Neha Dhanuka is a Global Social Selling program manager at Infosys. She speaks to Pooja about what needs to be done to create a social selling program at scale.

Key aspects to consider when building a social selling program

– Perception – Linked In is still perceived by many as a job-hunting platform and it’s important to educate sellers on the use of this as a tool to engage and build relationships with people.
– Learning – train on how to use the tool effectively
– Role-based programs – Understand the requirements of the role and develop a program aligned to their needs
– celebrate and feature success

Neha also talks about how they scale and measure success. Curious? give it a listen. This episode is also available as a podcast on ‘Coffee Collaboration and Enablement’ on Spotify, ITunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Audio Transcript

Pooja Kumar
Welcome to coffee Korea collaboration and enablement for ASEAN and India. My name is Pooja and I am I am here to build a place where sales enablement and business leaders can come together and find new ways of accelerating their sales team’s performance. Today, I am very honored and very happy to have nejad, the Nuka from emphasis ne had his LinkedIn coach and and global search, social selling Program Manager, add emphasis. And she has spent a lot of her time coaching and building or developing about 300 plus sales reps in their social scaling, selling skills, and helping them with building relationships lead generation and conversions through social selling. So Neha, finally you’re here, we’ve been wanting to talk for a long time. Thank you for joining us. You’re a busy girl. And and I’m really happy to have you here. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself? Thanks a lot.

Neha Dhanuka
Thank you so much Pooja for the intro and the invite. I’m so glad to be part of this. Porsche, my MBA, I joined Infosys. This is my second rule here. And I work as a global program manager for social selling. We support across teams at Infosys are coming to talking about a number will not justify

Pooja Kumar
are really across all teams, then what does that mean? More than more than sales? So

Neha Dhanuka
it’s across teams. It’s it’s sales, you can say human resources, delivery managers, leadership, like everyone.

Pooja Kumar
Wow. And Infosys is a huge company. So Wow, that’s huge. That’s a big, big responsibility. Yes. So tell me what spurred on why, why was it decided that or when also was a decided that a social selling program was needed in emphasis.

Neha Dhanuka
It started some five and a half years back. So we all know LinkedIn has its own misconceptions. When you’re too active on LinkedIn, people think that you are looking out for a job. Even I faced a similar question from my friends and colleagues, when they used to ask me, Hey, you are too active on LinkedIn, you know, your manager might know that you are looking out for a job. So imagine a situation if I’m meeting a client of mine. And as a, as a homework, I would have looked for his or her profile on LinkedIn. And I would have gained some insight. But at the same time, the other person whose meeting we would have also gone through my profile. But sadly, there’s nothing, it becomes very difficult for anyone to strike a conversation. That’s when we realized how important was to have an active LinkedIn profile. And coming to being active. My manager and I are quite active on LinkedIn. And as an organization, LinkedIn is more about networking, rather than job hunting. So as sales effectiveness, our task was to implement those. So that sales team can have like, they can develop meaningful relationships with small gestures. That’s what we stand for as a team. And that’s where the potential of social selling was realized.

Pooja Kumar
Yeah. And it’s so funny. There’s this assumption that LinkedIn is a job hunting or a job search platform, it’s so much more than that, right? It’s such a great way to network to build your network, to engage with people, not just customers, but on a human level. And especially recently, there it’s it’s turned into a platform where communities are coming together. You know, it’s really much more than a Job Search Network, and it should be used to its its best potential. So tell me, I’m gonna ask you a little bit more about the program and in a minute, but tell me a little bit about your enablement team, how many people in the global sales enablement team and how many of those people are dedicated to social selling program.

Neha Dhanuka
We are a small team of 13 people right now in global sales enablement team, although we are a small like part of the larger organization, but we work more in the startup where we can equip our team sales team with better solutions every day. And we are a team of two right now in social selling.

Pooja Kumar
Okay, so two people dedicated to social selling of the team of 30. That’s actually fantastic. That’s a really good number. And kudos to emphasis for for keeping the focus on social selling. It is such a great way of engaging with customers and recognizing that there’s a team needed for that. That’s brilliant. So tell me now about your program. What does it look like? How’s it structured? How did you go? How do you get started, can you tell us a little bit more about the social selling program that you run.

Neha Dhanuka
Sure. So Pooja, we are involved at various level levels beat enabling the users coaching them to use Sales Navigator license or zoominfo license, I mean, the various digital platforms that we use gamifying the process to create competition, sharing regular updates or best practices, as you can say, they have always dynamically evolved. Three, three things that I feel is important, as a as a coach is one is proper coaching of the tool, any tool that you are using, understanding the requirements based on the rule, because there are various levels. Who uses LinkedIn licenses? Like is it for hunting? Or is it is it for research teams? Is it for something else? So you have to find a solution for them. And last, but not the least, is featuring their success. That’s what it comes in the end.

