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Social Sales eBook Screenshot[1]

There’s a growing buzz in companies today around the explosion of social media, and what’s being called “the social revolution.” While many of us use social networking in our personal lives, questions remain about how it applies to business. You and your coworkers might be asking: “Are our customers looking to engage with us on social networks? Are our competitors doing it? Is now the time to embrace the social revolution?”

More than 10,000 people signed up for a webinar on August 8th looking for answers to those questions. The webinar, called “The Social Revolution: Connecting with Today’s Customer,” was held on August 8, 2011.

It turns out that 85 percent of people think companies should engage them on social media. And 56 percent  feel more connected to those companies when they do, according to a study by Cone Inc. During the webinar , George Hu, EVP of salesforce.com, and Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, discussed what companies can do to succeed in our now highly social world. They looked at the impact of the new social customer and the growing need businesses face to connect across an expanding number of social channels.

One question that came up repeatedly is how the social enterprise changes the selling process. For example, @AngelaFrancis wanted to know, “Are all the ‘old’ traditional sales tools really dead, or are they just being enhanced by social media?”

I talk to customers every day, and what I see is that traditional approaches to selling are definitely alive and kicking, however, reps who blend tried-and-true tactics with adept use of social media—engaging customers across customer social networks and connecting with employees across employee social networks—have a serious competitive advantage.

Over 700 people asked and responded to questions raised during the webinar on Twitter. To learn more about who participated and get a summary of the conversation, check out our hot-off-the-presses Radian6 Conversation Analysis.

In preparation for the webinar, Salesforce asked a team of researchers to interview some of today’s top social reps. We published their stories in a new ebook “The Social Sales Revolution: 7 Steps to Get Ahead,” that is being released today.

What we learned is that social sales experts have greater reach, higher productivity, more meaningful relationships, and not surprisingly—they win more business than their peers. Christina Weil, a storage solutions sales rep, exceeded her quota by 200 percent by embracing social media. Rackspace realized 100 percent ROI after only 2 months of community selling. Karl Goldfield figured out how LinkedIn could help him sell $5 million of a technology product no one had ever heard of.

Read the ebook and learn their winning tactics. We’ve been asking around, and it looks like the time is now to embrace the social revolution. If you want to share your own social sales tips please send me your thoughts on Twitter @scottiholden. Good luck with your social transformation—both your professional transformation and your company’s. There are big changes afoot, but don’t worry—if it seems scary, just watch some of Vaynerchuk’s early videos , and remember his advice, “anyone can do this!”