Unlocking the Virtual Door: Sales in Today’s Online World

Published: January 13, 2015

By Richard Dym, CMO, Gagein

Once upon a time, a salesperson would knock on a door, shake some hands, and look his prospect right in the eye. Sales were all about building real, lasting relationships. Today, relationships matter more than ever. Friends do still buy from friends, but they do it online, not at the corner store. Social media may be “social,” but gone are the days of sitting over a cup of coffee for an hour with a prospect.

So, is all lost? Have personal relationships — the bread and butter of salespeople — been diminished in today’s virtual world? The answer is a resounding no. Indeed a study by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association for the first time quantified that word of mouth drives 13% of consumer sales. Digital Insights released its 2014 social media stats, noting that more than two users sign up for LinkedIn per second, and B2B marketers using blogs generate 67% more leads.

There is a rapt audience available for sure, but the challenge is knowing when to leverage all these social connections to the best results. As they used to say on the classic sci-fi show the “X-Files,” “the truth is out there.” The trick is finding it.

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Everything you need to know about when and why to use each social connection is available on the Internet. But it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Luckily we’re living in the age of artificial intelligence and big data analysis. These are fascinating technologies in their own right, but more importantly there are tools available that utilize this technology to mine the Internet for gems of information that will pinpoint when and why to contact each individual “friend”.

Take advantage of this technology and let it do the heavy lifting. And don’t forget these five simple but powerful tips for using social media to your advantage:

Follow Your Friends And Acquaintances — They bought from you before and, at the right time, they will buy from you again.

Take Full Advantage Of Every Opportunity — Every change in position creates four sales opportunities. The person you’ve sold to before has moved on, creating opportunity number one. The new person taking his/her place is a definite prospect since you already have a relationship with the company. The person your friend has replaced at their new company is another prospect. Find them; new executives typically make a lot of changes. And don’t forget, the executive who replaced your friend came from somewhere, creating another new executive momentum opportunity.

Never Miss An Opportunity — Information has an expiration date. You want to be the first, not the 15th, person to reach out. Find a solution that works the way you do. It should deliver real-time information and be as mobile as you are.

Find That Reason To Be First To Engage — There are tools available that will cut through the Internet clutter, identifying “trigger” events that create selling opportunities. Find the reason and be first to act upon it. The early bird does get the worm.

Demand Integration — Just as in the intelligence world, in sales the trick is putting the pieces together. You’ve found a sales opportunity, now identify those social connections and understand your prospect. Look for a solution that brings all of the pieces together. If you live in a CRM solution like Salesforce, find a solution that integrates with it.

Selling has evolved from impersonal cold calling to “better late than never” responding to inbound leads to today’s social selling. Tomorrow’s sales leaders will multiply the effectiveness of social selling by adding timing and a reason to engage. Try it and the results will speak for themselves.


Richard Dym, CMO of Gagein, is an entrepreneurial CMO with 25 years of private and public company experience marketing SaaS and Cloud offerings to SMBs and enterprises worldwide. Follow him on Twitter at @richarddym or connect with him on LinkedIn


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