Pooja Kumar
Okay, so that is a lot. So use of the coaching coaching of using the tool? What can you tell me a little bit more about that? Do you teach them and then coach them? Or it? Could you break that down a little bit more for people who might want to get started on social selling? Sure. So

Neha Dhanuka
basically, we train we trained our sales team centrally. I mean, it isn’t centrally managed by us. But in case if someone wants to train their team, they can. But overall, it’s managed centrally by us up like any, any platform that we use, we manage it centrally.

Pooja Kumar
Okay. That’s actually really good. So what when you say you fall through the journey, etc. Sorry, sorry to manage the contents centrally as well mayhem.

Neha Dhanuka
Contents as in Are you talking about the posts that go on LinkedIn? Yeah. Not really, we don’t manage it centrally, it is managed. I mean, our team doesn’t do that as a separate team, which is managing the content.

Pooja Kumar
Okay. Brilliant. Excellent. Okay. Um,

Unknown Speaker
so

Pooja Kumar
what are the goals of the program? And you talked about free chair featuring success? Can you tell me about what makes it successful? Sure.

Neha Dhanuka
So some of the goals of the program are clearing misconceptions. As I said, creating awareness, enabling the users making them understand the power of social selling, and building connects. And there are many such metrics during the social selling cycle, which is impacting, I mean, there are many such metrics, like how social selling is impacting them in the sales cycle, for example, beat using a tool in the beginning when they begin their prospecting cycle, or asking a fellow Sales Navigator user for an intro or closing the deal. So so there’s a lot of things involved. And if you ask me three things among that, one is what a deal that is being closed or influenced to relinquish connectivity in accounts, and obviously, social selling index.

Pooja Kumar
Okay. So Connect, so I understand deals being closed through through influence of influencing, at through through through the influence of social selling. Tell me a little bit more about connectivity of the accounts.

Neha Dhanuka
So So for example, if you have any account, and you have to see how many like how you are connected with that account, you have to see how many people in your team people at Infosys are connected to them. So we measure those kinds of metrics.

Pooja Kumar
Oh, that’s clever. Okay. Okay, so how many people? How many accounts have the people at Infosys connected to and how many people in those accounts? are they connected? That’s a nice measure. Brilliant. I have to tell you, this social selling index is a standard measure. I just don’t know if I’m convinced that it’s the right social selling measure. I mean, I know it’s standard, we’ve used it as well, and I know many people have. But I’m not convinced it’s the right measure. But I do like measuring on deals and measuring on account connectivity that is very good. SSI is important as well, but it’s just to make sure that people are active, but in a sales cycle. So what if I’ve got a SSI score of 90%? As long as I’m, you know, having the right conversations right.

Neha Dhanuka
To two pillars I feel among that is really important is one is like first pillar that is building your brand, because then you know how active the people are on LinkedIn when they are posting out articles, or they are posting anything on LinkedIn, basically how well they are, like, regular in posting any content. And second is that I feel this LinkedIn. Like when you’re connected to the right people, that is really important, because that’s how the that’s where the, like the decision makers are like when you’re connected to the right set of decision makers, that’s where the entire thing comes in. So I feel these two parameters are really In that way,

Pooja Kumar
okay, and other other branches down further, you get down further into brand management as well as connectivity. And who is it that you’re connected to? Now that’s clever, if you have that level of granular detail, that is a very clever way of looking at SSI. Very good, awesome. good tip that is. Okay. Is that so? So you train sellers around the world at emphasis on social selling, and your team manage that centrally? Is there any effort put into so it is important for sales leaders to be coaching their sales reps? Do you put any any effort into or focus into sales leaders being aware of how to use social selling effectively and how to coach their reps?

Neha Dhanuka
Yes, we do that. So when we whenever we are training, we are training a person so that it can be better utilized within the team. For example, if you are training a person, we would want him to be more effective with his team. So in a way they are sharing, they are sharing like the tips and tricks those tricks with the team. So that like play, if you are talking about one, just one feature that is like sharing, sharing the searches, so one person can create the search and share it with the rest of the team. So those are like small things, but but you know, in the end, when when the team works together, it really helps them to achieve the goal faster because one person has done and it is shared across team and talking about the training. They if they want, they can train their team, but it is centrally managed by us.

Pooja Kumar
Okay, so so. So you’re basically you’re training sales managers, so that they can coach their teams teams a bit, but you’re not expecting them to train their teams. Right?

Neha Dhanuka
They can, depending on the requirement, right, depending on how much they want to train, but the detailed training that happens centrally.

