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To Build Or Buy: The Real Cost Of Social Selling Adoption

January 2, 2016


Training is crucial for developing new skills and capabilities, this is especially true for Social Selling. As buyers are becoming more proficient online doing their research, your sales team needs to truly understand the importance of social media and as an organization make it a mandatory goal to develop these skills. But should you buy or build a Social Selling program?

Over the last 18 months, enterprise organizations have been debating this exact question, whether it’s better to purchase a Social Selling program, or build one from scratch internally. Let’s look at the facts, and the pros and cons of both options.

Building your own Social Selling curriculum and certification

Let’s first examine the pros and cons of building your own curriculum and certification from scratch.


You know your business

The biggest advantage is that you know your business better than anyone else. This means that you’ll learn all the intricate details of Social Selling—albeit through trial and error.

Can customize your curriculum

You can build your curriculum to what you believe your organization will adapt to and absorb, and customize the types of learning, whether e-learning, workshops, instructor-led sessions or coaching. There are also available resources online where you can grab tips, tricks and tactics from.


You need to do all the legwork

The major disadvantage with building your own Social Selling program is like anything else you’re building—it’s like building a business within a business. You need to overtake the project, find subject matter experts, and identify technology. You need to figure out what technologies to use, the costs, when to deploy, and what systematic approach to take.  

You don’t know the recipe

I look at building a Social Selling program like baking a cake. When you build a Social Selling program from scratch, you don’t know the ingredients, what order you need to incorporate them, what mixture, how long to bake it, and what the taste will be like (i.e., what the success outcome of the customer will be).

Slow speed to market

The other major disadvantage is speed to market. To build a real certification course, you’ll need thousands of man hours that will take approximately six months to build, and will cost you six figures. This doesn’t include deploying the program using your own facilitators and trainers into the market. In short, your ability to get into market with a Social Selling program is now measured in years, not months. Every month you’re not using Social Selling, your competitors are shaping buying journeys, selling with insights, using trigger-based selling tools such as LinkedIn. In short, you’re losing all that momentum, and have lost new opportunities and revenue.

Buying a Social Selling curriculum


Getting into market immediately.

One of the biggest advantages of buying a Social Selling program is getting in market immediately. As long as you choose the right vendor by performing due diligence, you have the ability to be in market and fully certified within 90 days.

They know the recipe for success

You’re buying a program from someone who’s already built the recipe. They already have the right prescriptive process, the technology, and know how to train, when to train, and the best learning methods.

Speed to market

When you buy a Social Selling certification program, you can get quota attainment in under 90 days. When you’re taking on a project like this that you can execute within short order, buying only makes sense.


Unforeseen expense

Most enablement teams probably don’t have an expense like this budgeted, so it’s an unforeseen expense. This means that they need to convince other stakeholders, such as commercial business units and marketing to get on board with buying a training program. Let’s face it. Training is expensive, and the cost-per-user is expensive.

You need to do due diligence

You need to do due diligence to find the right Social Selling curriculum for your organization. You need to evaluate the following:

  • Is the program flexible?
  • Is it built on synchronous or asynchronous learning?
  • What learning management system does it use?
  • How is it measured?

It’s a lot to consider, especially when you’re not creating the program yourself. But there’s a lot of empirical evidence that shows that purchasing a Social Selling training program has a great return on investment. Some may doubt the effectiveness of sales training or find it hard to measure. However continuous training can give 50% higher net sales per employee according to the American Society for Training and Development.

At Sales for Life, we’ve designed a certification used by 60,000 sales professionals. It’s also crowd-sourced, meaning that all of those best practices that speed up quota attainment have already been achieved. It can be deployed in 90 days instead of taking a whole year, which means that you won’t lose the opportunity for market conversation.  

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Source: Sales For Life
To Build Or Buy: The Real Cost Of Social Selling Adoption