Written by: David Pennington
Social media is often thought of as an external, customer-facing sales tool. But inside the organization, social technologies are powerful tools that you can use to engage your employees for real-time feedback, enabling them to collaborate on tasks and connect to the resources they need for success. Imagine your ability to harness and develop new business ideas when your employees are all connected, working together, real-time.
Sales professionals need to be able to get up to speed quickly, keeping track of the network of people and business events that are relevant to closing deals. They are looking for tools that can make them more educated not just about the prospect but also about your organization’s offerings, before, during, and after sales discussions.
But what’s the biggest complaint in sales? Having to spend too much time on non-selling activities. Sales people are constantly looking for answers and expertise to close more deals faster. In our personal lives it’s fairly easy to find people and information we need – we use search engines and social networks to find what we want. Why wouldn’t the same approach make sense at work? This is why social experiences should be an integral part of business solutions.
Ask any salesperson how they meet revenue targets and they’ll tell you it’s all about how they can stay on top of the situation. How does a sales rep cut through the clutter of daily business and listen to what’s going on in the context of his specific accounts, leads, contacts, and deals? He wants business tools that help him “follow” the people, organizations, and events he cares about. And of course he needs access to this information no matter where he is—at his desk or on the road through a tablet or phone.
Social tools can also help accelerate the sales process. Salespeople constantly need to make decisions about the deals and people they work with. Public social networks like LinkedIn provide additional insight into customer connections, preferences, behaviors and sentiments, which can lead to more productive sales engagements. Pulling this information into daily productivity tools—such as Outlook email client or CRM, for instance—in a way that allows people to manage their social networks and stay up-to-date directly in that tool, is a real benefit to the sales professional and the organization as a whole.
Salespeople are results-oriented—they like to have achievements acknowledged (and shared). Social tools for business can be configured to automatically post updates when actions occur, such as closing a deal. The system can be a real support to someone in this role, offering instant acknowledgement and making sure everyone in his organization’s network—from the boss to the VP of Sales—is aware of the efforts and successes of the sales team.
We are committed to providing tools for your sales teams to bring them rich social experiences that help them communicate and collaborate while also harnessing external social networks for new ways to find, connect with, and understand customers. We think it makes sense to help sales reps spend less time looking for information or reporting to the team and more time turning prospects into customers. What do you think?
Post originally written for Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/microsoftdynamics/2013/03/14/embracing-social-sales-inside-and-outside-the-organization/