Social sales and marketing software provider Hearsay Social brought its social sales platform to the next level with Monday’s release of a new sales solution targeted toward sales representatives, as well as a new brand solution to provide corporate page-management tools for brands with large field sales forces.
The new sales solution from Hearsay Social allows sales reps to follow and respond to customers’ posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks, providing alerts for important events, activity feeds, improved calendar functionality, and mobile integration.
Hearsay Social Co-Founder Steve Garrity said in an interview with AllFacebook:
There has been a great shift in the market from social marketing, page-management tools, etc., to social selling. How do you close the loop and manage to sell more policies, manage more assets, etc., that affect the bottom line of your businesses?
Brands are moving forward from old-school sales to social selling — attracting prospects, retaining customers, and growing their businesses.
Social has a great part to play there. We are watching people really start to sell on social and connect that to returns on investment for their businesses.
And Hearsay Social’s new social brand solution extends the company’s features across complex marketing team work flows and high-volume interaction on social networks, allowing brands’ marketing teams to plan, publish, and measure messages across all social networks using the same Hearsay Social enterprise platform being used by their field and compliance teams.
Garrity said of the new brand solution:
It is a corporate page-management solution designed for companies with large field sales forces, allowing them to leverage really deep hierarchy and understanding of their organizations and get them all on social.
The company also announced that its entire platform is now available in German, French, French-Canadian, and Spanish.
Finally, Hearsay Social commissioned a study conducted by Forrester Consulting, “The Future of Social Selling,” to examine the value of social media in every stage of the sales cycle.
The key findings from the study were:
- Social selling requires collaboration from marketing: Successful social selling needs to be differentiated from, but collaborate with, marketing’s social efforts.
- Sales professionals use social differently throughout the customer life cycle: There is a place for social selling (and social marketing) in each phase of discover, explore, buy, and engage, but successful sales professionals must target their social efforts to the desires of the customer in their current stage of the customer life cycle.
- Sales professionals see business value in their social efforts, but are in the early stages of formally measuring ROI: Most sales professionals who have experimented with any form of social selling find that it helps them be more effective. However, most organizations are still tracking success anecdotally, rather than with formal companywide metrics.
- Salespeople actively seek out new tools and technology to help them be more effective with social: Sales professionals see an opportunity for new technology to help them become more effective in social selling initiatives.
And the key recommendations from Hearsay Social and Forrester Consulting were:
- Smart companies go beyond social marketing to empowering their sales organization: Social marketing is an important part of your marketing mix, and strong marketing leads to strong sales. However, advanced organizations are leveraging social at the level of the individual sales representative.
- Social selling is a supplement to each element of your sales cycle: Much like social marketing should not stand alone as its own silo, but must be integrated with the rest of your marketing mix, the same is true with social selling. It will serve as a powerful addition, not replacement, for your current activities in each phase of your customer’s life cycle.
- Successful social selling initiatives require training: Your sales organizations will not magically acquire the new skills required to use social as a part of their selling process on their own. You have to create in-depth training that not only focuses on the value of engaging in social selling, but also stresses best practices and immediate, practical advice to get started quickly.
Garrity said of the study:
Every aspect of the sales cycle gets plugged into social media. “Hey, I can actually tie this into business value.”