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  • Bill Cushard 9:00 am on April 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , sales 2.0, ,   

    Improving Sales Enablement with Enterprise Social Networks 

    Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

    Editor’s note: Today we have the pleasure of presenting a new Zyncro Blog author: Bill Cushard (@billcush). He is an authorblogger, and learning experience (LX) designer with extensive, in-the-trenches experience building learning programs that leverage blended and social learning methods. You can follow him on Twitter or on Google+.

    According to the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), U.S. businesses spend $15 billion per year on sales training and that many sales people find the training ineffective or less than useful. This statistic should drive business leaders crazy because it forces them to ask what they are getting from such a large investment. And this number is just in the United States. Imagine what that number would be if one includes businesses around the globe. Because of the large amount spent on sales training each year, there is great value in solving the problem of improving the effectiveness of sales enablement efforts in organizations.

    The question is, “How can organizations improve sales enablement efforts, in order to get the most out of the large investment they are making in preparing the sales force to grow their businesses?” According to research, I believe there is promise in the use of enterprise social networks (ESN).

    Research is Pointing Towards ESNs

    In a 2012 article in the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, it is suggested that the future of sales training must be individualized, jointly determined, voluntary, tailored to fit mutual needs and offered in various modes. Accordingly, the authors advise that future research should explore different types of technology delivery methods, including social, which could help improve sales training effectiveness.

    Enterprise social networks seem to satisfy this need, which is why I am conducting a research project for my dissertation to test Etienne Wenger’s (1998) social theory of learning. I am seeking to find out whether there is a relationship between participation of newly hired sales people on an enterprise social network and sales results. In other words, if newly hired sales people participate in peer-to-peer, social learning activities on an enterprise social network, will their sales results improve? According to a social theory of learning, it should.

    A Social Theory of Learning: How People Learn

    One key element of a social theory of learning considers that people learn through a back-and-forth duality between participation and reification. Participation refers to taking part in communication, activities, or events and applies both to individuals and groups. Reification refers to the process of solidifying the experience of participation in the form of resources. In other words, learning occurs when there is participation in conversation and available resources about a specific topic.  

    Where Enterprise Social Networks Come In

    Enterprise social networks are designed perfectly with the need for participation and reification in mind. Think about it. On an enterprise social network, people can continually participate in conversations and those conversations can contain links to resources and those conversations themselves become resources (reified conversations) that others can access.

    So, if sales enablement is an on-going process of equiping a sales force and learning occurs through an ongoing process of participation and reification, then enterprise social networks should be a foundational platform to get the most out of an organization’s sales enablement efforts.

    But how, you ask?

    There are many ways enterprise social networks can be leveraged to support sales enablement. Here are three ways to start:

    1. Find Experts: It is not always easy to find the right person with the right expertise in medium to large sized companies. This is especially a problem in companies with offices around the world. With an enterprise social network, people can find expertise from people they have never met and from people around the world.

    2. Ask Questions: We all get stuck on a problem from time-to-time. It could be in a sales meeting, a technical support call, or on a big project with new stakeholders. Sometimes, we do not have the answers we need. On an enterprise social network, we can ask a question. Sure, it is easy to ask questions from people who sit near you, but how do you ask questions of people who work in different offices? And how do you ask questions from people you don’t even know?  An enterprise social network empowers people to ask questions of anyone in the organization.

    3. Sharing Resources and Stories of Success and Failure: If I read an article about a major change to an industry that my company sells to, I can post that link to everyone in my sales organization so that the team is aware. To make my post even more valuable, I can add some commentary to set the context for why I think it is important. This commentary can spark a conversation from others and a discussion can occur that may impact a broader group of sales people.  Furthermore, I can share a recent success I had trying a new sales technique that might benefit the team. Someone else may comment on my story about how that same technique did not work for them. Others can ask further questions and decide for themselves whether the technique would work for them and how they could apply it to their situation. This is a scenario that no training can keep up with.

    Sales Enablement Is Not Just About Sales Training

    Sales enablement is not just about sales training. In fact, Forrester defines sales enablement as an ongoing process that equips client-facing employees to have valuable conversations with clients and prospective clients. Yes, training is vital, and so is a systematic sales process. But in order to foster and sustain an ongoing process that equips your sales force, an enterprise social network must become a foundational infrastructure in sales enablement efforts. As much as organizations spend on sales enablement, efforts to equip the sales force in a sustainable way should be a top priority.

