Play Nice With the Other Kids

“It doesn’t matter what you say you believe – it only matters what you do.”  ― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

As much as I love social networks, I am often surprised at how some people choose to behave when participating in them. On open forums or blogs, it is not difficult to create an anonymous persona that can be hidden behind. Some of these players then use anonymity to unleash their lunatic fringe style fury on anyone who dares to disagree with what they have to say. While I will never understand the need to be so vicious toward others who merely have a different point of view, it happens because these types feel there are no personal or professional repercussions. After all, no one actually knows who they are.

Now let’s switch gears and talk about LinkedIn. Unless you create a fake LinkedIn profile, people know who you are. For that reason alone, I’m even more surprised when I witness people behaving like idiots in discussions. After all, their picture (most of the time), their name and even the terms they use in their profile headline, which often includes the name of their company, is there for everyone to see.

I’m thinking about netiquette because of an exchange I watched play out in a LinkedIn group a few days ago. It is a classic example of what happens when people let their egos and ultimately their anger get the best of them.

It started with the questioner asking people in the group to share their 30-second elevator pitch. The individual asking the question needed to create a pitch and was trying to fire up their creative juices by hearing what others used in their own selling.

That’s when it started.

Another group member confused by the request or merely trying to be helpful, shared a pitch as an example of what the guy asking the question could use.

It didn’t go over well. That happened because:

  1. That wasn’t the request.
  2. The guy who started the discussion didn’t feel his company was represented correctly or fairly.

Then it began to get worse.

Member making the suggested pitch justifies his response. He went on to offer other elevator pitch possibilities. Trying to be funny – always dangerous if someone doesn’t know you – he includes this as one of his suggestions… “I lend money to people who can’t get it from normal sources. Kind of like the mafia. Most people choose me instead of them because they get to avoid the broken kneecaps.”

Another member jumps into the fray and likens pitches to “carnival barkers” and says that while the other guy was being funny, he was making a serious point.

Now question asker is really offended and says so. He feels, and I have to agree with him, that comedian wannabe should be more careful about how he jokes about someone else’s business, especially in an open forum. He goes on to remind both responders that he asked people to share their pitch. He did not ask for suggestions on how to write his. And he certainly wasn’t thrilled about the negative comments made about the industry he works in.

At which point, more justification and arguing and drama ensue. Not good for the reputation of anyone involved. Me, I wasn’t about to say a word, but I was certainly wondering where the group moderators were while this was going on.

The rules of social netiquette are quite basic.

Use common sense, be respectful, don’t attack people, don’t critique unless asked and for goodness sake, do not argue with each other in a public forum. In short, play nice with the other kids. Your brand and reputation depends on it.

P.S. this is group is “open” so there is no expectation that comments made remain private inside the group. Fair game to write about folks.

LinkedIn Keeps Changing it Up

You’ve probably noticed that LinkedIn continues to make changes to the platform. There are so many rolling out – and at various times with no real warning (except if you read their blog) – that you might be having trouble keeping up.

In an earlier post, I talked about changes to the navigation structure, which you can read about here.

In this brief guide to what’s changed, learn about these feature changes and additions:

  • Who’s Viewed Your Updates
  • Unified Search
  • Groups
  • Company Page Analystics
  • Sponsored Updates
  • Education

Who’s Viewed Your Updates

The sharing of content is a core component of today’s social selling strategy. Visibility counts, as does being able to demonstrate that you are a thought leader in your field. But how do you know if anyone is actually paying attention to what you are sharing? Well, now you can.

LinkedIn provides you with the ability to monitor how well the content you share resonates with your audience. On the home page, you find the feature in the right sidebar beneath Who’s Viewed Your Profile. Quickly, you will be able to see the number of people who Viewed what you shared, who Liked the content or who added their Comment. Pretty cool insights to help you determine quickly what content works and what doesn’t. You can also scroll back through prior updates to compare numbers against prior topics.

Search

Unified search is the term used for a streamlined way to search the information on LinkedIn whether it is People, Companies, Groups, Jobs or your Inbox. You don’t even need to select the drop down arrow to the left to select your topic. As you can see in the picture, I typed in the word “sales” and those things that are related to sales pop up in an ordered list.

As happens when changes are made, some features are gone that you may have liked. If you were a fan of searching Updates AKA Signal to find content that others were sharing quickly, you’ll be disappointed to know that – for now anyway – that feature is gone. I’ll keep you posted if that changes.

To see more details on the rest of the changes – CLICK HERE!

