In this series of articles, we’re exploring how to turn your CRM data into a strategic advantage. And we’re defining data as both the data you enter into CRM and external data, if you have a sales intelligence add-on.

 In the first article, we talked about turning news into sales. The second articleprovided tips to turn industry insights into icebreakers. In the third article, we looked at how to leverage family trees to grow your business. Today, we’ll discuss how to leverage social insights to open doors.

Social sites are brimming with information about your prospects that you can use to get a response from busy buyers, and have more human, engaging business conversations. After all, we sell to people, not institutions.

So how do you use social for strategic advantage?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Focus on business-related content
    Start by following company profiles, blogs, and twitter feeds. Review these before calling on a prospect to get a feel for what’s happening at the company right now. That’s one of the great things about social media. It’s very immediate and much more timely than what you can glean from an annual report, for example.

    Then branch out and follow key decision-makers. The line between business and personal will begin to blur here, but there are perfectly legitimate - and powerful - things you can talk about.

    Decision-makers speak at conferences, announce product launches, and share their company’s vision. They invite followers to listen to podcasts, attend webinars, watch videos, and such. So listen and read, and then start your conversation like this:, “Hey, I just listened to your podcast, or the speech you made at…. And I learned that…

    You get the idea. Focus on insights that are personal, but strategically relevant.

  2. Set up automated alerts
    As suggested above, you can check out your prospect’s social feeds when preparing for a call, but you can also use social content to tell you when you should be having those conversations. Most social sites allow you to set up automatic alerts when companies and people you follow post something new. These can signal a good time to reach out, but the volume can quickly become overwhelming. Look for tools that can help you consolidate your social alerts.

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