While in the process of writing a future magazine column on the future of sales and social media I interviewed three people and posed several questions in order to get their view points. I thought for this week’s blog I would also introduce you to my current thinking and I would really enjoy hearing your thoughts on the direction of sales and the use of social media.

In the traditional sense of a new product introduction, social media is moving through various stages. It is my opinion we have obviously crossed the chasm from Stage 1 into full blown Stage 2 product acceptance and in most cases salespeople and sales leadership have accepted and become comfortable in using forms of social media for their personal lives as well as in a limited business environments. It is also my belief that if you aren’t actively using a variety of social media applications in your sales process/organization it is critical you begin to learn to use them and become comfortable with the current social media tools. Lauren Carlson describes the top 5 uses of Social Media in sales very clearly in her recent blog.

The acceptance of social media communication by all individuals for their personal use; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, texting, etc, and corporations using it in marketing and even building their internal social networks, that current clients and prospects will begin to accept social media more easily in their sales relationships.

The question becomes, where do we go from here now that social media as we know today has been generally accepted by individuals and corporations, what happens as we move into the Stage 3.

Jay McBain, from Channel Eyes, a social media/network company focused on the IT Channel, commented that in his research on the topic; “social would overtake websites as the #1 source of information and online engagement in 2012”. Jay believes there will be a split, a movement to enhance personal social media and the trend to create a “business social media” set of software solutions.

This is exactly what I believe is the direction we will move. As CRM applications improve and as more cloud based applications are developed there will be a greater integration and utilization of business social media. Salespeople will uncover more prospects, prospects will accept this kind of communication and both parties will interact comfortably. As Peter Watts from Solutionize, a software business collaboration services company, predicts that “Sales Collaboration Networks” (SCN) will be deployed. These will be highly integrated applications that will easily allow the salesperson to offer the right solutions with an interactive approach, generating huge value to the buyer, rather than simply data sheets or a nice web site.”

The sales focus and sales leadership must focus on this changing sales process and this is the process change that SCN can facilitate. The business outcome must be beneficial to the buyer, seller, vendor, and it is my belief that this more highly communicative process will make decision making easier and faster by removing any heavy lifting. SCN will allow salespeople to reach more prospects, work at a pace commensurate with today’s current demands and profit measures.

What changes do you believe will occur with more “business social media” solutions? The world continues to change, are you? Is your sales process? Let know your thoughts?