Posted: May 9th, 2012 | Author: reachableblog | Filed under: Opinion | Tags: social crm, social selling | No Comments »
Editor’s Note: The article below by Reachable’s CEO, Al Campa, was just posted on Startup Beat.
I’ve been in the technology business for more than 20 years, including a stint as an executive at Taleo, a leader in the talent management sector. The talent management industry is centered on people. But if you think about it, so is every other type of business.
I have always believed that business is about relationships—who you know, who your friends know, who your colleagues and their friends know. I’ve noticed over the years that the best salespeople realize this and leverage their contacts to generate new business, forge partnerships and drive revenue. That’s always been true. But with new technology tools come new ways to extend social and professional networks and new capabilities that allow enterprises to put the power of social media behind sales initiatives.
That’s what Reachable is all about. I first heard about Reachable in its initial startup phase in the spring of 2011. The description of the company—a web-based platform to help businesses leverage social and professional network connections—piqued my interest, and when I took a look, I immediately saw the power it had to change the way businesses operate. I came on board as CEO soon thereafter.
Reachable empowers business people to quickly leverage all the contacts within their organization to broaden their professional networks so they can get their solutions in front of the right people. This enables social selling, a new way to convert cold leads into warm ones by making hidden social connections within organizations visible as a comprehensive ‘social graph’ that can be leveraged to drive sales and make new connections.
Applying Social Media at the Enterprise Level
I’ve been amazed at how quickly social media tools like Facebook were adopted worldwide to enhance personal relationships and facilitate communication between friends and family.
Businesses have adopted social media tools to drive commerce and expand their spheres of influence to some degree. However, until recently, there was a noticeable absence of online tools to enable enterprises to fully leverage the power of social media.
At Reachable, we make that happen by enabling everyone in an enterprise to leverage not only their own personal connections but those of their friends, colleagues, customers and channel partners. Reachable makes previously invisible connections between all parties in a potential business transaction evident, connecting the dots between sales reps and prospects, account managers and clients, hiring managers and applicants, suppliers and logistics professionals, software vendors and IT managers – the possibilities are endless.
It takes a powerful platform to fully realize the power of the social graph on an enterprise level. The Reachable platform’s ancestor was the engine behind Ancestry.com, which was developed in Utah to connect the dots between relatives. The developer, Paul Stevens, went on to tackle the more complex problem of connecting the dots between business contacts.
Revealing connections between business contacts is more complicated because it’s a broader network. To make the invisible visible, the Reachable platform brings all known contacts together from multiple sources—social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook as well as work histories and other enterprise data—and uses a sophisticated scoring algorithm to rank contacts by relevancy, using factors like the number of common connections and how recently connections were made.
The result is the most powerful social relationship management tool ever built to make enterprise contacts more…reachable. We’ve all experienced situations when a simple conversation illuminates common connections between ourselves and our friends. By illuminating the tangled webs of connections in the business world, Reachable helps customers extend their reach and leverage relationships to get business done more quickly.
A New, Networked Reality
I believe Reachable has the power to change the way businesses operate, just as social networks have changed the way people communicate on a personal level. Today, businesses tend to assign work based on geographical territory or industry sectors. That might have made sense in the past.
But does it still make sense? If business is all about people—and I believe it is—it’s not hard to imagine a future in which businesses might assign work based on social graphs, leveraging interconnected networks. Considering that relationships are the fuel that drives business, a social-graph strategy might be a far more effective and productive approach.
Reachable integrates with popular CRM tools like Salesforce and Oracle CRM on Demand. It helps salespeople streamline prospecting, target the right people and leverage the power of the organization’s collective network. It helps recruiters gain warm leads, qualify candidates and expand their networks. And it helps professionals in any business role (or those seeking a new position) to find and manage contacts and influence key decision-makers.
At Reachable, it’s all about extending your reach.
Posted: May 2nd, 2012 | Author: reachableblog | Filed under: Opinion | Tags: social crm, social proximity selling, social selling | No Comments »
Editor’s Note: The article below by Reachable’s CEO, Al Campa, was just posted on the Selling Power blog.
With all the changes in business, one thing remains the same: business is about people. Despite globalization, technology revolutions, social networks, and razor-thin competitive margins, business is still about people working with people. People who can’t connect effectively with others rarely do well in business.
Consider sales, for instance. We buy things from people we have positive relationship with, people we like and trust. And if those relationships stay positive, we keep buying from them over many years. So one would assume that when companies assign sales territories and determine which sales reps will sell to which accounts, they would consider the strength of social relationships in their assignments.
In reality, however, most sales territories are determined by geographic boundaries and physical proximity. Sales reps are assigned to nearby zip codes or area codes, or they are assigned by state boundaries where they live. Yeah, who cares about whether they have good connections, solid relationships, and reliable networks? If the zip code matches, well, anyone can see that’s what’s important, right?
Yet in the age of conference calls, WebEx presentations, and Skype, social proximity becomes a far more important tie to an account or prospect than geographic proximity.
To make the best use of this social proximity, Reachable has created an online solution that helps businesspeople leverage their personal contacts and the contacts of others in their organization, to broaden their professional network and reach people they need to know – people to people, rather than area code to area code. Our research shows 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.
At Reachable, we believe that social connections and relationships are solid gold for a sales organization and should be leveraged as much as possible. We make it possible for a company to leverage and manage the connections of all its employees, as well as its customers and partners. And we integrate these connections into the sales process. Assigning leads and accounts by social proximity, rather than geographic proximity, will increase account engagement and account knowledge and increase close rates.
Reachable offers a number of capabilities that make leveraging social selling easier for reps who have contacts spread all over the map. Considering that reps probably have contacts in one or more email address books, social networks, databases, etc., Reachable brings together these contacts so reps don’t have to check different places to see if they have a connection with a lead or within a target account. Once a user has imported his or her contacts, Reachable scours all contacts to find potential connections.
In addition, being able to leverage the networks of others can extend one’s reach dramatically. Reachable’s ShareGroup feature lets salespeople leverage the contacts of trusted associates on their sales or executive teams. Users opt-in to be a part of a ShareGroup and are able to leverage one another’s network as if they were their own. Contact information (email, phone numbers) are not shared but can be requested from the contact owner. This lets users take full advantage of the collective network within their company while maintaining contact privacy.
Many salespeople spend much of their day working within their CRM system. Reachable is tightly integrated with such popular CRM systems as Salesforce, so salespeople never have to leave their CRM app to take advantage of Reachable. Within CRM systems, Reachable uses proprietary algorithms to automatically rank leads, contacts, and opportunities by the strength of a user’s relationship to them.
Salespeople now have much more information at their fingertips than they had even a few years ago. Company information is available via Hoover’s, Thompson Reuters, or Google. Information about people is available via LinkedIn. Facebook and Twitter provide social information. But in spite of this deluge of new information, close rates may not be improving. Cycle times are not decreasing. Sales teams are not getting more productive, because critical insight, rather than background information, is the key to engaging prospects and closing sales.
Insight is a window into company goals, key business problems, and the critical initiatives a company is launching to achieve its goals, as well as the key people internally who are assigned to make it all happen. The insight on a company’s business problem can come from only a trusted internal source, not Twitter. If you don’t have relationships in an account, you are never going to find out what its key initiatives are and how you can help solve them. It’s all about the people you need to reach, the information you need to have at your fingertips, and the ability to engage with those key people to help solve the problems they deem critical.
These are just a few of the Reachable capabilities that can help salespeople become more people-to-people effective. To find out more about the Reachable solution, go to www.reachable.com.