In a recent report by the Altimeter group they identified that many companies have formalized their social media efforts for customer facing employees. I expected Marketing to be the top of the list but was surprised to see Sales so far behind with only 11% of the companies having a formal approach for engagement through social media. With recent studies showing that 61% of LinkedIn members use the site for Networking, Sales is a prime group to be engaging with prospects and customers in social media. Whats even more surprising is that 31% of companies still block social media from all employees.

If marketing is the focal point of social media engagement, sales NEEDS to be brought into the loop. Training sales teams to use social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs can have a huge impact on building pipeline and driving awareness of your company. Customer centric marketing brings a 1:1 relationship with prospects and customers that can be transitioned and managed by sales teams.

Leveraging social media and online communities to drive revenue works. You may remember the post Should Sales people be Blogging where we explained how IBM is leveraging social selling. In the Social Selling University we have had great speakers like Jill Konrath, Anneke Seley, Joanne Black and others that have given Enterprise Social Selling tips and strategies to members of the community. Umberto Millet our CEO has written a number of articles around the revolution of social selling in B2B.

Enterprise social selling is growing up. With the growing desire for Social CRM within companies, collecting social conversations for analysis was only scratching the service. What the social enterprise does with those conversations is where the rubber meets the road. Social media is more than a tool for marketing people and it’s being well established that every department across the enterprise can leverage social media for everything from prospecting, opportunity management and customer retention.