Best Practices for Creating a Social Media Engaged Sales Function


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In the age of social media, salespeople must learn to embrace new and emerging channels and use them to gain a competitive advantage. However, it’s important to temper the hot new buzzwords like “Social CRM” and “Sales 2.0 “with a dose of reality. There’s no reason to shy away from social media. The tools and tactics that worked 10 years ago are just as relevant today, but, now there are new avenues that can and should be used to augment sales processes. It turns out, the real best practices for embracing social in the sales function aren’t the same ones you typically read about on trendy blog posts and whitepapers about SCRM. In fact, research shows that Top Performing sales reps do in fact leverage social media, but many of the best practices that make them industry leaders are hardly competitive barriers and the learning curve is minimal. Anyone can leverage Top Performing tactics to save time and dramatically boost their bid-to-win ratio. Research suggests there are approximately seven high impact tactics that every salesperson should be using to incorporate social media into day-to-day sales processes.

Don’t miss next weeks webinar “7 Imperatives for Creating a Socially Engaged Sales FunctionTuesday June 26, 10am PST/ 1pm EST

What does the research say?

Recent research from Gleanster (2011 Integrated CRM Survey, n=268) reveals two interesting trends with respect to social and the sales function. One, most salespeople don’t think social media has had a significant impact on the sales process (just one in ten sales reps thought social media “significantly” impacted the sales process). Second, the tactics that made salespeople successful 10 years ago are the same tactics that make them successful today- social media hasn’t really been disruptive to making a sale, but it has augmented and changed the buying and sales cycle in more subtle ways. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of salespeople said they actively used social media to monitor or connect with sales prospects. Social enhances the sales process and provides information and context about how buyers make decisions and the challenges they face that lengthen the sales cycle.

Sales reps indicate social media has not had a significant impact on the sales process, but 9 out of 10 reps use social media channels.

The research also reveals sales reps from Top Performing organizations (organizations that outperform peers in revenue growth and bid-to-win ratios) are five times more likely than all other respondents to incorporate inbound and outbound touches with social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and the corporate blog- in a complex B2B lifecycle. So, exactly how are these Top Performing companies using social media? Well, Gleanster has identified seven practical best practices for utilizing social media in sales. These include best practices for actively identifying and building relationships with influencers, the right way to set up a social media profile, and identifying exactly which social media sites are best for lead generation.

Want to know more? Join me this Tuesday June 26 at 10am PST/ 1pm EST for a deep dive on the seven best practices. I’ll be presenting a webinar titled “7 Imperatives for Creating a Socially Engaged Sales Function“. We will explore what the research is telling us about social media best practices in the complex sale, Top Performing tactics, and practical recommendations you can implement immediately.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Michiels
Ian Michiels is a Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research, a globally known IT Market Research firm covering marketing, sales, voice of the customer, and BI. Michiels is a seasoned analyst, consultant, and speaker responsible for over 350 published analyst reports. He maintains ongoing relationships with hundreds of software executives each year and surveys tens of thousands of industry professionals to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Michiels has also worked with some of the world's biggest brands including Nike, Sears Holdings, Wells Fargo, Franklin Templeton, and Ceasars.


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