Social Selling Index (SSI) What Does It Mean?
Kylie and I were recently at an event where there was a buzz around LinkedIn’s new feature called the Social Selling Index (SSI).
This feature measures how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights and building relationships. It provides you with an industry rank SSI (comparing people in your industry) and network rank SSI (comparing people in your network).
Concerns of “How can I lift my score?” were echoed around the room when people discovered their scores were not as high as others.
This new LinkedIn diagnostic is good news, as it highlights social selling as the way forward for businesses and professionals. It is especially important when you consider that, thanks to their inbound social-selling program, IBM increased its sales by 400%, as reported by Hubspot Blogs.
If you’re trying to work out how to asses your SSI, you can find your personal SSI here. It looks like this:
The metric measures four areas:
- Establish your professional brand: This looks at how you add rich content through linking examples of your work, maintaining visibility by posting and interacting with content, and generating endorsements.
- Find the right people: This looks at how you use search tools, leverage warm introductions, research prospects and find the right people.
- Engage with insights: This looks at how you share resources, find and share articles, engage in discussion, leverage industry data and use relevant information when reaching out.
- Build relationships: This looks at how you connect with contacts, focus on decision makers, connect internally and nurture relationships.
This is the first time LinkedIn has shared a Social Selling Index, emphasising social selling as the future of sales and business development. Sales professionals in management consulting have an average score of 25.
As with all diagnostics, there are some considerations to be taken into account first:
- What are your goals? The SSI does not take into account what your individual goals and objectives are. It gathers data on your profile as it currently stands. This means that if you are launching a new product or entering a new market, LinkedIn will pull data from your history and you won’t get visibility of a particular segment.
- What is your measure? As the SSI does not relate to your current goals, the measure is general and not related to a specific strategy.
- Where is the conversation? Without a conversation or context, interpretations of the diagnostic can be subjective.
It is good news in that LinkedIn has introduced this diagnostic, as it raises awareness of social selling and gives people a benchmark. However, as with all diagnostics, it is important that it relates to your specific goals and what you want to achieve. Your profile is like a mirror and it needs to reflect what you want it to bring back to you. As Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero’s Journey said “The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.” Nothing truer could be said with leveraging your LinkedIn profile for social selling.
LinkedIn claims that a Sales Navigator upgrade can boost your SSI by 20% in six months. Sales Navigator offers some great features, but if you are considering the upgrade to lift your SSI, our advice is to make sure you are clear about the results and outcomes you want to achieve and how you will measure them. Simply purchasing Sales Navigator and thinking it will create a stream of incoming sales will not happen unless you do the work.
You may be connecting with hundreds of people, but are they the right people? You might be contributing to groups, but are they the groups your customers are in? It all comes back to relevance and ensuring your results align with your goals.
Generating activity for the purpose of volume means you risk engaging on an impersonal level on LinkedIn. This can make your connections feel like a commodity and make your interactions two-dimensional.
So before undertaking an aggressive sales approach, we recommend you respect your connections and consider:
- Does my profile reflect my ideal clients? Can they identify with their problems, challenges and fears in my profile?
- Is my profile fully search engine optimised and can I be easily found by my ideal client?
- Have I given enough value and positioned myself effectively to others through Thought Leadership on my profile?
- Am I prepared to personalise my connections on LinkedIn or am I going to use a “spray and pray” approach and hope for the best?
By taking some time to think about your behaviour when selling to your audience, you’re more likely to achieve results regardless of whether or not you upgrade your account to LinkedIn’s various offerings.
So, instead of the question being “How can I lift my score?” and then upgrading your account; the real question is…. “how many leads have I generated from my profile already?”
Love to hear your thoughts…
Jane Anderson and Kylie work with Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Experts and CEOs to leverage the expertise of their talent through LinkedIn.
They are the authors of “CONNECT: How to Leverage Your LinkedIn Profile for Business Growth and Lead Generation.”
To inquire about Jane speaking at your next event, please email email@example.com or click here.