an ROI. Too many brands are blindly marketing without understanding the revenues generated as a result.
4. Build Relationships
For me, this is the number one focus we should all have. Regardless of our position or title, our professional objective centers around having healthy relationships. This is not new to social selling, but separates the wheat from the chaff.
My Social Selling Score
The most important element of selling is building a relationship. Fortunately, LinkedIn recognizes my daily efforts to add value to the careers of those in my network. I scored 23 out of 25 in the Relationships category.
The areas I received low marks come as no surprise to me. I received a 12 out of 25 for Find the Right People. I don’t do a lot of outbound networking on LinkedIn (meaning I don’t seek people out). I am blessed to have a decent number of folks attracted to me through my inbound marketing efforts.
My second lowest category, Engage with Insights, is LinkedIn’s opinion of how much I use their own proprietary insights and recommendations. They are helpful, but I don’t spend much time looking at them. If you have never seen their insights section, you can check out your personalized recommendations here.
Conclusion & Next Steps
Go, build relationships and add value to your next customers. After all, that’s the only true ranking index we should be measuring.