Best Sales Team: Lone Wolves or Wolf Pack?

What’s more effective a lone wolf or a wolf pack?

The reaction to my “Everyone is in sales” blog was swift.

Comments included: “Salespeople are competitive with each other and don’t collaborate” and “People in organizations don’t want to help the salespeople because the salespeople get all the credit (and money) and the helpers just get extra work.”

There is a view that better let the salespeople be salespeople — lone wolves.  Give them the latest gadgets to make them better hunters and get out of the way.

Some People’s View of The Ideal Salesperson

(“Mexican Wolf 2 yfb-edit 1” by Clark, Jim (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) – [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/)

However, prospects are increasingly well educated about what they are looking for.  Aggressive content marketing by competitors results in prospects having ready access to comparative information about products.  Salespeople don’t have the information advantage, sometimes even about their own products.

To win, salespeople need to be capable of orchestrating the work of an internal team.  Having visibility inside their enterprise to understand who has valuable insights to win a deal is critical.

Enterprises that fail to enable their wolves to work in packs along with everyone else in the company will suffer the fate of another animal, the Dinosaur!

 (photo: Creative Commons)

Reachable started as a solution for lone wolves.  The core Reachable product allows anyone to create an individual account, set up lists of targets, and let Reachable analyze their contacts from LinkedIn, Facebook, Outlook, and Gmail.  It figures out their best connection paths to these targets along with valuable insights about people, companies and their relationships and affiliations.

We too evolved when we realized that the future is in Collective Sales Intelligence, and we added the Team functionality.

Team enables anyone to create a team of people he/she wants to cooperate with and link their Reachable accounts in a way that protects their private data while enabling the discovery of who knows who in the team.

If you are interested in learning about how to create a Team for your company or a group of collaborators, please contact sales@reachable.com and ask.  If you are not presently a Reachable user and want to try it, visit our web site and create your account here (of course, we have a video!)

Laurent Ohana, CEO

Everyone is in Sales, or should be…

Have you ever heard the expression “everyone is in sales”?
I have heard it over and over from CEOs and CROs at clients and prospects.  But more often than not, it was stated as a goal, something they longed for… and knew was beyond their reach.  It was more “if everyone were in Sales, how much more productive and profitable the company would be.”
Surely, they don’t mean that every person in their company should drop what they are doing and start generating leads and calling prospects.  But they are decrying organizational silos that make it too difficult for employees of the same company to support the company’s sales activities in any way they can.  This goes beyond the work done by organizational consultants to reengineer sales organizations.  This is about rethinking how the company operates, how sales intelligence can flow from anywhere in the organization to the sales team to support the sales effort on a continuous basis.
Think about this: everyone in the company has a LinkedIn profile and/or a Facebook page, yet most company employees are strangers to each other and are not networked to each other.  Every employee has several email accounts away from the company with contacts from prior jobs and other personal contacts.  All of that data is in the Cloud.  And then you have the on-premise Outlook and the CRM system.  Where do you think is most of the social capital of the company?  In the Cloud clearly and over time it will only get more and more Cloud-based.
Reachable has a built the tools to empower groups of users from any part of an enterprise to collaborate around the sales process and make “everyone is in sales” a reality.  Our Teams solution allows users to have control over their contact data in the Cloud and to share it with other members of a private network set up by an enterprise.  The network members know what are the sales targets that are being pursued by the enterprise and useful connections in the private network are surfaced to the relevant people on a continuous basis.
If you would like to try Teams for your organization, please contact sales@reachable.com or sign up for an account here today.  It takes 5 minutes to set up a Team account for your company, and you can start a Team with ONE user and then invite others.
Laurent Ohana, CEO

Social Selling is Really Marketing by Salespeople

I was quite shocked recently when one of the leading bloggers/consultants of the Social Selling movement felt the need to write about what Social Selling was not.  Basically, she correctly reminded folks that selling is hard — you need to get off your butt, get away from LinkedIn and Twitter, make some calls, visit clients, attend conferences and get yourself known in the community.  With all the hype about Social Selling it was time for someone from the inside to send the wake up call — and implicitly make the case for Reachable.  As one of our users exclaimed to his colleagues about Reachable on their Chatter: “this is money!”

