Salespeople are fortunate to have access to more information on their prospects and customers than ever before. The challenge is to navigate this ocean of content without drowning or becoming distracted.
For those who aren’t using sales intelligence, here are some of the reasons why you should.
4 REASONS YOU NEED SALES & SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE:
1. Situational awareness drives lead conversion. Understanding the business and personal environment in which a person lives is critical to effective selling. How can you help? What challenges is their business facing? How do they spend their spare time? What are their passions? The answers to questions like these allow you to tailor your message and find rapport-building shared experiences and connections. Understanding = authentic relationship-building + trust + helping = selling.
2. They expect preparation! Demonstrate to the prospect or customer that you have done your homework and care enough to understand them. Today’s customers and prospects spend less time in sales meetings, do web research before meeting with vendors and expect that you’ve done the same. Failing to meet their expectations by arriving/calling unprepared or “wasting time on a fishing expedition”, as one sourcing professional said to me, sets the stage for failure.
3. Your customers are talking to you through social media. Are you listening? Individuals and companies are broadcasting their priorities, interests, activities and trigger points via social media. Ignoring social intelligence = ignoring the customer.
4. Speak their language. Information gathered from sales & social intelligence sources provides insight into personality and individual communication styles. Communication 101 tells us that people generally fall into several “types” based on personal preferences and age. For example, people born after 1979 (Gen Y) prefer to communicate through technology channels like email and social networks much more than via telephone . If their profiles shows a tendency towards “introversion and thinking”, you’d want to adjust your communication style accordingly ( e.g. plan to explain every feature of your proposal, respect personal-professional life separation, avoid humour in serious situations).
(If you’re interested in reading more about personal styles, I posted on the subject previously and shared some links at http://funnelblog.com/2012/04/05/personality-testing/).
Great paid solutions that aggregate information from hundreds of sources and automate sales intelligence gathering are only a Google search away. But you don’t need to pay-to-play. There are plenty of free sales intelligence tools that will up your sales game, so don’t let money stand between you and increased sales productivity!
Here are some free sales & social intelligence tools that I recommend (and use):
- Google Alerts
- Social Alerts
- RSS, blog and news search and subscriptions
- Job change alerts (www.jobchangealerts.com)
- Bloomberg/BusinessWeek Business Profiles
In my next post “Free sales intelligence 101 – Part 2”, I’ll discuss these tools in greater detail and describe how they’re used to drive sales productivity.