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

    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 :-)

     
  • Xavi Gracia 10:30 am on July 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , sales force, ,   

    Aligning “Social Media” with the business. A CIO’s view 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    We find ourselves at a time in which selling is difficult. Conventional advertising is not enticing enough, TV campaigns are very costly, TV spots are very long and on occasions don’t achieve the desired business objectives.

    On the other hand, we have the Social Media Marketing explosion, which appears to be the answer to everything.

    Social Media has come to stay. For this reason, we need to incorporate it on all levels of the business. However in all cases, it must be carried out correctly and in line with the business plan, rather than as an independent initiative from the marketing or on-line department.

    If we as a company decide to introduce Social Media Marketing, we should interiorize it in the same way as implementing a CRM system, so that all areas and departments work in a customer-oriented manner.

    Today, conversations take place on the Internet and we need to listen to them, though this is pointless unless we are capable of processing this information and able to make decisions.

    In short, if we introduce Social Media, we should do it considering all the consequences.

    • Alignment: Integrating it within the marketing, sales plan… and not as an isolated action that “someone” from marketing leads (generally the junior PM, because he or she is the youngest and has “Facebook” skills).
    • TV+Internet: If the strategy is TV+Internet, the potential impact is significant (if done correctly).
    • ICT: Have all of the IT systems (ICT) prepared for the possible outcomes and for the virility generated by social networks during the TV spot (I repeat, the combination of TV+Internet is very powerful!)
    • Sharing information: Everybody should know of the existence of the campaign (customer services, sales networks, call centers, etc), even if this is via “Facebook”. It will have an impact on all areas of the company (including finance!).
    • Actions: Conversations are on the Internet and it must be listened to, but there is no point if we don’t analyze the information obtained and take consequential measures.
    • Community manager: We need to take on the role of “community manager”… we know our brands best. :-)

     

     
  • Albert Climent 10:30 am on March 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , sales force   

    Case Study: Zyncro for sales strength 

    In recent days, we have been able to see that Zyncro is a robust solution for collaboration and productivity within a company.  Today we will discuss how to use Zyncro in order to improve sales and how to communicate the variety of products an organization has to its clients.

    When a company sets up Zyncro to coordinate and facilitate communication within a Sales Department, the ease of use makes this social network the sales team’s best ally.

    In addition, Zyncro reinforces the sales visit as it offers the client a collaboration space where they can manage and present information, making the transmission of differential values of products and services easier.

    Below we consider the main advantages of using Zyncro as a solution to strengthen sales:

    1) An image is worth more than a thousand words: With Zyncro you can organize sales material in folders, for example, an entire product campaign. This way, the Marketing Department can store all of the sales material (catalogue, logo, spots, etc) beforehand, organizing it in folders in such a way that the information is always available to the sales team.

    2) Zyncro and its presence: The sales team is used being on the move with client visits. By means of the Zyncro versions for  BlackberryiPadiPhone, and Android, you can check and send documents from any location, receive sales routes, update orders in real time, coordinate with the rest of the team and keep up to date with what goes on at the office while you are out.

    3) Online image environment: Does your sales team constantly need Access to videos, presentations and high quality photographs?  By uploading these files to Zyncro in high resolution, the team will be able to conduct sophisticated presentations at the client location with the latest in mobile handsets (like iPad 2 or Blackberry PlayBook Tablet).

    4) For sharing strategies and learning, receive messages and experiences from all of the sales team. Though you may be on a visit outside the office, you can continue to collaborate in a mobile environment receiving all news or corporate information at the time. Share comments and tips with the rest of the team, advice about how to make better sales, visit stories and valued experiences with the rest of the team.  You will be multiplying your learning so that your colleagues can also benefit and vice versa.  Collaboration is important!

    5) Depending on the type of account, it is also possible to send all of the promotional material and heavy files to the client via the powerful Zlink. This is a short link that sends documents to a Zyncro account (like videos or high resolution photos)  and it can be copied and sent to a client after a visit so they can receive the product details in the best quality.

    6) If you want to carry out a very good follow up with your VIP clients, create a “ Work group” in Zyncro exclusively for each one of them and invite the key contacts in that relationship. To tighten the bond in a secure and private environment, share comments, files and even tasks with them.

    7) Lastly, (and by no means less important), Zyncro allows you to increase the interaction between the different departments involved in the relationship with the client and the sales process. Sales are vital for your company but if you also strengthen communication amongst the sales team and the supporting teams (Support, Customer Care, Administration etc) in Zyncro, the results could be explosive. Do you dare try it?

     
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