Pooja Kumar
Yeah. May I you know, that’s, I think that’s important. I’ll tell you why I, I think sales managers are very busy. And they’re often very busy. Either either, you know, running the business, or coaching the teams and coaching the teams and training the teams is different. I think it’s unfair to expect them to train their teams unless they want to, unless it’s required of a particular situation. They’re not specialized trainers, but they are the coaching skill is something that sales leaders have, must have. So it’s good to see that you’re you spend your time helping them coach the teams, as opposed to and you run the training. Again, I’m really, it’s good to see the focus of social selling and emphasis. It’s important, especially right now, let me ask you something, and we haven’t talked about this before. But have you seen a bit more of an uptake? Or or what’s the trend been? How long have you been doing this role for? I think you said a few years?

Neha Dhanuka
Yeah, I am doing this for I think around five years now.

Pooja Kumar
Okay. Are you seeing a difference in uptake over the last five years? With social selling in? In your experience?

Neha Dhanuka
Yes, definitely. There’s an uptick, because you know how, with the time changing now, if you see this, it’s a VC difference every year. But overall, if you compare it from last year, I mean, before last year, it, there’s a good uptake, because now everything has moved to digital. And this is the only platform where people can interact with their clients.

Pooja Kumar
Exactly. Yeah. And they climbed so much. I mean, I know. For me, I get so much email that I just I don’t know where to start. I can’t I don’t know where to start with reading emails. And calls is out of the way because I’m on zoom, all my life feels like all of the time, I’m on zoom. So someone wanted to contact me, I think LinkedIn is the best way and I think that’s the same thing with any person, right? LinkedIn or social media is the best way. So the uptake you’re saying has really increased in in the adoption of social selling. That says it’s really the only way in my mind right now to connect with customers. Okay, and your shared a lot and and you shared your expertise and some tips, which I am very grateful for, and I’m sure our listeners are very grateful for. There are no questions on chat at the moment. So I’d like to ask you, if someone were to start off with a social selling program or have someone wanted to, to not start off or ramp up their social selling program, or even to be able to get themselves more socially active, even if it’s not a social selling program at all. Do you have any tips for them?

Neha Dhanuka
Yes, I have some basic tips. So I always advise someone who is new to LinkedIn or someone who is little hesitant to start his or her journey. Do not think it’s only for job hunting. It’s, it’s it’s a, it’s a network. It’s a professional networking site in the end. So it’s like so you update your LinkedIn profile, list down or achievements and details post about topics or the work that you like, or that you do, build a brand for yourself. And obviously, do not fake anything on LinkedIn be be genuine. You can appreciate your colleagues on LinkedIn, wish them birthdays, wisdom, wish them work anniversaries, be in touch with people in your network. And above all, be consistent in whatever you are doing. That’s the key.

Pooja Kumar
Tips. So build your brand. If I wanted to get started with building my social profile, bring built my brand and be authentic about it. Be honest about it. Connect with my colleagues and anyone else I want to network with. And then be considered we wish them wish them birthdays. That’s a good tip. I never do that. I should do that more. I wish them on their work anniversaries and diversities because that information is there. And then finally, what was your last one? will be a bit your profile and be genuine. Yeah. And be consistent. I think you said which is important because you’d see some people coming in for little spurts. And then they’re off again. So I think it is important that you get consistent. Okay. Now this has been a great chat. Is there any final words you’d like to leave us with?

Neha Dhanuka
That’s, that’s all Pooja, I mean, just one thing to everyone. Maybe just just be consistent and just just be regular at what you’re doing. Do not like, be like really active and then just disappear for months and or years. Like just be consistent. And then always use hashtags.

Pooja Kumar
Oh, hashtags. Yes. Tell us more about hashtags. Why should I use a hashtag?

Neha Dhanuka
So So that’s how you improve your reach. Like whenever you are using a hashtag, like, if you search for say hashtag cloud, you’ll see how many followers it has. So whenever you’re using any search hashtag, that’s how the it’s reaching the audience. So you should always use hashtags in any of your posts.

Pooja Kumar
Okay, well, I’ve learned a lot. And I wasn’t, you know, you and I’ve had at least one conversation before, so I wasn’t expecting to learn any more than I already have. But I have learned a lot. Thank you very much for that. If others want to know some more, given that you’re a social selling expert, how will they find you?

Neha Dhanuka
You can drop me a note on LinkedIn. My ID is Dan O’Connor d h A and UK any ha you can find me on LinkedIn and you can drop me a note anything.

Pooja Kumar
Okay. Fantastic, man. Really appreciate it. This I have no questions on chat, but I’m sure that anyone who’s listened listening to this has taken off, taken away a few tips as well. So thank you for being here with us. Thanks for taking the time.