Then what is Social Selling? It’s really simple.  Social Networks have hundreds of millions of members.  They give you the ability to a) establish a presence and to b) promote your presence by broadcasting messages to the community at large or to segments of the community that you “connected with.”  Social Selling is about learning how to have the “proper presence” — is your picture nicely done, is the name of your company properly spelled, are you describing yourself in a way that would make someone want to connect with you and do business with you?  And it is about how to message other people on the network to let them know you exist — do you send them birthday congratulations, comment on their posts, or just send them an InMail and hope they will think you are worthy and return the email?
In the end, Social Selling is really Social Marketing except that now the Marketing Department wants salespeople to do it too.  But the function of Marketing is to generate leads and the Sales Team is to close the deals.  I don’t believe that these distinctions are sacrosanct and they will eventually fade into a new way of doing things.  But today, Social Selling is asking Sales to do Marketing.
Instead, Sales should be closing sales.  And to close sales, you should use Reachable.  Here’s why: all marketing activities result in A LIST.  Recruiters have researchers to create the candidates’ list, Investment Bankers have analysts to create target lists from CapIQ or others, and so on.  In the end, it’s ON THE LIST OR IT DOES NOT EXIST!
Better than anyone else, Reachable shows you how to leverage ALL your connections and the connections of people who trust you enough to give you a partial view into their contacts (like co-workers, partners, vendors, customers) to easily penetrate the target accounts on YOUR LIST.  That’s not Social Selling or Marketing — it’s hard core sales.  If you are not using your relationships to get every tidbit of information, and every possible angle to get to the decision makers (not those with the titles) then you are at a disadvantage.  And if your organization is not working hard to enable you to leverage the relationships of the organization, then it is putting you at a competitive disadvantage.
Reachable can fix this.  You can sign up today for a free trial and use it now for yourself and/or to evaluate it for your organization.  To quote our favorite user of the day, “this is money.”
Laurent Ohana, CEO

Missing from the Corporate Balance Sheet: the Enterprise Social Capital

Readers of the financial press are surely well versed in the analysis of balance sheets.  However, there is a critical corporate asset that you are not going to find on any balance sheet: the Enterprise Social Capital.  Now, thanks to the partnership between Reachable, Leadership Directories and S&P Capital IQ, the Enterprise Social Capital can be analyzed and systematically managed for the benefit of a business.

What is Enterprise Social Capital and what role does it play in the success of a business?

In order to scale, businesses had to develop task specialization.  The founding team of the business scaled by dividing tasks in increasingly thin slices.  Now the role of recreating the original “can do,” “we are in this together” and “everybody is in sales” attitude that made the business succeed falls on the management team and its culture experts, and modern Social Enterprise tools.

Social Selling tools emerged with the rise of Social Networks, in particular Facebook and LinkedIn.  These tools are based on the premise that everyone is connected on a “social graph.”  Social Selling tools posit that the nature of the social and professional links between people can be analyzed to generate insights about who would buy what from whom, and to trigger purchasing decisions by activating influencers.

There is strong logic behind this approach.  There might come a day when businesses will buy from other businesses without human intervention, perhaps purely based on algorithms.  But until that day arrives, relationships and the trust they carry have a distinct influence on what gets bought, from whom and how quickly.  Relationships do matter.

But businesses are not leveraging relationship as well as they could.

Most Social Selling tools are geared to helping an individual connect to other individuals on a social network — mostly to people that they don’t know.  That only goes so far.  Relationships you make on a social network are superficial — it takes a while to know what to expect, what can be asked and what is proper.  Often, people connect, exchange niceties and that’s that.

Further, corporate marketing departments are increasingly leveraging the personal accounts of employees as a channel.  They want employees to push a corporate message.  This commercialization makes Social Networks less and less the place where people develop genuine, trusting relationships.

Reachable takes a different approach.  We start by analyzing the people you already know.  We create a cloud-based contacts vault where you can store contacts acquired on Social Networks or off-line. Reachable’s algorithms figure out whether these contacts could be connectors to people and companies you are trying to reach.

To perform these complex analytics, Reachable has partnered with Leadership Directories and S&P Capital IQ to access its verified profiles of people and companies — millions of profiles that are developed and maintained with exacting standards.  What these profiles tell us is where people have been and what they did there and for how long.  Using big data analytics, Reachable is then able to create its own graph of professional connections for millions of people.  Reachable can not only recommend connectors to people and companies but also explain why it would make sense to go through these connectors to reach a target.  These “relationship insights” are essential in helping you navigate the opportunities that your connections can deliver.

But Reachable went a step further and tackled the enterprise challenge.  Our “Team” solution enables a group of people to inter-connect their contacts without exposing them.  No one in a “Team” gets to see anyone else’s contacts, nor can the enterprise that created the “Team” for its employees.  This is the first time that you can get a complete view of the Social Capital of an enterprise — all the contacts of the company in a data set that can be analyzed and leveraged.  All that is possible provided that the people who participate continue to own their data and no one can violate the privacy protections that are inherent in the Reachable platform.

The value of this new collective data set is immense.  If you are looking for a connection to a specific person or company, you will be shown which of your teammates can make the connection.  You can measure how well connected is your sales team to the entire list of accounts you expect to generate revenues from this year.  You can hire people who truly have the connections you need to break into new accounts and keep existing customers.  This can be done instantly and at enterprise scale.

This makes the enterprise “Team” a unique and powerful asset for the enterprise.  But it’s an asset that you will not find on the balance sheet of any business.

Laurent Ohana