How to recruit and select participants for your social selling pilot

How to recruit and select participants for your social selling pilot

By Ready For Social | May 15, 2023

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Implementing a social selling pilot program can be a terrific way for businesses to test the waters before rolling out a full-scale initiative. After all, social selling has emerged as a powerful strategy to engage and connect with potential customers in the rapidly evolving sales and marketing landscape.

To harness the potential of social selling, organizations often undertake pilot programs to test its effectiveness and gather valuable insights. However, recruiting and selecting the right participants for your pilot program is crucial for success. No wonder this process demands careful consideration and a strategic approach to ensure the chosen individuals possess the necessary skills, aptitude, and enthusiasm to drive the pilot’s objectives.

Still, there is no need to worry about how to do this successfully. In this article, we will explore the essential steps and best practices to effectively recruit and select participants for your social selling pilot, helping you maximize the chances of achieving desired outcomes and paving the way for future success.

Define the criteria for participation

Before you start recruiting participants, defining the participation criteria is essential. This step will help you select suitable candidates for your pilot program. Another factor is determining the ideal target audience, including demographics and social media behavior. Consider potential participants’ experience level, motivation, and willingness to participate. 

From our experience at Ready For Social, it’s best if your pilot group is coherent, such as a sales team addressing a specific market (e.g., the pharmaceutical industry in the UK). Still, your group should be slightly broader than just salespeople. Inviting your product, technology, project management, or marketing colleagues to participate is great. Because they are not “sales,” these people often have in-depth expertise and can credibly build an audience around their topic.

Get leadership buy-in

The leadership of your team should be in support of this idea and get involved however they can. Trust us: This seemingly small detail can make a significant difference! Leaders know how important it is to identify individuals with the necessary skills, drive, and motivation to be effective social sellers. This know-how requires a deep understanding of your company’s goals and objectives, the target market, and the specific social media platforms used. 

Influential leaders will seek out individuals who are comfortable using social media, have a strong understanding of the product or service being sold, and can engage with potential customers genuinely and authentically. By carefully selecting participants and providing them with the necessary training and resources, leaders can ensure the success of their social selling pilot and drive business growth.

Leverage your existing network

One way to recruit participants for your social selling pilot is to leverage your existing network. This strategy can include employees, partners, and existing customers. These individuals may be more likely to have a genuine interest in social selling and be motivated to participate in the program. Additionally, tapping into your existing network can help to build trust and familiarity between participants, which can be beneficial for building relationships with potential customers. You can use email, social media, and other communication channels to reach your network and promote the social selling pilot. 

Important: Be sure to explain the goals and expectations of the program and highlight the benefits of participating, such as the opportunity to develop new skills and contribute to the growth of the business. By leveraging your existing network, you can find enthusiastic and motivated participants well-suited to your social selling pilot.

Have users opt in

Have users opt into the pilot group – don’t impose it on anyone. And don’t just ask, “Who wants to participate in social selling?” Set up an info session for the entire team (and maybe neighboring business units) and explain what it’s all about and what commitment you expect from them. Your pilot group should be tracking the success of their new activities and be ready to share them with you. Nothing is more powerful for further implementation than reported leads – ideally with mini case studies – that your sales team has generated through LinkedIn. 

Find participants who are versed in social media

Pilot participants should have a particular affinity or interest in social media and, ideally, some firsthand experience and a modest network (more than a couple of hundred contacts) to build on. Social media is the primary channel for social selling, and those already familiar with the platform are more likely to engage with potential customers successfully

Individuals with a genuine interest in social media are also more likely to be enthusiastic about the program and more motivated to invest the time and effort needed to make it a success. They may also be better equipped to stay up to date with the latest social media trends and best practices, which can help to improve the effectiveness of their social selling efforts. 

When selecting participants, it is crucial to look for individuals with a demonstrated interest in social media, whether through their personal use, professional experience, or a combination of both. By doing so, you can ensure that your social selling pilot is built on a solid foundation of social media expertise and enthusiasm.

Screen and select candidates carefully

Once you have attracted potential participants for your social selling pilot, you must screen and select candidates carefully. Conduct interviews or surveys to evaluate their experience level, motivation, and willingness to participate. This process can include asking questions about their experience with social media and sales, communication skills, and ability to build relationships. You can also use assessments and role-playing exercises to evaluate their social selling skills. Choose participants committed to the program and have a record of accomplishment in sales and social media engagement.

Provide guidelines for the participants

Once you’ve identified potential participants, providing clear guidelines and expectations for the social selling pilot is essential. Clear guidelines help ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. Your policies should include information about the target audience, the social media platforms that will be used, and the types of content that should be shared. 

Your policies should also include guidelines on engagement, such as how to respond to comments and questions from potential customers. It’s critical to provide training and support to help participants develop their social selling skills and ongoing feedback and guidance throughout the pilot. 

Remember that your guidelines should also include information on metrics and measurement, such as how success will be measured and what data will be collected to track progress. By providing clear policies and support, participants can feel more confident and motivated to participate in the social selling pilot, leading to better outcomes for the program and the business.

Monitor progress and provide feedback

Finally, monitoring participants’ progress throughout the social selling pilot and providing feedback on their performance is crucial. These steps can help identify areas for improvement and provide guidance on improving their social selling skills. Of course, you should also recognize and reward participants who demonstrate exceptional performance and contribute to the program’s success.

Are you ready to start selecting your social selling pilot group?

Recruiting and selecting participants for your social selling pilot is a critical step in the process. By defining the criteria for participation, leveraging your existing network, using social media advertising, offering incentives, and carefully screening and selecting candidates, businesses like yours can ensure they are choosing the right participants for their pilot program. With the right participants, companies can test their social selling initiative and determine if it is a viable strategy for driving sales and revenue.

Are you ready to get started on your pilot group? Let us know if this article was helpful and how your initial take on social selling went. 

Photos by Brooke CagleAustin DistelJohn Schnobrich, and Mimi Thian on Unsplash