Handling Opportunities Better and Way Cooler - Customer Relationship Management

What happens once you’ve generated this lead and made it into some sort of opportunity,you hip,way cool Sales 2.0 guy?

Then comes the need to optimize your chances of closing the deal,and there are Sales 2.0 tools for collaboration in the enterprise and for richer insights on your possible customer. Companies like InsideView provide you with the sales intelligence tools and the Superstah! winner,Oracle,with the Sales 2.0 collaboration tools that can improve your chances of effectively concluding the sale.

There are two important social capabilities for the Sales 2.0 professional. First is the ability to engage the human resources and knowledge of your entire company,not just your sales team member. That means that the collective knowledge of the staff can be put to good use helping you determine what resources you need to bring to bear to help you with your opportunity.

The second is the use of tools to scour the Web for information that will give you a competitive edge,a.k.a. sales intelligence.

Collaboration:Sales 2.0 for the Enterprise
In 1380,“Pearl,” an alliterative poem written by the same guy who wrote Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (you read that,right?),referred to “The mo the myryer,so God me blesse.” This was the first known reference to “the more the merrier,”which has achieved the exalted status of a trite cliché. However,in the case of successful sales,it’s the truth.

Engaging other employees—say,in the marketing department— who know the companies or people involved in your opportunities,who have legal expertise you might need,who are on other sales teams that might have sold a similar deal,has become something that can make or break a closing. That doesn’t mean you have to walk department to department to find the individuals who might know a snippet or a chunk of information. It doesn’t mean you have to send out an e-mail query in the hope of response.

What it does mean is that,using contemporary digital tools,you can actually improve your chances to win a deal.

IBM Lotus Connections has an outcome-based social software module called “activities”—a temporary wiki built around a specific time-constrained event that is retired to an archive when the activity is completed. Salespeople use it to create an opportunity-focused collaboration space where all the possible experts or knowledgeable individuals in regard to the opportunity can aggregate that knowledge.

For the longer term,sales organizations use wikis,not just the activities,to do things like fine tune sales “scripts” or develop field sales guides that cover all components of selling at a particular company or to a particular customer segment. What makes these collaborations particularly valuable is the addition of comments on the different facets of selling that enhance the skills of the salesperson. To put it simply,shared content rules.

Salesforce.com is one company that is providing a platform for aggregating content for the benefit of salespeople. In 2007,they acquired an AppExchange startup called Koral and rebranded their social content management system as part of salesforce.com’s platform. It was renamed Salesforce ContentExchange. It provides a capability to incorporate any content and then comment on it,tag it,create RSS feeds,rate it,rank it—all those things needed to make it a genuine conversation that draws on actual knowledge.

That is just one of the tools that sales can use—especially when aligned with marketing. All the tools that companies use for their Enterprise 2.0 efforts can be organized to benefit sales departments.

That’s the perfect segue to introduce our Superstah! for this chapter: Oracle Social CRM.


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