    How do you use enterprise social networks to sustain your sales enablement efforts? Share your stories in the comments below. The sales force of Telefónica Latin America use Zyncro. This is our best example :-)

     
  • Matthieu Pinauldt 9:00 am on October 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sales 2.0, , ,   

    Wednesday’s Use Case: Collaboration between sales reps outside the office 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    A pharmaceutical laboratory has a sales team divided into regions, with each sales rep working a particular zone. They spend each day meeting customers, going from pharmacy to pharmacy, from doctor to doctor, meaning that they only come together on sporadic occasions. Under these circumstances, it is not easy to share sales methods and develop a team dynamic.

    For this reason, the lab has decided to adopt Zyncro as a business tool to help build the collaborative spirit among different departments and improve the generation of shared ideas.

    Christina is responsible for the west zone of the region and shares it with Peter, who specializes in generic drug sales. Her day always starts by connecting to Zyncro using her tablet. A shortcut on her wall to the “Sales Team” group enables her to see her targets for the day that her zone manager has created for her. Before her first visit, and for each one during the day, Christina can access full, up-to-date documentation on the product through her Zyncro, meaning she doesn’t run the risk of giving misleading or out-of-date information.

    Basically, being able to communicate with the rest of the company and the sales team despite not passing by the office is extremely beneficial in their work:

    • Information exchange: Each sales rep has access to all product groups in their portfolio. Through the activities on the wall of each group, members can share their experiences and learn as a group. The company even encourages them to do so, as the best contributions and tips are rewarded.
    • Team coordination: Peter and Christina can communicate in the group for their zone, so they can organize joint appointments using the calendar. Unlike email, with their Enterprise Social Network, information is centralized and can be accessed by new team members.
    • Communication with other employees: Peter can communicate with the regional team, but also with other teams. Before, at times he felt like a solo member of the company, since they have implemented the Enterprise Social Network in his organization, he feels part of the overall strategy. Beyond the range of the sales departments, important communications from other departments also appear on his wall and enable him to, for example, stay up to date with the latest developments and strategies of the marketing team, with whom he now works closely online.
    • Knowledge exchange: Whether it is through groups or activities and communications on her wall, Christina comment her successes, make inquiries, or ask for advice. Other members can respond to her questions or praise her achievements, making the company a united workplace despite the physical distances.
    • Experience: It is also a great way for sharing the situations that Christina has come across in her search for prospects and explaining to her colleagues how to implement them. What’s more, when she needs help on a specific problem, Christina uses a search engine with keywords for the problem to see if anyone else in the organization can help her.

    Is your company 2.0? Discover the strength of collaboration by trying Zyncro free

     

     
  • Ana Fernández 10:45 am on November 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , sales 2.0, ,   

    Salesperson 2.0 How to work 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    When I started working some years ago, the evolution of companies or departments was never categorized. The 2.0 concept applied to the business environment arose out of the need for new values when faced with the difficult situations brought about with the recession. Society as a whole demanded a business change and so the Social Networks were born. Some registered and started to try them out to soon realize their major potential.

    As human beings, we have always participated in social networks or groups, to a greater or lesser extent. Villages are an example of a large social network. Everyone always knew what the other was doing and everyone talked about their next-door neighbour.

    I was quick to realize this because my parents are Galician and I would always spend my summers in Galicia, in the village of Quiroga. Quiroga had an unwritten rule in social networking. Everyone would comment on what so-and-so was up to and vice-versa, but by the traditional face-to-face conversation. Over time, this has also transformed. The village gossip has now moved to Facebook, where I can hear all the latest goings on in the village in Barcelona without having to be there. Nowadays, that’s what RRSS are for. Knowledge is transfered, people in different places start to share, collaborate and inform others, and logically, transferring it to the business world, companies are transformed.

    How should a salesperson 2.0 work?

    Faced with this environment, there’s three basic premises that at Zyncro I’ve learned to follow in any social sales 2.0 environment:

    1. A good social salesperson needs to create their own social structure, share knowledge with that network, make potential customers loyal and connect with them. There’s no longer any geographical or time barriers: technology 2.0 enables us all to be connected.
    2. When a salesperson meets a potential customer or starts to work on an account, they not only need to add it to their CRM, they need to generate new contacts in LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter, find them in Google+ and communicate, where appropriate, any advances with that customer or account within the company’s private nework.
    3. The Marketing or Social Media department needs to do the same from the company’s corporate profiles and keep an eye out for news from new contacts.

