Social CRM: Your Voice for Sharing Subject Matter Expertise
WHEN YOU start to explore the concept of revenue optimization, a logical starting point can be to look at the end of the sales funnel and explore ways to increase the win rate of forecast deals. But recent research by Korn Ferry demonstrated the need to also focus attention on the top of the funnel, as we must get into the game if we are going to have a chance to ultimately win the game.
Korn Ferry conducted a survey of 265 B2B buyers, asking them a variety of questions on what the buying process looks like now vs. pre-COVID. The particular set of metrics that got my attention were the answers the study participants provided when they were asked to share their preferred resources for beginning to research how to solve a specific business problem, as seen in the chart.
As you go down the list, it is not until spot No. 7 that you see buyers mentioning engaging with vendors, in this case their websites. And we need to travel down a couple more spots before engaging with salespeople shows up. This means that potential buyers are turning to a lot of other influencers, and the reality check we need to consider is whether we are doing everything we can, across our organizations, to ensure that those resources are advocates for the solutions our sales teams bring to market.
In reflecting on the role that technology could play here, we should focus on social CRM’s potential—not just in terms of social selling but also as a voice for sharing subject matter expertise. Let me share some examples.
Sales technology leaders like Salesforce and HubSpot continue to enhance their social CRM offerings, making it easier to integrate social media channels and CRM. This then allows firms to ensure that they can interact with influencers and business buyers via their preferred social channels.
Part of the Cision Connect platform is a database of 1.4 million journalists and outlets and an additional billion social influencers. This allows you to zero in on the best people with which to share your subject matter expertise so that they can help spread the word to potential buyers.
Seismic Live Social provides a solution for how to have salespeople seen as subject matter experts. It engages thousands of news sources each day, analyzes millions of articles, and then pushes relevant content to salespeople. They in turn can easily share some of that thought leadership with their social networks, helping to build their personal brand as a business expert as well as a product specialist.
Years ago, when we interviewed technologist/entrepreneur Steve Case, he noted that in sales it is not nearly as important for your customer to understand your strategy as it is for you to understand theirs. Thanks to the Korn Ferry Buyer’s Preferences Study, insights into how buyers are getting information early in their buying cycle have become clearer. Based on that, companies should ensure that they’re showing up where buyers are looking for information, improving their odds of getting into the game.
Jim Dickie is a research fellow for Sales Mastery, a research firm that specializes in benchmarking case study examples of how companies are leveraging technology to transform sales. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jimdickie.