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Sales Productivity Series: Get the Edge with Social Insights

If buyers no longer want to be sold to but do want relevant information and insights, what’s a sales rep to do? The answer is for them to tap into all the data at their disposal to inform smart interactions. Doing so makes it easier to engage when the moment is right and deepen connections over time.

There are plenty of golden nuggets to unearth in the social sphere. While salespeople can glean lots of information through social listening and by participating in the social channels where prospective buyers spend time, spending endless hours sifting through social data isn’t the most effective strategy. It can quickly overwhelm even the savviest of reps.

Help sales make sense of social streams

That said, sales reps also can’t afford to ignore this stream of information. Recognizing this, today’s top organizations enable their teams to make sense of social interactions and social buying signals without drowning them.

Brian Kelly, CMO of InsideView, calls this giving your sales team the “knowledge advantage.” And he advises the best way to empower them is to provide a tool that monitors and alerts reps of buying signals and other account activities. That way, they can prioritize interactions, understand what’s top of mind, and engage with timely, relevant messages.

Focus sales on relevant insights

Smart organizations are also providing their sales teams with access to CRM tools with embedded social intelligence. With real-time feeds from leading social channels connecting directly to lead and account contacts, these CRM systems allow reps to cut out the social noise and focus on the insights that matter. That means they can reach out when the time is right and communicate about the topics that matter. Plus, with all the intelligence they need in one place, they can cut the time spent on pre-call research by over 70%.

Here are three great ways to take advantage of social intelligence embedded in CRM:

1. Find and connect with new prospects

  • Tap into social networking contacts to jump-start “warm” lead-generation efforts.
  • Identify prospects by focusing on conversations and topics relevant to your product or service.

2. Engage in more meaningful conversations

  • View social networking conversation history within the customer system of record.
  • Utilize interests and discussion threads for more relevant conversations.

3. Better understand your customers

  • Gain a more holistic customer view by instantly seeing a social networking profile for each contact.
  • Better track relevant professional events such as job changes and promotions.
  • Identify chief online champions and influencers.

Work your internal network

The power of social doesn’t stop there. The hallmark of every successful sales rep is finding ways to take advantage of every resource possible to get the deal done. Some claim that in the most effective sales teams, “strong sellers don’t merely execute their day-to-day tasks well… they rely on collective skills in ways that weren’t possible just a few short years ago.”

Reps need to harness the power of their own social networks, namely their colleagues. It’s just a matter of tapping into the combined social intellect of their companies by working like a network.

That’s why so many organizations are adopting enterprise social networking applications like Yammer. Here’s good reason to follow in their footsteps: the 2014 Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study found that 91% of world-class organizations collaborate across all departments to close large deals, while only 53% of all organization collaborated on large deals.

Using an internal social network, sales reps can collaborate more effectively and query their colleagues directly. Just think how much time they’ll save finding information and getting relevant answers.

Arming sales reps in this way should be a top priority for sales management. By better collaborating with their colleagues, sales reps often feel more engaged at their companies. Research shows engaged employees are more productive. Clearly, when we’re talking about the sales force, that’s a direct impact on the bottom line.

Read the other posts in the Always Be Closing blog series

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