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First Generation Social Selling: Smart But Not Quite Smart Enough

First generation social selling was borne of two concepts: connecting to prospects socially and using information from social sites to add relevance to create interest and engagement. Social Selling 1.0 is a good start, but its not enough for today’s hyper-competitive sales environment.

Social Selling has made it easy to ask a friend or colleague for an introduction to a prospect or to put in a “good word” for you or your product. With the variety of social sites available, you can see who you know and who they know. These sites give you a “map” of connections that you can leverage to reach prospects. For insights about prospects, sales professionals typically search across social sites and a myriad of news sites to find information about their target. This insight is useful and provides context for conversations. But it is too time consuming to gather and often incomplete or dated.

With Social Selling 1.0 adopted across most savvy sales organizations, what is next for Social Selling? Sales people who embraced first generation social selling want more and those who are ready to start can leap frog 1.0ers. Next generation social selling comprises three critical, integrated components: dynamic data, relevant insights and intelligent connections. These components, seamlessly delivered within your CRM system, represent next generation social selling or “CRM intelligence”.


Data is the foundation of effective selling. It identifies the prospect and the target company in the first place. First generation data comprises purchased lists, CRM databases, and leads from a variety of sources. It’s static. It begins to turn stale the minute it enters your CRM system and continues to degrade by as much as 25% each year. Bad data is a sales barrier that is removed in the world of CRM Intelligence because it is automatically updated with all the firmographic and individual contact detail you need, even as companies and individual contacts change.


First generation social selling involved manual research across social and news sites to find fodder for conversations and sales engagement. Next generation social selling leverages news and social information from thousands of sites, aggregated, organized and delivered to you via your CRM system, based on relevance. Insights about companies and individuals can indicate buying cycles or opportunities to call such as the opening of a new office, a round of funding, an acquisition, or even a change in company leadership or organizational structure. Insights also give you clues about the mindset and interests of your prospect from social activity such as tweets and Facebook posts. This intelligence helps you contact prospects at the perfect time with relevance and value in your approach.


Rather than limiting your search to a single social site or searching across social sites for people you know, as was the case in first generation social selling, you need a complete picture of all of your connections to a prospect. Next generation “intelligent connection maps” aggregate all the personal and professional connections that you and your colleagues share. Relationships are revealed across different social and business connection networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, your email database, your customer list and your CRM system, and they’re private for only your company to use. And, connections can be weighted so you can see which relationship is strongest.

CRM Intelligence takes you beyond the Mark-to-Bill introduction and quickly gets you to: “Congrats on the office expansion and promotion. Yes, I do know Mark. Like us, he’s a huge Bengals fan too!”

CRM Intelligence is data + insights + connections and supports the next generation of Social Selling. Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for my next post on how to improve your sales and marketing results from leads to renewals.