SocialTech Tuesday: Solving the Social Selling Puzzle

Sales leaders are often quite puzzled when it comes to making social selling work for their sales organization. Who can blame them? Ask 10 people who promote their expertise in social selling, and it is highly likely that you will hear 10 different definitions of the term. Listen closely and many of the pundits are simply telling you that all your people need is to use LinkedIn. Not the entire story!

I have defined “social selling” as the process of using social media to network, prospect, research, engage, collaborate, educate and close all with the purpose of attaining quota and increasing revenue.

Notice that I mention that social selling is a process that incorporates the effective use of the right technology to achieve some very specific sales objectives. It certainly seems pretty straightforward, right? Then why are sales people struggling to make it work for them? For starters…

It Is a Brand New Ball Game Folks

1. Gaining access to prospects is much harder these days. Buyers just tune out your cold calls and broadcast emails. Even a recognized brand name doesn’t guarantee a sales meeting these days.

2. The decision making process in most companies is much more complex. I read somewhere that on average there will be 12-15 people involved in the purchase decision. Sales people need to build relationships with multiple influencers and sometimes it isn’t easy to tell who those key influencers actually are.

3. Getting a meeting at the C-level doesn’t necessarily move your solution to the front of the line. Yes, you should definitely set your sights on securing a meeting with the right decision maker at the highest level that you can, but you are fooling yourself if you think that the gal at the top isn’t going to involve her people in the process.

4. Social networking tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more have entered the mix. Sales people need to understand how social fits the sales process, but they also need to learn the nuances of participating in a social environment where there are unspoken rules and generally accepted best practices when trying to engage someone in the socialsphere. If you don’t know what they are, you will make a misstep that could be costly.

There Are No Short Cuts

Adopting a social selling approach is about change and change just isn’t easy. It also takes time. It takes setting a STRATEGY, ensuring that sales people have the right sales and technology SKILLS and that EXECUTION of the strategy is happening consistently.

On Thursday, July 25 @ 1pm Eastern, join me over at Top Sales World Academy for a FREE educational session about what it really takes to Solve the Social Selling Puzzle. REGISTER HERE!  By the way, there are other educational sessions being conducted by some of the best in the field of sales!

 

 

SocialTech Tuesday: Have You Been SWAM’d?

For important reasons, today’s post is longer than normal, and I hope you will take time to read through to the end. Your comments are also appreciated!

Since today is SocialTech Tuesday, it seems appropriate to jump into a controversy that has ignited a firestorm of angry discussion among LinkedIn members. Many people are incensed over a new LinkedIn policy introduced (very quietly) in January. The policy relates to groups and is called Sitewide Auto Moderation dubbed SWAM.

Though I am a LinkedIn power user and am pretty well versed in the platform, I had no idea that this policy had been introduced. Chances are that as a group member or a group manager/moderator, you didn’t know about it either. In fact, it seems the only way that people found out about the policy change is if they personally became affected by it. I found out about it a few days ago when a colleague of mine was SWAM’d and asked me if I knew anything about what was going on. That’s when I started digging.

In essence here’s what the policy is all about.

In an effort to reduce spam in the discussion area of groups, which I support by the way, LinkedIn made it possible to force an automatic moderation of posts and comments across “all groups” by any member who had been blocked in just one of the groups that they belonged to. The assumption is that if a Group Manager deemed you a spammer in their group, then all your posts and comments were suspect in other groups as well. While I appreciate the spirit and intent of the new policy, I believe it is pretty far reaching and perhaps pushes the boundaries of censorship.

The official policy is this…

“If a group manager blocks you from their group, your posts to other groups are automatically subject to moderator approval. Your postings to other groups are still submitted, but they are now pending until a member of the group’s management team approves it for posting.”

That means that those messages sit in a cue waiting for a group manager or their team of moderators to approve the comments.

Why is this needed?

That’s the million dollar question, and I am wondering what is the REAL why behind this decision? Group managers have always had the ability to block someone in their group that they felt were spamming versus participating in group conversations. Why is Big Brother stepping in? Is there some reason that decisions cannot be left to the individual group managers? Why is LinkedIn arbitrarily deciding that an infraction in one group means the member is an offender in every other group?

Stop Drinking Your Own Kool-Aid

Is this yet another example of how companies become too internally focused when it comes to their decision making? Not only does it seem like the far reaching effects were not considered by asking tougher questions internally, it doesn’t appear that LinkedIn bothered to seek out external feedback either.

