Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sales 2.0: Social Media for Knowledge Management and Sales Collaboration

As the proliferation of social computing has forever changed the way customers gain information and feedback concerning a particular company's products or services, sales representatives are challenged to sell to a prospect base that potentially knows as much, if not more, about the competitive landscape than the reps themselves. This new challenge has caused a number of companies to implement social media solutions within the enterprise as a way to more effectively connect sales representatives to the subject-matter experts they seek.

A recent study conducted by the Aberdeen Group reveals that 59% of Best-in-Class companies consider the use of social media collaboration tools within the sales department to be a priority to the organization, compared to 35% of all others. Aberdeen’s report reveals how top performing companies currently blend process and technology to achieve a higher level of collaboration and, ultimately, a superior sales performance.

The pressure to increase top-line revenue growth (63%) and improve overall sales productivity (60%) were identified by survey respondents as the top two pressures causing organizations to focus resources on the organizational capabilities and technology enablers use to improve sales performance. Nearly a third of respondents (32%) also cited the need to compete with increasing customer and prospect knowledge of products and competitive differentiators as a factor when determining spend on sales performance. Best-in-Class companies indicated that they currently implement formal and documented sales processes (66%), solicit the support of senior management for internal-facing social media solutions (55%), and currently have, or plan to have in the near future, defined performance metrics to measure the impact of social media on sales productivity.

The report demonstrates the value of collectively leveraging organizational practices in process, performance measurement, knowledge management, and technology to provide a foundation for sales success. By combining organizational capabilities with a strong focus on enterprise social media solutions, Best-in-Class companies are able to positively affect performance in average deal size and increase market share.

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