Jim Thompson – Chief Technology Officer
When our partner Salesforce.com first introduced “Chatter” and “Social Contacts” as part of their new Social Enterprise Platform in 2011, I was already hooked. In his Dreamforce keynote a year earlier, CEO Marc Benioff had asked why could he go to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and learn about activities from thousands of random “friends” and “connections” but not know that his Head of Sales just had lunch with his largest customer? And he also pointed out that the “Social Revolution” was surpassing email usage and creating a divide between companies, their employees and their customers. These revelations had me convinced that “Social Selling” would allow companies, in the words of Guy Kawasaki, to jump to the next curve.
GreatVines is not only a Salesforce partner but much of our core architecture runs on their platform. GreatVines users interact with Salesforce technology every day. Four years after these announcements, we published a short eBook which outlined the core GreatVines message of “Executing With Excellence” and highlighted this new strategy to help “Know Your Customer” – a key tenet of our entire methodology:
But how exactly do you incorporate “Social Insights” into your CRM usage to improve your sales effectiveness? Where do Facebook, Instagram and Twitter provide data relevant to your sales operations? And how can you leverage this data to improve customer relationships and increase depletions?
Quickly scan social feeds for relevant brand and competitive activity
Many Sales Reps conduct routine Key Account visits without a pre-plan, and only look at the Account data after the fact – before logging their account call. After all, the sales reports from your distributor tell you everything you need to know right? Every account visit should be preceded by a look at the Account data (hopefully in GreatVines) and not just to reference activity history and review objectives. Typical CRM data is limited to automated sales feeds and subjective bits of information that you and possibly another member of your team has provided.
Incorporating “Social Data” into your Account review process provides an immediate glance at the Account’s latest promotional activities and priorities. If you are executing a trade promotion at a Key Account, have they promoted the event on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? If you are about to present your new “cherry” flavored beverage, you may want to know that your competitor is already running a managed bar night this week featuring their cherry product. Skim through the silly stuff and you will find solid information you can use to tailor your discussions.
Both Facebook and Twitter feeds can be permanently “linked” to your Accounts so that their latest posts and tweets are instantly available for review. In the example posted above “Abbey Liquors” was featuring FREE shots of a popular Cognac brand on February 1st. That would certainly be good information to know if I were selling that product or a competitive one. Accounts often announce anniversary parties or other upcoming promotions that you can capitalize on with an integrated beverage promotion to sell more product.
Engage trade influencers and key account contacts with personal insights
Unless an Account contact is a great friend of yours, there is a good chance he or she has better things to do than spend another 20 minutes tasting your new “Innovation” product or looking at a new “Brand Standards” presentation on your tablet. In fact well known bartenders, mixologists and sommeliers can be outright difficult to nail down for meetings. As indicated on the slide above, Infosys reported that 85% of marketers say social media “aids in engaging in dialogue with potential or current customers”.
In a previous article on incorporating basic CRM practices into your sales process, we highlighted simple attributes that are helpful to track such as spouse, children, favorite sports team, etc. However many times you may not even get that information from regular conversation. But trade influencers in your market are likely to take to the Interwebs and tell you almost everything you need to know. I am reminded of the saying that “Facebook is where you lie to friends and Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers”.
Integrate GreatVines Mobile with Other Social Networks
These days, Social Media is often the first place we learn about expansions, changes of ownership, great reviews and much more about our favorite places. Build your sales call strategy around where your customer is TODAY and not 3 months ago.
In the 2014 “Heroes” release of GreatVines, we showed customers how to incorporate a “Yelp” button into their GreatVines Mobile configuration, allowing reps to visit the Yelp listings of Accounts with one quick tap. Did the Account recently get slammed for having a bad wine list or not enough “craft” tap handles? Maybe a customer reported cocktails being made poorly, indicating a need for staff training. Your speedy reply to offer training of bartenders could go a long way in building the relationship with the account.
While managing such things is certainly not your job, being armed with more information can only help build a stronger relationship with your customers. It shows them that you CARE and you are not just trying to “make your numbers”.