Traditionally and even today, Sales has been all about building and maintaining relationships. However, with advent of Social Networking tools, there is a new way of networking - offer value which works!

Decades ago, to generate new leads, emphasis was on cold calling. That was perhaps the only way to connect with prospects (apart from referrals). Today, the scenario has changed, there are tools which enable sales to gather intelligence about the prospect way before initiating the first contact. One can learn about the prospect and propose a distinct value which enables to connect with the prospect.

Needless to say, whatever you offer should add value (not just on paper). I recall the first time I started working on this model was way back in 2003. The success has increased over the years, the tools and new methods of learning and approaching prospects has significantly improved. However, the bottom line remains the same - are you adding value, consistently!

Let me state an example. Back in the days, going after 5 big storage companies was my target. Finding the right person in large companies takes time, and usually, sales does not have a luxury of time. So, creating an offering which will attract people's attention is the key. A CIFS protocol (Common Internet File System) test automation tool which was the need of the hour. All of this was on paper, we did not have anything to show. Within 6 weeks, got an opening within a group in EMC.

How did that happen? LinkedIn, Twitter, email, and couple of phone calls were used across the process of closing the deal. First step, aggregating challenges of customers on problems faced while testing storage protocols (not necessary CIFS) before rolling their servers out in the market. Filtering out the content and narrowing down problems statements. Identify problems which are high value and can be replicated across 10 or more groups and/or companies. Also, is there a solution to a (or multiple) problem and can it be articulated in way which will get quicker response. While the solution is being articulated, identify people to whom the solution will be valuable can be done in parallel. Most often  people who stated the problem on LinkedIn or Twitter (or any social platforms) are the ones to whom the solution needs to be pitched (or their peers or superiors).

Reach out to them with a succinct message, via social platforms and emails (some people prefer phone, however, getting people on phone is getting harder by the day). Once there is an interest, pre-schedule a phone call and then validate/ qualify their need. Make sure you give them a comfort factor that you can deliver the solution. In the example above, a demo of the concept was showcased. Focus was on how to deliver value quickly.

The solution was built and delivered to get references for more projects. Ended up being a quarter million deal over 12 months. Since then the person with whom I connected, stayed in touch. Any new initiatives at his end was first checked with me to see if we could deliver value for him.  The value was to automate testing and reduce time to market for the customer.

There are tons of other examples, including the current one at (automated containerization of bespoke applications) which adds significant value for enterprises in their Digital Transformation journey.

This post has been written by our Guest Author Shailesh Gogate (VP, CloudHedge)  for (Sales AI). If you wish to share your Sales Stories with others, please write to us for access:

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