When I started my career as a sales professional, I sold things to people. I made educated guesses about who my prospects were, I called them, determined if what I was selling suited their requirements and persuaded them that not only did I have the right solution, but I was the right person to help them. If my buyers wanted more information upon which to base their decision, they more or less had to depend on me to provide it to them.
These days though, certainly with technology sales, you don’t so much sell things to people, they mostly buy it from you after considered online research and often after following the direction of thought leaders and subject matter experts. This guidance is sought out online, such as on the AppExchange for RingLead as a Salesforce ISV or on LinkedIn.
The difference between the two experiences as a sales professional is stark. And, of course, while selling back in the day and selling now require some of the same skills, like listening twice as much as you speak, sales success in the age of social selling also demands some new ones.
Easily 70 percent the of the business technology buying decision is made before a prospect raises their hand and asks to be contacted.
These technology buyers are increasingly Millennials, born in the digital age and accustomed to and, even demanding, unfettered access to information and connections.
Salespeople and marketers who want to be successful on the modern sales terrain need to accept that control of the message about what they are selling has passed from their hands, into the hands of their digitally collaborative-by-nature buyers.
In the sage words of Jill Rowley, the Queen of Social Selling, it is essential for sales success in the information age to use social media to find buyers, to listen to what is being said, to relate, to connect, engage, and to amplify your buyers’ advocacy.
Twitter to some extent, but primarily on LinkedIn.
Having been given an opportunity to assume the management of a Salesforce LinkedIn group that had 2,000 members, but had been hijacked by job posters and promoters, I jumped at the chance. If LinkedIn was where the conversations about buying data quality solutions were happening, managing a LinkedIn group that I renamed the Salesforce Data Quality Forum was the ideal place for me to “socially surround” (thanks again, Jill) our buyers, establish myself as a thought leader and subject matter expert and create a real community for the exchange of ideas on the critical subject of data quality. Join the group here.
Gregg Thaler is a self-professed data quality junkie. A 25 year career in sales and sales leadership has instilled in Gregg a near religious belief in the direct connection between data quality and peak sales and marketing performance. Gregg is the Chief Revenue Officer of RingLead, a Salesforce ISV partner specializing in data quality. RingLead is entering its tenth year as a Salesforce partner. Gregg is responsible for RingLead’s overall revenue strategy and execution, encompassing sales, marketing, business development and M&A.
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