New research announced today by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, has reinstated how technology is transforming the sales profession, from the way leads are generated, to the conversations that happen once the “digital handshake” is made. To a large extent, new technologies are accelerating connections, shortening sales cycles, and bringing a new level of transparency that is unlike anything buyers and sellers have ever experienced.
According to the survey, nearly 80 percent of sales professionals say they are using sales technology to shorten lengthy sales cycles, close bigger deals, and grow their revenue while nearly 90 percent of sales professionals’ report that sales technology is either “important” or “very important” for closing deals. However, in the UAE, there’s evidence that cold-calling is no longer having an impact. When today’s buyer wants information about a product or service, they are looking for material that is useful, relevant and, most of all, not overly “salesy.” Almost a third (32%) of business decision makers in the UAE would respond to a cold call less than ten percent of the time.
The research is part of the second annual State of Sales study LinkedIn conducted in collaboration with market research agency YouGov to shed light on the evolving sales landscape and to understand the impact social networks, business collaboration software and other technologies are having on the overall sales ecosystem.
The survey also states that a majority (more than 90%) of sales professionals strongly attribute closing more deals to incorporating social networks into their sales strategy, saying say it provides them with valuable insights for connecting with customers and prospects.
However, customers and prospects are more likely to respond to someone with a professional image. For instance, 81% of business are more likely to engage with a salesperson and select the sales professional's company as a vendor if the company has a reputable brand while 71% would be more encouraged to engage with sales representatives if they demonstrated a clear understanding of their business needs.
“Investment in sales technology is increasing, and it’s being invested in emerging technologies like social tech. Younger salespeople are pioneering new technology, and younger decision makers are turning to social media more readily. The ‘Sales Tech Revolution’ is in full swing,” commented Stefanie Fernandez, the newly-appointed Head of Sales Solutions at LinkedIn MENA. Stefanie, who was appointed to the role earlier this month, will oversee the LinkedIn Sales Solutions business across the MENA region, leading and supporting her team and clients adopt the concept of social selling.
“It is also interesting to know what customers think about cold calls and how compared to economic considerations, such as price or the return on investment, trust comes out as the most important factor when closing the deal. We hope the insights from our survey help sales professionals create richer and deeper relationships with their customers,” added Stefanie.
Earlier this year, GBM entered into a partnership with LinkedIn where they have become the first regional IT Company to adopt the social selling concept.
Miguel Khouri, General Manager of Abu Dhabi and Yemen at Gulf Business Machines (GBM) commented on social selling; “I am a great advocate for enterprise social media interaction without a doubt. Using social media to increase GBM’s visibility and accessibility is crucial and brings us closer to social media selling. A tool like LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator will support us drive more business, stay informed, and plan ahead; therefore customers will appreciate it and we will also see a return on our investment. This is also a great way for us to cover some market segments that we have not been able to access easily, and also communicate with those people who are difficult to reach through traditional methods.”