Here are other questions that I believe needed to be asked and answered before plowing ahead with this decision:

What is the ramification to the member if we put this policy/technology change into effect? LinkedIn will tell you that if you fall victim to being SWAM’d you only need to approach each Group Manager and ask them to reinstate you. Imagine you belong to 50 groups. Does LinkedIn really think that forcing someone to reach out to each group manager individually will be an easy task? Can you imagine the time it takes? What if those group managers aren’t actively managing their group and never bother to respond? It happens all the time and now the individual is sort of screwed if no one pays attention to their reinstatement request.

How will this affect revenue we earn from premium subscriptions? I will say up front that I do not believe premium members deserve special consideration per se, although you could argue that maybe new features should be rolled out to them first. What I do believe is that somebody should have done a little analysis to see what it means if premium members are being kicked to the curb by Group Managers with no notice, warning or explanation. As of this writing, I can’t give you numbers, but I can say that several hundred people affected have publicly said they reverted back to the “free” version. That lost revenue will start adding up.

Does each group clearly communicate guidelines with respect to what content is appropriate for posting in the “discussion” area? It is very easy to create group rules and remind members to read them. If there are no group guidelines, is it really fair to ban someone who chooses to post self-promotions? How can you be accused of breaking the rules if there are none?

What will be the administrative impact on Group Managers? One Group Manager told me that this new policy has placed an impossible burden on him. His group is quite large – 30,000+ – and overnight he started having upwards of 500 posts DAILY to have to moderate. Manually. The policy was intended to help deal with SPAM. Didn’t anyone ask the question about whether or not these group leaders would have the bandwidth to deal with the outcome of this decision?

Is it possible that Group Managers with an act to grind will use the ability to block people unfairly? In other words, is there a chance that knowing a member could be blocked in all groups, would they use that as an opportunity to retaliate for a perceived infraction, the fact that they didn’t like the individual’s comments, or worse, use it as an opportunity to put their competitors at a disadvantage? In the course of researching the situation, it does appear that there are instances of this happening.

What will this decision mean for the power that participating in groups has represented? Being able to contribute to conversations or start discussions gives a group member the ability to demonstrate their thought leadership and capabilities. Done smartly, that visibility leads to sales opportunities. But if members know that a Group Manager could get pissed off at them, cut them off because they didn’t like what they said or posted, or accidentally clicked on the wrong button, why would anyone waste time participating in groups at all?

Aren’t we obligated to clearly communicate this change to all members? For me, this is the most important question that LinkedIn should have asked. If you believe in the decision, why hide? Why not clearly communicate what you are doing and why and ask for feedback before actually putting it into application. It seems to be common practice for social sites to makes changes without bothering to tell anyone. When it comes to policy though, I think the company should be obligated to make a public statement. As a member of the platform, I’m bound by the terms of use, but if you keep slipping in whammies like this one, how is that really being transparent?

What will be the impact on our Customer Service team? My point above might have mitigated many of the support tickets and complaints being filed. Without having any knowledge of the change or what happened if a group member was blocked, hundreds of support tickets have been filed. That is a heck of a lot of manpower to waste.

I plan to keep watch with respect to this policy, so expect more posts to come.

For now I will close with the following…

After 29 years working in technology, I’ve seen a lot of big players come and go. Arrogance slowly creeps in as people think, we are big, bad and no one can touch us. LinkedIn is not immune to this insidious disease, which may be a small crack today, but a chasm in the not too distant future. Guaranteed, a band of super smart tech nerds are out there somewhere working away in their garage to create the next best thing.

When a social networking company forgets that it is the members that got them where they are now, the fall may be slow but it certainly will be imminent.

SocialTech Tuesday: Content Captures Interest

Unless this is the first post you’ve ever read of mine, you already know that I believe social selling success breaks down into 3 buckets:

  • Strategy
  • Skills
  • Execution

Basically, you need a plan, sales and technology skills, the right technology to support your goals, consistent execution and a commitment to measure and track your results.

With buyers starting the journey without sales people initially, you need a way to create a sense of authority and influence, and anyone who sells anything certainly needs to be visible and easily found.

A cornerstone of your social selling strategy is having great content to share. And your first tip today, is that the content should not always be yours and it most definitely cannot be a sales pitch!

If you work for a company that is sizable enough to have marketers creating content for you to share…awesome. A word of caution though…the content being served up cannot be perceived by your prospects as your own personal love fest. In other words, provide value in the case studies, white papers, video’s, blog posts or recorded webinars. If all you do is talk about what you sell and how great you are, you just missed the entire point of what social selling is all about.

