Hootsuite Acquires Sales Prodigy to Help Reps Engage Leads on Social Media

Social media management provider Hootsuite announced today it is acquiring Sales Prodigy, developer of a mobile social selling app. According to Matt Switzer, vice president of corporate development at Hootsuite, the coupling of the technologies will help salespeople navigate social networks to initiate and maintain customer relationships.

Social selling, Switzer says, "represents a massive opportunity." In Hootsuite's research of the market, for instance, two data points stood out, he notes: The first, from a 2015 Forrester survey, held that 74 percent of B2B buyers used social media to research a purchase; the second, from a 2013 Accenture report, confirmed that 93 percent of salespeople had received no training or tools to engage in social selling. "We see this as a big disconnect in the market, and we've had a lot of demand from customers, so we wanted to act on that," Switzer says.

Switzer notes that while marketing and service departments have traditionally been the ones investing most heavily in social media tools, there has been an increase in demand for assistance throughout organizations. "Conversations that used to be solely in the domain of marketing are now happening at the management and board levels," Switzer says. And as those conversations spread, he says, there's an opportunity to get a lot more of the organization involved. "The companies we're talking to are demanding tools for different individuals within the organization, as well as different departments and use cases."

As it debated acquiring a social selling tool, Hootsuite's plan was to identify the biggest  pain points for modern sales teams, Switzer says, and determine how it could leverage its social media capabilities to resolve them. Switzer says that Hootsuite uncovered the need for a product that gives salespeople aide throughout the life cycle of the B2B sales process, specifically in engaging prospects from social media. Because Sales Prodigy specializes in helping salespeople identify and engage opportunities, the acquisition made sense. Its app provides sellers with tools "to jump in and start a conversation, which is often the hardest part of getting involved in social," Switzer says.

Sales Prodigy integrates with CRM software and locates prospects' social media profiles, surfacing them into one platform and notifying salespeople when they should act. For instance, Hootsuite listening streams can be customized to alert a salesperson when particular key words or topics surface on social media. Users can then determine whether to engage those leads with content, or a comment, and follow up through another channel (e.g., email or phone). 

"A lot of what you do through Sales Prodigy could be done through the core Hootsuite app, but it's packaged up and put together in a way that makes it much more accessible to a modern sales organization," Switzer adds.

Sales Prodigy's app has been available to Hootsuite customers via its App Directory for nearly a year, but Switzer promises that the integration will "go a lot deeper." Hootsuite will re-launch later this year with a "fully integrated experience" and continue to evolve the app's capabilities.

An integrated version will be available to Hootsuite customers in the coming months, Switzer says. No pricing options have yet been announced.

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