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Sales Gets Social: The Rising Tide Of Social Engagement Tools

Screen Shot 2019 07 29 at 9.51.33 AMIn the early stages of launching my company Grapevine6, we met with all kinds of businesses to find a fit for our social engagement tool. One of those early conversations summed up the negative perception of social selling. The director of an inside sales team asked, “Why am I paying our reps to spend half their time on LinkedIn when they’re just building their résuméto get another job?”

Management should have known better. Salespeople are driven to generate revenue and don’t spend half their day doing something that doesn’t drive sales. Social isn’t just for wasting time or finding a job. It’s a powerful resource for advancing the buying cycle and is especially effective for considered purchases where trust is key. It’s a Rolodex that’s never out of date, a network you can be in front of 24/7 and a treasure trove of background information on every contact you want to reach.

SAP Adopts Social Selling

It seems obvious now, but it took a few early adopters to prove the business case. Global technology giant SAP jumped in early and had so much success that it scaled up to a global social selling program. Building over 1 billion Euros in pipeline across 15,000 salespeople around the world, SAP proved that social selling was a game changer.

Sales wasn’t alone in using social media. Early on, marketing recognized the stickiness of social, which created a huge opportunity to drive brand awareness and more importantly, build credibility. The Edelman Trust Barometer consistently showed that companies had a trust problem. Consumers trusted their friends, not brands. Social marketing was a way to tap into that social proof.

Content Marketing Jumps In

The technology supporting the first wave of social marketing specifically served brands. Highly complex tools sifted through the firehose of social content to identify brand mentions and orchestrate multi-touch campaigns. While effective, these technologies demanded dedicated expert resources to operate, which restricted access to mid-to-large enterprises. There was a gap in the market to make social and content marketing more accessible to individuals and small businesses.

Employee Advocacy Gains Traction

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As social marketing evolved and matured, brand marketers also saw an opportunity to exploit employee social networks to amplify their messages. Brands were investing heavily in content, and any added impressions helped ROI. A new set of tools emerged in the employee advocacy space that served up marketing content to employees to post in a simple application. Dozens of advocacy apps appeared, but results were hit or miss. Because posting brand content wasn’t authentic and didn’t necessarily deliver any real value for the employee, companies constantly needed to come up with outside incentives to keep employees posting. Giving the same content to every employee caused user adoption to suffer.

The one-size-fits-all approach to content was particularly frustrating for the sales team. Sales was the most interested in engaging customers on social to build relationships with buyers, but posting the same brand content as everyone else was turning customers off. They needed relevant third-party content that was authentic, helpful and could build a personal brand that buyers could connect with and trust. Employee advocacy tools elevated the company brand, but a new wave of tools was needed to that elevate the salesperson’s brand.

Getting Personal With AI

The key to creating an authentic brand on social is personalization, but marketing could never manually curate personalized content for an entire salesforce of thousands. AI changes the game by enabling differentiation at scale. The next wave of social selling tools is here and has content and AI at its core. Tools like Grapevine6 use AI to read through the thousands of articles published yesterday to find the 10 that are most relevant to each salesperson’s brand.

AI also enables scaling regulatory and risk management in social selling. Digital risk tools from Proofpoint, SafeGuard Cyber, ZeroFox and ThetaLake can inspect content, including video and images, for dozens of different types of risk that impact corporate brands. They can also secure social accounts from security risks, like hackers.

As both the market and tools mature, companies that sell on relationships must be actively engaged in social selling. The practice has moved past the early adopter stage and is becoming table stakes for a modern digital salesforce. Today, with the right tools, salespeople in any industry can be empowered to develop an authentic personal voice on social and leverage the full potential of these channels without posing a regulatory or reputational risk to their employers.  


Mike Orr is the Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer at Grapevine6, where he is responsible for product delivery. Before joining the Grapevine6 team, Mike spent several years in management consulting, working with some of Canada's marquee brands. He led a skunkworks and project management team at one of Canada's leading digital advertising agencies on projects that won global awards and recognition.

