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Opinions of Entrepreneur contributions his own.
Sales teams across the country are confronted with an interesting mystery. There are more tools on the market than ever before. The trick is to find out which ones are worth the investment.
The right measure for evaluating a new tool is whether it increases the likelihood of making connections, because sales are all about relationships. A new technology that helps create and build connections with prospects and customers is worth the investment.
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There are three main categories of relationship-oriented technologies for sales professionals.
Sales information is about getting a complete picture of a customer or prospect as quickly as possible. Some of the best tools in this field are InsideView and Data.com. Apart from that, these sales technologies are good, but when combined they offer a complete understanding of a target group.
Data.com is a powerful database full of business and contact information for potential leads and prospects. Updated daily, it offers sellers a clear picture of who to consider contacting the following. Although Data.com helps users find the right contacts to target within an organization, it is still up to the sales employee to determine how to best approach new prospects. The sales information platform provides insights into CRM via the internet, everything from recent press appearances to new functions, acquisitions and more. This gives a glimpse into the state of a company, where it is going and more. this level of detail is a must if it is necessary to build a profile of a company to understand how the best can be involved.
Tools such as Data.com and InsideView enable sellers to take a step back and view the overall landscape before diving into new prospects. Instead of guiding millions of organizations for leads, these tools put the sellers of individuals and companies behind everything.
Once the decision to approach a prospect has been made, a new layer of sales technologies is coming in to help sellers understand the individual on the other side of the field.
Sales empowerment tools help sellers with data and technology to turn the art of selling into a science. It is not just about more information, but rather about the ability to immediately analyze and use that data to increase connectivity and build relationships.
A good example of a sales-promoting technology is Yesware, a Gmail-based sales platform for tracking e-mails, creating templates, synchronizing with CRM and more.
Yesware informs a seller when a sent email is opened by a prospect. Yesware also gives details about which device type the prospect used to open the e-mail. This information may seem trivial, but it has had a huge impact on my team's ability to make valuable connections with prospects.
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Additional Yesware functions, such as mail merge, accelerate sales by allowing us to automatically track a specific segment within a certain message group, such as those who have not yet opened the first email.
We also use templates to keep track of which subject rules do best during the entire period. the company, and to create specific examples of an email from a portable device versus a desktop message. All of these functions help us achieve the right goals with the right message, thereby improving our relationships with prospects.
These days, social media affects every industry and individual. Sales are no exception. The advantage of everyone who shares too much online is that prospects also participate.
"Social selling" offers 45 percent more opportunities, with 51 percent of representatives likely achieving their quota, according to the Social Selling Index from LinkedIn. In that context, understanding human behavior, the degree of connection, and how prospects share content to communicate are some of the best tools from a salesperson.
Three of the best social platforms in the world – LinkedIn, Twitter and Salesforce & Chatter – are my trifecta for building and strengthening connections, providing a unique background about prospects and customers and setting up a forum for internal communication.
At first glance, LinkedIn gives salespeople a peek into the background of a prospect, such as where they went to college, the cities they have lived in, work background, shared contacts, and if they are even the right person in their organization to contact.
The real advantage, however, is to obtain a true interpretation of the person's style, what they value, organizations and common activities, etc. This is also the best way for a salesperson to understand who he or she has in common with a prospe ct, to build a direct path for engagement.
Twitter is unparalleled when it comes to understanding the actual behavior of a prospect. From vacation plans to beloved pets to milestones, thousands of random factoids are shared via Twitter. In fact, many people will post the small annoyances of life, such as a salesman in the past who approached them in a way that they found less attractive. When the goal is to establish a connection, it is often more important to know what not to do!
Salesforce has many useful features, but Chatter is a feature that is often overlooked and used insufficiently. Chatter seems to be "just another platform for instant messaging," but it offers much more by enabling an entire company to share stories and develop learning communities.
How often is it said in sales that teamwork is not only encouraged but also required? As often as not, a powerful learning moment is lost in a sea of e-mails. New employees never even get the chance to be exposed to the wisdom of many past experiences. Chatter saves these lessons for everyone within a company. When you include social selling in the mix, someone hanging on a thread only creates an unstoppable force. Conversations grow organically.
I believe that the most important aspect of a seller's daily life is simply the connection. Or, as Eminem reminds us of "One Shot", "If you had one shot, one chance / To grab everything you ever wanted, a moment / Would you capture it or just let it slip?"
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