    It’s a radical change in sales management methodology, as I mentioned in the post Salesperson 2.0: The culture of effort and the Black Swan, we need to be open and willing to accept change, as change is an essential part of our lives… Everything changes.

    Business communication is become more social, and technologies too, CRMs, ERPs and all other business systems. For this reason, from a sales perspective, those systems need to be inter-connected to beat the competition and continue selling. Nowadays, customers don’t come asking for quotations, you need to detect who has a need and convince them that you’re the right solution, so it’s essential that you’re part of the social network of your possible customers and respond to that need. Passive companies will die and active ones will survive. Companies that take advantage of recession to transform emerge reinforced and those that don’t end up going out of business. We have tools to survive recession but we have to want to, or at least accept going through a constant change. We can use LinkedIn, Twitter, Salesforce… but we have to want change. It will make us better. Change is part of our lives and we must accept it, and even, taking it a step further, we must use it to make us better professionals. Those who know how to adapt quickly will come out on top. Darwin’s Law. Darwin applied to the business world.

     

     
  • Ana Fernández 9:30 am on August 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sales 2.0, , , , , , ,   

    How to become a salesperson 2.0 and not die trying. Introduction 

    Allow me to first introduce myself, my name is Ana FernandezSales Manager at Zyncro and I would like to thank the company for giving me this opportunity to publish my first blog post.  My objective is to start this article with a section on how to reestablish the “salesperson” as a “salesperson 2.0” and how to not die trying…

    I firmly and constantly believe in the use of information in order to achieve results. Generation 1.0 is reluctant to share information and collaborate.  Salespeople from this generation think clients belong to them simply because they have their business cards, their telephone number, their extension or their mobile number.  This is now in decline as well as it being non-productive when such tools as LinkedIn and social networks exist.  Customer share their information with you within social networks if they really believe that you are the right person to manage their needs.

    Traditional companies also think customers are theirs exclusively and they do not realize that clients are free to choose and can be lost more quickly than the time spent finding them.

    The sales paradigm is currently changing.  I firmly believe in:

    • the use of tools that aid the salesperson’s day to day such as social ERP, social CRM and  the use of collaborative tools like Zyncro
    • the exchange of information – moreover the immediate exchange – between the different departments.
    • and customer loyalty via all possible channels.

    Companies that believe departments to be like territories are destined to fail.  Departments must collaborate.  The technical department, marketing and the sales departments should be one and they must fight with the same intensity towards obtaining business opportunities and sharing information.

    I will periodically present you with articles on what it means to be a salesperson 2.0.  From “The Philosophy” and basic concepts about the new paradigmic change in “customer-sales” relationships, going through “The Tools“: LinkedInTwitterSalesforceiContact and of course, Zyncro.  Until we reach marketing-sales relationships in a company 2.0, technical-sales relationships in a company 2.0, salesperson profiles 2.0, contact management in a hyper-connected and social world (the sales point of view)…

    Finally and with regards to my position, I would like to explain to you why I choose to support the salesperson 2.0 perspective and overall, the reasons for doing so by using Zyncro.

    Zyncro allows for information sharing and to be honest, I think this is the key to success.  Collaboration is a basic principle with regards to the change we are experiencing.  Everything changes and in order to survive, the use of words such as information and collaboration, are key especially in the sales arena.  Zyncro allows the sales team to share presentations, proposals as well as improve your productivity by means of generation of work groups and, I am leaving out the most important part, the possibility to learn about colleagues’ successes with clients as well as the possibility to ask about them. Questions can be posed freely by using the microbloging system and your colleagues can respond to these while you are at a customer base so you may also meet the customer’s needs at that very moment.  By using the employee profile module, we can search for the person within our own organization that has the right knowledge in order for us to respond to our client.  And this is just the beginning…  In the following posts ,you will start to discover a lot more about the sales world 2.0 as well as about Zyncro. This is just the first chapter.

    Welcome to the “Sales 2.0” section of ZyncroBlog!

     

     
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