If you have no content to work with here are 15 ways to serve some up:

  1.  Write a blog and/or comment on other top blogs in your industry.
  2. Conduct podcast interviews with industry leaders.
  3. Curate the content from key influencers (not competitors) or websites you like – Forbes, Mashable, TechCrunch, Top Sales World…whoever is important to you in your field… via RSS feeds and using a dashboard tool like Hootsuite.
  4. Follow influencers in your field on Twitter and on LinkedIn. Share their posts.
  5. Reach out to other influencers and ask about guest blogging on their site. If they do podcast or video interviews, ask to be considered for an interview.
  6. Share content from the people you respect and follow on LinkedIn. Use the new mention feature to give them a shout-out.
  7. Conduct a webinar. Deliver your own content or set it up panel style and moderate. Record the session for post follow up and use in sharing content later.
  8. Create a kick-butt presentation and post via Slideshare and then share it with you minions and encourage them to share with theirs.
  9. Curate a newspaper using Paper.li. Add 25 of the top people you like and include their blog posts, tweets, etc. It will post automatically through your Twitter account, and you can also share it with others via email or LinkedIn.
  10. Speak at an event – could be as a featured speaker or a panelist and have it videotaped. Share the video on your LinkedIn profile.
  11. Create a video of your tip of the week. Get really good at it and do it daily.
  12. Host a live tweet chat, capture key points from the discussion and turn that into blog posts, interviews or presentations.
  13. Get to know editors at various online sites who publish blog posts or magazines. Offer to guest write an article.
  14. Host and record a Google hangout session focused on an educational topic that your prospects would be interested in.
  15. Conduct a survey and share the results with prospects and others in your network. For example, I co-authored our Social Media and Sales Quota report, which you can download from our website.

Don’t become overwhelmed with these suggestions, you only need to choose a few of them to get you started!

If you have content to work with that’s cool. Mix in any corporate content that has been created for you and also integrate a few of the suggestions that I’ve shared with you.

Don’t forget that sharing only your content is boring and will appear self-serving. Make the content you share a nice mix of yours and that of others who offer fresh insights and perspectives.

Once you create content, you have to get really good at sharing it. That takes an organized approach and scheduling, which I will talk about next week. Until then, happy selling!

 

NEW – Get LinkedIn Not Locked Out online class – SocialTech Tuesday – DETAILS and REGISTRATION HERE

NEW LinkedIn Navigation

For an admitted tech geek, such as I am, I love that the one constant with technology is that it is always changing.  Since last fall, LinkedIn has been making some substantial changes to the platform and more are coming. Earlier this month, I wrote about the new Mentions feature. Today, I am going to give you the low down on the new Navigation structure.

BEFORE

NOW

I’ve known for a month or so that LinkedIn’s navigation structure was changing.  As with all changes to the platform, they roll out slowly over time. That does present a bit of a challenge when conducting training for people, because some might have been affected by changes while others have not.

This morning when I logged in, I noticed that I now had the new navigation bar. With more of a minimalist look and feel, certain features have been moved or changed.  It might be a little unsettling at first, so excuse the pun…let me help you navigate your way through the changes.

By the way, I’m teaching an online LinkedIn class next week, and I’ll be getting into greater detail regarding these changes and more. For details and registration, click here.

If you look at the before picture, you see that the structure was: Home, Profile, Contacts, Groups, Jobs, Inbox, Companies, News and More.

In the new layout, you see Home, Profile, Network (contacts are here), Jobs and Interests. Here are some of the features that have been moved or changed:

  • Over on the upper right, you’ll see the envelope icon, which is your Inbox. The flag indicates any network notifications, the head with the plus sign gives you a quick way to add connections and then you’ll see your avatar aka your picture. Hover your mouse over the picture and you’ll see a host of other options.
  • The search bar has been moved to the upper center. To the left of the search box, you’ll see what looks like people. Click the arrow to expand the menu and then you can elect to search People, Updates, Jobs, Companies, Inbox and Groups.
  • When you scroll down any of the pages, the bottom portion of the navigation bar – the place where you see Home, Profile, Network, Jobs and Interests will disappear. Don’t be alarmed though. To see it again, move your cursot to the top of the page. It will also reappear when you scroll all the way to the top.
  • Interests – underneath this tab is where Companies, Groups and  Influencers (news) have been consolidated.
    • Groups – I always liked that you could basically get to any of the groups that you are most active in with one click. Now you need to go to Interest, click on Groups and then you see your group list. You won’t find the Group Directory tab any longer. While in the Groups section, you’ll use search at the top of the navigation bar.
    • Companies – When you click on companies you’ll find the Updates for the companies that you follow, you can search for companies, etc. As the administrator for the Social Centered Selling company page, it was nice that it was easily accessible from the drop down menu that used to reside under the companies tab. No longer. Oh well, guess you can’t have everything.
  • Recommendations – they haven’t disappeared but the tab for them that was under Contacts (now Network) has. Recommendations are still found on your profile page.
  • Here are three more things that you may have been used to using, but you will no longer find on the navigation bar:
    • Skills and Experience – Go to http://www.linkedin.com/skills/, or move your cursor over any of the skills listed on a profile and click the title of the skill.
    • Polls – Go to polls http://polls.linkedin.com/ or share polls within a group.
    • Signal – Go to http://www.linkedin.com/signal or click the Search icon at the top of your homepage page and then click Updates in the drop down menu to the left.

Though the navigation is more streamlined, it will take a little getting used too.

Get more detailed help by REGISTERING NOW or next week’s LinkedIn class.                                                                                                                                                        .

 

LinkedIn Taking a Cue from Twitter?

Interesting that LinkedIn is becoming more Twitter like every day. They are now rolling out the Mentions feature, which is a nifty way to engage people in viewing and contributing their comments to your updates. Think @barbaragiamanco on Twitter and now you can do something similar on LinkedIn.

The feature also lets you mention companies and when you do your message is then linked to their LinkedIn company page from your update or comment.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to your homepage share box to post your update or click “comment” on someone else’s update.
  2. Type “@” and then begin typing a name in the box. You’ll then see a list of potential people or companies you can mention.
  3. Click a name you want from the list and continue typing your message.

Note: LinkedIn members outside your network can also be mentioned if they’ve commented on the same update.

After you select someone from the list and finish your update, that person will receive an email that lets them know that you’ve mentioned them. The name will also be linked to a profile or Company Page from your update.

Maria mentioned me in her Status Update, and I received an email notification. Not only is it clear she is giving me visibility with her network of connections, but I have the opportunity to respond and thank her for doing so.

LinkedIn has certainly progressed since back in the day. As one of the first 1 million members using LinkedIn – number 874,098 to be exact, much has changed. In case you weren’t aware of it, LinkedIn celebrated its 10th anniversary on Cinco de Mayo (that’s May 5 for you gringo’s). In 10 years’ time, I’ve seen the platform evolve into a powerhouse sales tool. From the beginning, I believed that if LinkedIn could help someone secure that next career gig by harnessing the power of their LinkedIn network, it seemed obvious that the same principle would apply to sales.

Check out the new Mentions feature and keep me posted on how it is improving the engagement in your LinkedIn network. And remember that this feature is just the next in a wave of more to come. In an upcoming post, I’ll write about what’s coming with Contacts. You will be wowed!

P.S. Ask me how I know my LinkedIn member number. Do you know yours?

Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code: A Sales Mastery Interview with Jill Konrath

Without question, LinkedIn is the premier, powerhouse B2B selling tool. With over 200 million users leveraging the platform, LinkedIn’s power is undisputed. For the pasts 9 years, I have not only been an avid user, but I was convinced – even before the addition of all the features and functions available to us today – that LinkedIn would become an indispensable tool to sales people.

In our recent report, The Impact of Social Media and Sales Quota and Corporate Revenue, we wanted to know if using social sales tools like LinkedIn actually led to revenue results. Not surprisingly, the answer is yes! Sales leaders need to know that not only do sellers who use social media outperform their sales peers in relation to quota objectives, but they are also able to track back their social selling activity to closed deals.

Of the social networking tools that sales people told us they used when networking, prospecting or doing their sales call planning, LinkedIn is by far the leader. And that leads me to my Sales Mastery Interview with Jill Konrath.

Jill recently co-authored an e-book with Ardath Albee called Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code. Their survey of 3000+ salespeople revealed that 4.9% of them were blowing it out on LinkedIn. And, what they’re doing with LinkedIn is fundamentally different from what most sellers were doing.