B2B Inside Sales Teams Leverage Social, Video And Data To Reach Top Prospects

The image of the B2B sales rep flying around the country to make in-person presentations — followed by long lunches with prospects — is fading. While most experts aren’t predicting the total elimination of B2B field sales reps, leading organizations such as Cox Media, Betts Recruiting and DoubleDutch are using tools such as social data mining, predictive technologies, video emails and more to bolster the success of their inside sales teams.

The PeopleLinx Social Selling Platform

PeopleLinx is a social selling tool designed to help sales professionals demonstrate expertise, deliver insights and engage buyers through social networks.

Features/Functions

The PeopleLinx platform’s personalized guidance feature prompts salespeople to build relevant social networks and deliver insights via social media. Sales leaders can also map their teams’ activity to deal outcomes to measure social selling ROI.

Targeted Users

PeopleLinx is used by sales professionals and senior sales leaders in B2B organizations and professional services firms.

Compatibility

PeopleLinx is a Salesforce ISV Partner and the tool is available via the AppExchange. Microsoft Dynamics integration is scheduled for later this year.

Delivery/Pricing Models

The solution is a cloud-hosted service, accompanied by launch and training services. The product is priced on an annual, per-seat subscription model. Professional services and installations are priced based on project scope. Contact PeopleLinx for a quote.

Competitive Positioning

PeopleLinx is designed to deliver personalized guidance at enterprise scale. The guided user experience makes social selling easy for salespeople and measurable for sales leaders in organizations of all sizes, from small businesses to the Fortune 500.

Contact Information

PeopleLinx
1835 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
267-773-7320
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leadspace-Eloqua Integration Enables Lead Targeting Through Social Data

Oracle Marketing Cloud-LeadspaceLeadspace announced a new partnership with Oracle, enabling the social-driven demand generation platform to integrate with the Oracle Eloqua marketing automation solution.

The integration will enable marketers to enrich existing leads or import leads from Leadspace seamlessly into the Eloqua platform, listen for buying signals across multiple online sources and identify and engage new customers based on this insight. The combination utilizes social data, Big Data and other sources to help marketers understand and target the most valuable prospects.

LinkedIn Exec Shares Strategies For Social Selling Success

social media shutterstock 123453199Social media has long been the darling of B2C marketers, as it lends itself to quick, on-the-spot interactions with potential buyers. While the B2B sales cycle is longer and more complex, there are many opportunities to use social media to generate and nurture leads and close more deals.

During a recent webinar, titled: Adding Social Fuel To Demand Generation Programs, Koka Sexton, Sr., Social Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, explained how sales teams can leverage social media platforms to expand their connections and bolster their demand generation efforts.

Twitter’s New Lead Gen Cards Appeal To B2B Marketers With Seamless Data Capture

TwitterWhen B2B marketers send out a typical paid tweet, they have to direct leads to a landing page with a form for their name, company, email and any other pertinent bits of data they want to capture. As any marketer knows, when prospects have to go to another site and fill out a form it increases the likelihood that they will just abandon the task.

That is all about to change with Twitter’s new Lead Generation Cards, which are being called revolutionary by some industry observers and could have an impact on how other social media outlets address the needs of B2B marketers going forward.

B2B Content2Conversion Takeaway: Poor Marketing-Sales Alignment Is Costly

C2C 13 Sales EnablementWhen sales and marketing fail to collaborate, it has a big impact on the bottom line. That was one of the key messages from the Sales Enablement Strategies panel at the B2B Content2Conversion event.

Moderator Jon Russo, Founder and CEO of B2B Fusion Group, told the audience that poor sales-marketing alignment costs $14 million a year at a $1 billion firm. “For every 650 leads, one deal is closed in 19 months and sales cycle times have increased by 10% over the past three years, from five months in 2010 to 5.4 months in 2012,” he said, citing figures from Gartner, IDC, Alinean and DiscoverOrg.

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