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Sales leaders know that metrics matter, but even the best managers often overlook a crucial part of their teams’ collective success: choosing key performance indicators (KPIs) that actually tell them something useful.

The best metrics don’t just show you what your sales reps are doing: they reveal what’s working for them and what isn’t. And as social selling becomes more prevalent, managers need KPIs that can take social activity into account. With that in mind, we’ll examine three of the most useful social metrics—Social Selling Index (SSI) scores, network growth, and inbound connection requests—looking closely at how each measures engagement and reveals opportunities.

Why the Right Metrics Matter

You already know that data is a critical component of staying competitive in our modern sales climate. Unfortunately, looking at the wrong metrics is worse than not using metrics at all. In an increasingly social-driven sales word, managers need to take advantage of metrics that are actually meaningful.

Individual reps may not love the idea of having their every action measured and monitored, but great sales metrics aren’t about pointing the finger at underperforming reps. Instead, metrics should reveal strengths and shortcomings, so that management can fill in the gaps with tools and coaching. This is especially important for social selling, which many salespeople are still mastering.  

Incorporating Social Selling Index (SSI)

When it comes to social selling, LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index may be the most important metric of all. SSI measures an individual salesperson’s social selling effort and engagement through four essential elements: establishing a personal brand, finding the right people, engaging with social selling insights, and building relationships with decision makers.

SSI isn’t just a useful benchmark for setting goals within a social selling program—it’s also a way to encourage engagement. According to the Altimeter Group, only 34% of businesses feel that their social strategy is connected to business outcomes. However, social selling leaders with high SSI scores create 45% more opportunities and are 51% more likely to reach quota than non-social peers. Thus, by pointing to the connection between raising SSI scores and success, managers can drive their teams to make a lasting commitment to social selling.

Network Growth & Inbound Connections

SSI score gives you a great snapshot of your sales team’s activity, but it doesn’t tell you everything. There are plenty of KPIs that managers can use to measure their team’s effectiveness, but most traditional metrics fall short when it comes to social selling. The best data should tell you which activities are working and which ones aren’t in terms of social engagement—but those metrics are surprisingly hard to find.

Of the many social KPIs, two of the most revealing are social network growth and number of inbound connection requests on LinkedIn. Social network growth tells you how much effort each rep is putting into building their online network, an activity that always pays dividends down the road.

The number of inbound connections helps to reveal the strength of the rep’s social presence by detailing how much interest their profile is garnering. Of course, you also need to ensure that salespeople are connecting with the right people, which is why these metrics should always be viewed in context with SSI and other indicators.

Social selling is still a brave new world, and not every manager or rep is ready to commit—but those that jump in early will reap the rewards. As you implement social selling, remember that information is power. The right metrics don’t just tell you who’s engaging and who isn’t—they can also reveal how social activity leads to measurable sales results.

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Originally published at LinkedIn Sales Solutions, reposted here with permission from our 2017 Gold sponsor, LinkedIn.

Alex Hisaka. (2016). 3 Social KPIs to Guide Your Team to Social Selling Success. Available: https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/blog/sales-leaders/2016/11/3-social-kpis-to-guide-your-team-to-social-selling-success-. Last accessed 14/09/2017.

3 Social KPIs to Guide Your Team to Social Selling Success