Warm leads in cold weather

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Warm leads in cold weather
Warm leads in cold weather

As the economy worsens, inbound sales opportunities quickly dry up and sales teams are forced to become increasingly proactive. Just picking up the phone and calling a sales target is generally not enough, but that is particularly true during the economic times we are currently in. People move around, layoffs happen and even entire companies disappear. In order for your sales teams to strike up promising conversations in a tough economic climate, they need to know who to call — calling somebody after they just blogged about being laid off could lose a business relationship permanently. Updated inside knowledge of what is going on with the company and the person you are selling to can make the difference between beginning a relationship and ending one.

While cold calling is incredibly impersonal, and rarely successful, it is a necessary part of the sales process. In a cold economy though, it becomes much more challenging, and the need for a warm lead is significantly increased. Fortunately, social sites across the Web are hot with the latest activity on a myriad of subjects and industries, and in the process, are publishing enormous amounts of rich, useful content for sales teams. In fact, much of the most insightful and timely content for sales people on the Web can only be found via social Web sites.

Distilling rich, up-to-date insights from the social Web is a prime example of how sales 2.0 solutions are revolutionizing the sales process. With the Internet as the new business platform, now all stakeholders — prospects, customers, salespeople and marketers — can connect, learn, plan, analyze, engage, collaborate and conduct business in ways that were not even imaginable a few years ago. Sales 2.0 is about leveraging the wealth of information and interactive possibilities on the Web to accomplish customer engagement rather than just customer-data harvesting. Today's “smarter” and better informed prospects are requiring sales people to be better versed both in their products and their prospects, rendering sales 2.0 a two-sided interactive process. It is no longer just who you know that will make business deals happen but “what you know about who you know” along with “when and where you should know it.”

By now you're probably thinking, "This is all great, but who has the time to spend scouring the social Web?" And, you're right — there is just too much stuff to research randomly on your own. But sales 2.0 is also about increased productivity and speed, and its emerging tools accomplish this by intelligently utilizing the massive amount of resources on the Web.

Customer relationship management is a fundamental element of success in an economy like the current one, and the leads you have need to be good ones.  While the world outside gets colder, remember that in a Sales 2.0 world, warm leads are waiting for you on the social Web.

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