Supercharging sales productivity with social business


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Last month IDG released its 2010 Sales Barometer Study: Guidance for Sales and Sales Operations Executives, surveying the IT industry. It found there was a need to lift productivity:

  1. The rise in sales costs outpaced sales growth
  2. More leads are needed to close a deal than ever before; and the key,
  3. Sales time was not optimized.

The need to optimize sales time stood out. Sales’ administrative time is about 20% of the average sales person’s work week; however, said IDG there should be more “focus more on improving the quality of the time invested by sales reps in preparing for customer interactions. (Sales reps spend approximately 17% of their time today on preparing for customer interactions)“.

However, despite that time spent in preparation “feedback from IT buyers, indicating that over 50% of sales reps are insufficiently prepared for customer meetings“, says the report.

The challenge of selling into a Selling into a socially connected business world is that

  •  Lead flow has slowed down
  • Customers connect with customers for experience exchange and product information
  • Knowledge and information is omnipresent in the Internet
  • Price information are more transparent than ever before.

Keeping on going with the old processes or “MORE CRM” is not going to achieve the outcomes, which in the past, one might have expected.

In Social Selling Axel Schultze explains how selling into a highly connected business society has changed. The new sales engagement model requires new tools, not separated from the CRM but an adjunct. The key tools needed are those which help identify clients and prospects in their social networks, and allow sales people to rapidly and effectively navigate those social networks to gather information and to chime in where it can be helpful.

This Xeesm 2020 slideshare presentation really explains the new technique well – Focus on relevant people; visit 20 clients in 20 minutes every day; know what is on top of their mind; become one of their trusted connections; know when the time is right to sell. If we think of the 20% of sales people’s time week spent on admin then Xeesm 2020 might recover some of that which is being spent ineffectually.

The Xeesm tool is the first of these types of tools, developed to help the time management issue of keeping up with social networking, and aimed at the sales and marketing teams. And websites such as Social Business One are focused on this particular new way of selling and its relationship to CRM and customer engagement, as well as social business strategies.

In fact these new approaches may be the only way to achieve some of the productivity objectives which IDG advocates. More of the old isn’t going to cut the ice anymore, because the buyers world has moved out of alignment with the sales persons’ tools. The new approaches will also address two other IDG recommendations – improved cross-functional sales enablement, and better leverage of sales automation.

This is the beginning of a new era of relationship selling, and the chinks in the armour of old sales and CRM are going to widen in 2010. Fortunately the new methods and tools have arrived in a nick of time!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Walter Adamson
I help firms create optimal customer experiences by integrating social data, teams & processes with enterprise systems. The much vaunted 360-view of the customer can be a bottomless pit without a clear data strategy. I help you deliver a greatly improved customer experience starting with a "45-degree" view of the customer, fully utilising social data analytics. I clarify your objectives and what data you need to service them, and guide you to operationalise "social at scale" to consistently deliver valuable customer experience at every social touch point.


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