Today's blog post is by Al Campa, CEO of Reachable. He is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the company.
With all the changes in business, one thing remains the same: business is about people. Despite globalization, technology revolutions, social networks, and razor-thin competitive margins, business is still about people working with people. People who can’t connect effectively with others rarely do well in business.
Consider sales, for instance. We buy things from people we have positive relationship with, people we like and trust. And if those relationships stay positive, we keep buying from them over many years. So one would assume that when companies assign sales territories and determine which sales reps will sell to which accounts, they would consider the strength of social relationships in their assignments.
In reality, however, most sales territories are determined by geographic boundaries and physical proximity. Sales reps are assigned to nearby zip codes or area codes, or they are assigned by state boundaries where they live. Yeah, who cares about whether they have good connections, solid relationships, and reliable networks? If the zip code matches, well, anyone can see that’s what’s important, right?
Yet in the age of conference calls, WebEx presentations, and Skype, social proximity becomes a far more important tie to an account or prospect than geographic proximity.
To make the best use of this social proximity, Reachable has created an online solution that helps businesspeople leverage their personal contacts and the contacts of others in their organization, to broaden their professional network and reach people they need to know – people to people, rather than area code to area code. Our research shows that having an existing relationship with an account or prospect makes the likelihood that you’ll be able to engage that prospect or account three to four times higher.
At Reachable, we believe that social connections and relationships are solid gold for a sales organization and should be leveraged as much as possible. We make it possible for a company to leverage and manage the connections of all its employees, as well as its customers and partners. And we integrate these connections into the sales process. Assigning leads and accounts by social proximity, rather than geographic proximity, will increase account engagement and account knowledge and increase close rates.
Reachable offers a number of capabilities that make leveraging social selling easier for reps who have contacts spread all over the map. Considering that reps probably have contacts in one or more email address books, social networks, databases, etc., Reachable brings together these contacts so reps don’t have to check different places to see if they have a connection with a lead or within a target account. Once a user has imported his or her contacts, Reachable scours all contacts to find potential connections.
In addition, being able to leverage the networks of others can extend one’s reach dramatically. Reachable’s ShareGroup feature lets salespeople leverage the contacts of trusted associates on their sales or executive teams. Users opt-in to be a part of a ShareGroup and are able to leverage one another’s network as if they were their own. Contact information (email, phone numbers) are not shared but can be requested from the contact owner. This lets users take full advantage of the collective network within their company while maintaining contact privacy.
Many salespeople spend much of their day working within their CRM system. Reachable is tightly integrated with such popular CRM systems as Salesforce, so salespeople never have to leave their CRM app to take advantage of Reachable. Within CRM systems, Reachable uses proprietary algorithms to automatically rank leads, contacts, and opportunities by the strength of a user’s relationship to them.
Salespeople now have much more information at their fingertips than they had even a few years ago. Company information is available via Hoover’s, Thompson Reuters, or Google. Information about people is available via LinkedIn. Facebook and Twitter provide social information. But in spite of this deluge of new information, close rates may not be improving. Cycle times are not decreasing. Sales teams are not getting more productive, because critical insight, rather than background information, is the key to engaging prospects and closing sales.
Insight is a window into company goals, key business problems, and the critical initiatives a company is launching to achieve its goals, as well as the key people internally who are assigned to make it all happen. The insight on a company’s business problem can come from only a trusted internal source, not Twitter. If you don’t have relationships in an account, you are never going to find out what its key initiatives are and how you can help solve them. It’s all about the people you need to reach, the information you need to have at your fingertips, and the ability to engage with those key people to help solve the problems they deem critical.
These are just a few of the Reachable capabilities that can help salespeople become more people-to-people effective. To find out more about the Reachable solution, go to www.reachable.com.
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