During the interview, Jill and I talk about:

  • What differentiates the top sellers and everyone else using LinkedIn.
  • How top sellers use LinkedIn as a platform to build their professional presence.
  • LinkedIn capabilities that top sellers use frequently.
  • Social selling strategies that lead to more sales.
  • How top sellers use LinkedIn to prepare for their sales calls.
  • The differences in how top sellers approach groups versus everyone else.
  • The truth about the investment in time and why it matters.
  • Action steps to better leverage LinkedIn for prospecting.

As with all of my interviews, I learned from another sales master! Jill is a sales thought leader and best-selling author that I’ve followed for years, and just a few weeks after this interview, I had the opportunity to hang with Jill and enjoy dinner and drinks while she was in Atlanta on business. If you don’t know Jill, and I’m not sure how that could be possible, here is what you need to know. She is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. Using fresh strategies that actually work with today’s crazy-busy buyers, she helps sellers create new opportunities, sell more to existing clients and speed up sales cycles.

Her newsletter is read by over 100,000 salespeople globally. And, she’s a frequent speaker at sales kick-off meetings and conferences.

Her expertise has by featured by ABC News, Fortune, Forbes, The New York Times, Inc. and Selling Power. Everywhere you look, you see Jill’s name today; she’s on the leading edge of what it takes to be successful in a challenging business environment.

Enjoy the interview!

Social Media Does Impact Revenue!

Social Media and Sales Quota” report is now available and packed with great highlights about how sales people use social media to sell.

When working with sales organizations in the business-to-business (B2B), space we are constantly asked if using social media as part of the sales process actually generates a measurable return.

Jim Keenan of A Sales Guy Consulting and I decided to find out if social selling truly impacted sales. With all the hype that surrounds social media and the term “social selling”, we wanted to know if social made a difference where it mattered…in quota.
With that in mind, we conducted a random, anonymous survey to find out what sales people had to say.

Our “Social Media and Sales Quota” survey report is packed with great highlights about how sales people use social media to sell.

You will discover that 78.3% of our survey respondents do use social media in their selling process and that 72.6% of sales people using social media outperformed their sales peers in 2012!

Here are just a few of our key findings…

  • Quota attainment and sales performance. In 2012, 72.6% of sales people using social media as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often.
  • There is a direct correlation between closed deals and social media usage. Sales leaders want to know where the Return-on-Investment (ROI) is if their sales people spend time on social media sites. 54% of our survey respondents have tracked their social media usage back to closed deals.
  • The time investment in using social media to sell. A common concern among sales leaders is that their sales people will spend more time on social media sites then they will actually spend selling. It turns out that their concern is unwarranted. 50.1% of sales people told us that their time spent using social media ranged from less than 5% to up to 10%.
  • The report includes other eye openings insights and clearly shows that those sales people using social media significantly outperform their peers when it comes to achieving/exceeding quota and closing deals!

Help Us Get the Word Out!

Sample Text:
FREE Social Media and Sales Quota Survey Report. Find out how savvy sales people use social media to achieve quota and close deals! Get the results from our 2013 survey.

Sign Up on the Home Page RIGHT NOW to Download Your Copy!

CRM Won’t Solve Your Revenue Problem

The promise of CRM systems is that when sales organizations implement them, revenue will increase, right? My own experience as a corporate sales manager when CRM systems were first being rolled out told me that nothing could be farther from the truth. But by now, you might be thinking that things have changed. Well, not so much.

I just finished reading a white paper from CSO Insights and as a part of their 2012 Sales Performance Optimization report they asked companies to share the top three benefits that they’ve experienced as a result of making the investment in a CRM system. Out of a list of ten benefits (I didn’t count “other”), guess what…

  • Increasing revenues shows up #7 on the list
  • Improved win rates is #8
  • Shortened sales cycles rolls in at #10

Given that sales executives we talk to tell us that their top three priorities are:

  • Increasing revenue
  • Improving win rates
  • Shortening the length of time it takes to close a deal

Uh….

It seems there is a pretty big disconnect. While the top three benefits cited: improved rep/manager communication, improved forecast accuracy and reduced administrative burden on salespeople are all important, clearly CRM systems don’t close deals.

The whitepaper goes on to talk about the importance of sales learning to leverage social media, especially tools like LinkedIn and Twitter, but we find it surprising at how many sales leaders and their salespeople still resist.

In early May, I responded to the question, “What will it take to make social media a serious business tool?” on Focus.com. In my post, I shared eight reasons why adoption is slower than it should be.

Technology is merely an enabler and as the CSO Insights study has shown that CRM systems may improve internal efficiencies, but they don’t do much in terms of driving revenue. Isn’t it time to look to another approach?