‘Quick hit’ cold calling must be one of the great banes of our times; intrusive for the recipient and no doubt soul-destroying for the caller who is often left to dodge the bullets of abuse or indifference all in the pursuit of a lead.
With a radical rethink long overdue, social selling which takes benefits of social network engagement into the business sphere is emerging as the frontrunner, boasting the capabilities to warm up the sales process and in turn thaw out the usual frosty receptions.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook with their follows, mentions and blog posts offer a wealth of information and insight around potential prospects to provide the kind of market intelligence which translates to far more informed approaches. As an engagement tool, sales professionals can glean a far greater insight into their prospects and customers’ habits and preferences ensuring that all important contact is far more likely to be tailored, relevant and credible.
As well laying the groundwork and establishing a real time, consistent dialogue with the client, this approach is crucial to building that all important layer of trust, the core foundation that underpins any successful sales process. All in all it makes for a powerful proposition and the statistics around it speak for themselves revealing that sales reps who employ these methods are 79% more likely to attain their targets than those who don’t.
But recognising and embracing this potential is only part of the story. For the process to really deliver, the right system is crucial if the full benefits are to be extracted.
Social media is an ever-changing animal and as such needs to be monitored and harnessed as holistically as possible through software that draws the various channels together in one place while combining them with host of other core functions. Step forward the newer breed of CRM systems which have evolved from their primary function as account management tools to all-encompassing multi-layered systems with the ability to fully integrate sales with digital marketing.
It means that as well as providing critical call and e-marketing features it also offers campaign management and social media all in one place, in short the kind of technology which has a steer on the more well-known competitors such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft.
This kind of development is aimed squarely at the SME sector, the very market which may have assumed its size and budget precluded it from such cutting edge innovation or that it would be too time-consuming and complex to be a viable prospect.
Indeed these are the kind assumptions that can hold small businesses back and deny them the opportunity to engage more effectively with their customers on a global scale. The ambivalence is reflected in our own recent telemarketing survey – in which 30% of respondents admitted they did not or were not interested in tracking their customers’ activity on their own website.
This is an incredible opportunity for small businesses to get on board with technology that can transform their sales and marketing activity in ways that they would never have thought possible.
And just as importantly, it is an approach that I believe will help to address some of the negative perceptions around selling by making the whole process a far more astute and positive experience both for the sales professional and the prospect.
By, Peter Connell, Managing Director, Call Pro CRM