Yes! LinkedIn Releases Its Social Selling Index Benchmarking To The Masses

There seems to be no end to the fascination the financial services industry—and mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) firms in particular—have for the potential of LinkedIn to help drive sales and revenue.

Content-wise, the Economy and Finance & Banking are among the most popularly followed LinkedIn channels, and this certainly warms the hearts of content marketers. But personal brand-building and relationship data tracked by LinkedIn suggests that there are miles to go before LinkedIn-connecting will contribute, at least at a meaningful level, to business results.

LinkedIn today announced a step that should help those of you hard at work training and empowering your sales forces on LinkedIn. This post updates a topic I commented on in June.

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the short version of what follows: Log in to LinkedIn and click on to see your own Social Selling Index (SSI) as of today. At the same time, you’ll see measures of how you rank in your industry and your network. Each one of your wholesalers, national accounts, institutional and inside salespeople should be able to see the same when logged in to their accounts. This is a benchmark off which all efforts can start to be measured.

Because we’re all friends here, I’ll share my SSI to give you an idea of where I need to improve to be a better social seller. Seventy on a scale of 100 is not a score I’d ever be happy with—the fact that a 70 ranks in the top 1% of the financial services industry points to the industry’s room for improvement. As social media coaches do their magic across the asset management industry, I will expect—even root for—this ranking to sink.

Some Background

For your background, LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index is a metric developed to help sales professionals benchmark their performance across the four pillars of social selling:

  • The creating of a personal brand
  • Finding the right people
  • Engaging with insights
  • Building strong relationships

Each of these is measured on a 1-25 point scale for a possible high score of 100. The higher the SSI, the better a professional is positioned to connect with leads, and ultimately close more sales, according to LinkedIn. 

Average SSIs of financial services and insurance sales professionals are low across the board—22.1 on a 100-point scale as of August 2014 data. Professionals in just the investment management industry scored a tad better—22.8 as of November 2014 data. See my June 2015 post for more data and detail.

The post I’d written two months ago expressed begrudging admiration for the SSI.

Why the admiration (I actually called it “genius”)? By creating a benchmarking approach and assigning scores, LinkedIn found a way to drive adoption of a performance measure on which tracking improvement is possible only by heightened use of their Sales Navigator platform.

Why begrudging? After sitting in on multiple Webinars and other discussions, I felt that LinkedIn was teasing us in an unhelpful way. Everyone who has a LinkedIn profile has an SSI computed by LinkedIn but to find out what yours was, you needed to talk to a sales rep. Also, the still active (as of this morning) LinkedIn page where you can submit a request to get your SSI has an asterisked note that the SSI is for companies with over 100 employees and 10 sales reps.

This command and control approach made me crazy—a user’s participation on the LinkedIn platform revealed something to LinkedIn that they didn’t in turn share with the user? They could help all, but chose to help just the paying customers? From a new media platform that was old school.

But this change makes it right. According to an email I received from LinkedIn this morning, the index is available to all 380 million users. Obviously, not all are going to care about their social selling competency but many will. Sales managers and trainers will still need to access the LinkedIn product to see multiple SSIs, I’m assuming.

Onward and upward.