Article first published as Is Social Proximity More Important Than Geographic Proximity in Sales? on Technorati
Are sales territories based on geographic lines still the best way to go about dividing B2B sales leads? What if, instead of the sales representative who happens to be closest, companies evaluated the prospects social graph to find out if any representatives have a professional connection to them instead? Does this idea of social proximity trump the fact that someone else might happen to be closer or simply share the same area code? In an article on Social Proximity in Selling Power, Al Campa, Reachable CEO, answers some of these questions and also tells us about some tools that his company has developed to help leverage social connections for sales, recruitment and business networking.
It’s argued that social proximity, the distance socially you would have to travel to get connected to someone else, is far more important to sales engagement than geographic proximity or simply matching zip codes. This coupled with a new LinkedIn Sales Navigator product, video communication (Skype), presentation sharing (webex) and collaboration platforms galore designed to jump over any geographic hurdles, the notion of having connections to more people socially has arguably become the most important factor to not only getting more sales, but recruiters getting more talent, and business professionals establishing more connections.
According to Campa, Reachable’s research has shown, “that having an existing relationship with an account or prospect makes the likelihood that you’ll be able to engage that prospect or account three to four times higher.” You might not be able to say that if you just happen to share the same zip code as someone.
In fact, even with all the information sales people have out there about people via Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and businesses via Hoovers, Google or Reuters, Campa says sales performance hasn’t improved; cycle times are the same, close rates aren’t improving, because the information salespeople need to succeed is not on Twitter or Facebook. The critical insight as he puts it, rather than background information, is “the key to engaging prospects and closing sales.” This information can only come from a trusted source inside the company, which is where the Reachable solutions comes in
What Reachable does, simply, is allow professionals and organizations to leverage their collective relationships and extend their professional networks to reach more people. The service consolidates your contacts from social networks as well as email contacts, and other sources and combines it with their database of upwards of 65 million professionals to create an extended network that enables you to amplify your reach. As quoted in a SmartPlanet article, Campe said Reachable was like, “LinkedIn on steroids.”
You can also leverage contact information from trusted members of your sales and executive teams through ShareGroup, which let’s you use another persons network as if it were your own. Contact information isn’t shared but can be requested through the contact owner. This lets users take advantage of the collective company network while keeping privacy for contacts in place. Reachable also integrates with several popular CRM programs including Salesforce.com and Oracle CRM On-Demand, to help users of these popular services take advantage of the Reachable network. Users don’t have to leave the CRM programs to take advantage of Reachable, which uses a proprietary algorithm to rank leads, contacts, and opportunities by the strength of user relationships from within the CRM system.
Reachable is available in an entry-level version for free, which allows you to see up to 100 connection paths. Beyond that there is a professional edition which starts at $49/month per user.