Sales Strategies in a Social and Mobile World

Social media and mobile sales have changed the way we relate, communicate, and conduct business. Eric Qualman, the author of the bestselling book, Socialnomics, said it best, “We don’t have a choice whether we do social media; the question is how well we do it.” Let’s look at the facts: Only 14% of people trust advertising; 93% of marketers use social media for business. Big Shift #1: we’re moving from customer relationship management (CRM) to customer engagement management, aka Social CRM. Tech research firm Gartner predicts that by 2012 the Social CRM market will be more than $1 billion with 100+ companies competing for this rapidly growing pie. The three leading vendors are JiveSalesforce, and Lithium.

If you’re still unclear about how to approach sales success strategies in a social and mobile world, picture your office water cooler going global, enabling B2B sales conversations in real time, 24/7. Here are the numbers:

  • 175 million users log on to Facebook every 24 hours.
  • 65 million access Facebook through a mobile device and they share 30 billion (billion!) pieces of content every month and that number includes 3 billion photos and videos.
  • 84% of Internet users watch videos online.
  • YouTube visitors watch 2 billion videos every day.
  • LinkedIn attracts one new member every second.
  • Econsultancy reports that over 25 billion tweets were sent last year.

Big Shift #2: Prospects care more about what their peers think than what companies think. Chest thumping is dead. Even the largest companies have to abandon the old script, “me big, you little, I tell, you listen.” Smart companies have handed the controls over to the community by offering different levels of autonomy, engagement and collaboration. Notable examples: amazon.com, and mystarbucksidea.com.

Initiating and leading great conversations online is only one side of the story.  Gen Y salespeople consider email a thing of the past: they no longer cold call; they shifted to social calling; and they are far more productive. They also embrace new online video tools like iMeet.com and have discovered that the best way to persuade is by looking into a prospect’s eyes -- online.

Since social media is accessible on most mobile devices, real-time collaboration is the new rage. A VP of Sales shared the story of driving in a cab to visit a client. He posted the following question on Salesforce Chatter, a social network for businesses offering secure collaboration and knowledge-sharing for CRM:

Q: Visiting XYZ in London, any thoughts that I could share to enhance our relationship?

Within minutes the company’s CFO shared:

A: Yes, they owe us $400,000 that’s 60 days overdue.

The result: the VP was able to eliminate the bottleneck in the company’s payment process. Problem solved.

The social media world is slowly moving in a new direction. Let’s say you are working in a company that employs 600 salespeople. Would you want to follow everybody in that company on a social network? No. You’d follow the top 10 thought leaders and learn what’s important to them. Big Shift #3: the emphasis is moving from quantity connections to quality connections. Social learning companies like Saba benefit from this new trend by continually refining social learning tools.

Someone recently told me: “I consider the iPhone as an extension cord to my brain.” Social media has become a second brain for everybody. Why not use it more effectively to serve the community and serve your business?

-Gerhard Gschwandtner, blog.sellingpower.com, twitter: gerhard20