When I look back at my own career as a sales professional, it’s hard to remember what it was like to function without the Internet, mobility, the cloud and social media.
My first job in sales was as an account executive for Yellowbook generating new advertising accounts for Yellow Page in the Knoxville area. In 2000, Yellowbook’s comprehensive sales materials consisted of a printed dot matrix that detailed my account territory. The details: address and phone number.
No name of the business owner. No email. No confirmation that the business even still existed. Everyday, I’d place cold calls to organizations with no clue if they were viable sales leads and drive to locations that were boarded up or had changed hands.
Technology has changed my daily work in significant ways—all of which make my job easier and the pond in which we swim that much smaller.
- Before making a call, I can research a company online to find the decision maker; see if the company has been in the news lately; and even uncover a company’s revenues.
- Like many companies, we use Salesforce to manage our leads. Cloud-based technology like Salesforce can also decrease your organization’s hardware needs and make working from anywhere possible.
- Social media platforms such as LinkedIn make it easier to stay in touch; transforming those business cards you collected at your last networking event into real contacts.
Social media changes the sales game. Without picking up the phone, you can now discover what prospects are up to in detail—including their lunch hour trip to The Grilled Cheeserie and their self-proclaimed sinful, but oh so delicious pimento mac and cheese melt, which they instagramed and posted on Twitter, hashtag #nomnom #sogood.
Sound creepy? I don’t think so. Social media has made the world smaller and your next potential client more accessible. If you already know that someone you think your business can help attended the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Grand Opening you can create a point of conversation and ask that individual about the EC’s space—instead of opening with the generic, “What’s new in your organization?”
We no longer live in a world of six degrees of separation. In fact, in 2011, Facebook’s data team found that the average distance between its 721 million users at the time was 4.74. A similar study of Twitter by social media monitoring firm Sysomos found an average separation of 4.67.
Technology also shrinks entrepreneurs’ barriers to entry, making it possible for anyone to start a business. With no need for a brick-and-mortar store, or even a home office, we now live in a world where if you see a problem or a gap in a service, you can create a solution. The hardware requirements needed to operate a business are also greatly reduced—with a laptop and set of open-source cloud-based solutions; you’re ready to go.
Technology has fundamentally changed the way we operate within business. From your physical infrastructure to your sales setup, the ever-increasing connectedness of people has made the business world faster and more efficient, which most would agree is nothing but a good thing.
Contact Mary-Michael at email@example.com or here on LinkedIn.