Part one of a five-part series

The response to the Social Selling Maturity Model has been overwhelming.

Since we published the SSMM last fall, it’s gotten blogged, tweeted, and re-tweeted more times than I can count. Many of the top social selling consultants use it with their clients. It gets shout-outs at conferences and on webinars.

It shows up on slides in all sorts of places.

Clearly, we’ve touched a nerve.

The Social Selling Maturity Model is based on a very simple insight: that social selling requires organizational change. It requires sales leadership, sales ops, sales enablement, marketing, and of course the reps themselves to do things differently.

Change is a journey. The bigger the sales team, the bigger the journey.

We developed the SSMM as a roadmap to that journey. It helps sales leaders identify where they are, benchmark themselves against others, and gain visibility into the road ahead.

Our work with hundreds of sales teams revealed that the path to social selling excellence is fairly uniform across organizations, regardless of industry or price point.

Teams go through five main steps, which we’ve named: Random Acts of Social, Policy, Training, Integration, and Optimization.

In this blog series, I’ll talk about each of these steps—one for each blog post.

Stage 1: Random Acts of Social

This is where every company and sales team starts its social selling journey.

Individual sales professionals create accounts on social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other social networks. Salespeople then use these networks as a new channel for their sales activity: building a brand, posting content, hunting for prospects, and sending messages.

Random acts of social are characterized by complete lack of coordination. At this stage, reps are on their own when it comes to social selling. Activity is driven by the innovation and resourcefulness of early adopters who see the potential of social selling and seize the initiative without asking for help or permission. There is no organizational governance, coordination, or risk management.

Even at this stage, the benefits to the individual salesperson can be significant. PeopleLinx survey data indicates that for “early adopter” sales reps who embrace social selling, nearly 15% of their closed business is influenced by social.

ROI perspective. From an overall team standpoint, the impact of social selling is limited. Without formal programs in place to help them, only 20-25% of sales professionals incorporate social networks into their selling process. The remaining 75-80% continue to sell without the benefit of social. As a result, Random Acts of Selling only delivers a 1-3% performance improvement to sales teams—a nice bump, but hardly transformative.

Frequency: Our research indicates that this is the most common stage. Roughly 60% of B2B enterprises over 500 employees are still practicing “Random Acts of Social”.

Next Installment: Stage 2 – Policy.

You can download the full Social Selling Maturity Model from our website.