Leveraging Social Profiles vs. Social Selling

I have been swamped with Sugar 6 release stuff – and haven’t had a ton of time to blog or even get on Twitter to see what’s up. Thanks to both Mitch for always keeping the blog fresh with ideas and to Larry for a great guest post on SugarCRM and the nature of open source…

During my demos with analysts and press, as well as an interesting on/offline recurring convo I’ve been having with Sugar co-founder Clint Oram – and interesting thing appeared to me.  Several analysts asked me to demonstrate the social aspects of Sugar 6 and how it could consume data from Facebook. I showed them some basic mashup capabilities – but there was no real “reason” behind what I was building for them on the fly and it all seemed superficial.

Just linking to sites, or data feeds, will not make your sales people social sellers.

There seems to be two sides to social media and how it powers sales and marketing initiatives. On the one side, we can glean a ton of interesting demographic and other targeting and segmenting data from the vast amount of social data people freely give up about themselves. This can “point us in the right direction” in terms of finding leads, feet in the door, etc. Of course, how this information is leveraged in terms of the conversation involves a whole ‘nother series of arguments – as per the “insightful vs. creepy” debate Clint, Mitch and myself have been having.

On the other side, sales and marketing professionals can leverage social media and networking tools to connect with potential, new and existing customers and build stronger relationships with less effort than could previously be achieved. As Clint noted in a tweet to me – “Really leveraging the social profile well for [social CRM] purposes is the key to putting the R back into CRM.”

Social selling is a skill, and I think some will “get it” and leverage social in many different ways to their benefit. Some won’t. Just as call center agents talk about “soft skills” that great service reps have; skills that in some ways can not be easily taught – great social sellers will have a similar skill set.

Many of the great social sellers are already doing a lot of what it takes to leverage social in a powerful manner. They have been “social” without the easy tools for years – now they are more empowered.

Where do you fit in this model?  Are you a social profile aggregator, or do you leverage social data to enhance real engagements, or both?

9 thoughts on “Leveraging Social Profiles vs. Social Selling

  1. good points Martin – in order for ‘social selling’ to occur folks have to start listening to the social information in context to the constituents … prospects, customers, etc. how do you cull through the noise to get to that easily?

  2. Suaad,

    Thanks for the read, and you ask a good question…my take is that there are tools for cutting through the “noise” as you aptly call it. InsideView’s SalesView tools not only does a lot of decent real time filtering of thousands of social sites and other data sources – but also sends updates (daily in PDF form I believe) to users to give them a nice report or rollup of pertinent information that has happened among their contacts, leads, accounts etc.

    More and more companies are making analysis tools to help minimize the noise and glean more information, as well as help companies build their following, influence etc. so that they can reach out and do more social businesses – not simply leech off of the social data pool.

    Here at Sugar for example – we will build some tools, but also insure our open and flexible platform can easily embed or integrate with these programs to better equip our users to be social sellers.

    Thanks again,

    Martin

  3. Thanks Martin for an interesting perspective. It feels a bit like going back to move forward. Somehow people became disconnected and self absorbed from the 60′s onward. We’re now seeing the benefit of being “social” again, albeit now powered by global technology. I still think we’ve a long way to go but when I hear words like listening, authenticity and transparency featuring in the discussion, I’m encouraged.

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