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The Sales Review

Learn about emerging best practices, strategies and insights on B2B sales today dedicated for the modern sales organization.

How To Choose the Right Social Selling Tools

Posted by Kevin Thomas Tully on Sep 3, 2014 6:28:02 AM

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Selecting the right tool may not guarantee Social Selling success, but using the wrong pro tool may spell disaster – for both you and your organization.

In theory, tools are supposed to make our life as a social seller easier.

The right tool can increase our productivity through automation by freeing time that was previously spent on mundane, repetitive tasks.

The right tool can gather essential information in a faster and more efficient manner.

But what are the criteria for choosing a pro tool? Here are 6 fundamental questions I consider when evaluating a new pro tool for our team:

Does it Solve the Problem

Full disclosure: I have a strong affinity for shiny new objects, but that type of thinking will distract you from your purpose. The only KPIs that matter when selecting pro tools: 1) What am I trying to accomplish? and 2) What problem does this tool solve for me beyond the obvious fact that it saves me time? Unless automation is your sole objective, dig deeper.

Ease of Use

Your new tool not only frees half your workday, leaving you time to hone your now-rusty karaoke skills while training for your dream American Idol audition, but also triples your sales productivity. Unfortunately, an advanced degree in quantum physics is required to operate this tool. If you cannot, in the immortal words of Ron Popeil, “Set it, and forget it,” it may be time to just forget it. (The tool, that is, not American Idol – reach for those stars, baby.)

Price

I always preach that price is never an issue if value has been established. With a myriad of tools available, it pays to shop around for an option that is more budget-friendly if you are a cost conscious company or solopreneur. Should you become so enamored with a particular tool and can’t live without it, but the price is a concern, simply ask for a lower price. Like mom always said, there’s no harm in asking.

Social selling

Extended trial

I negotiate this up front. Why? Because like many of you, my mother told me I was special. And 30 days really isn’t long enough for me to decide whether I really like something (or not). How does the tool perform under the pressures of my workflow? Will it crash? Is it useful? Will this tool become so ingrained into my daily process that I cannot live without it? You can fall in love at first sight, but you can’t become addicted to tools instantaneously – not without a lengthy “getting to know you” period.

Demo/Support

Live, 24/7 customer service is the gold standard, but this is extremely rare, especially when new tools are brought to market. Can you rely upon your sales rep for support? Probably not. Is there a single contact in the company to answer all of your questions, including technical support issues? You may experience this type of concierge customer service with many startups offering new tools, but do you expect it to last? I always pay close attention to the demo process: What is the customer experience like? Are you on your own? The initial demo provides an accurate indication of the company’s support practices and may disqualify a promising tool candidate.

Three Musketeers/Weight Watchers Test (Does it Scale)

While you may become enamored with your choice of pro tool, having checked all of the above boxes, keep in mind the Musketeers’ credo: “All for one and one for all.” There is nothing more disappointing than discovering that “the greatest tool ever” does not integrate with your existing infrastructure. Like all relationships, your tool of choice should run seamlessly and yield results without interfering with any of your current platforms, systems, or other go-to tools. If it does not play nicely with others, kick it to the curb.

We discussed a lot of tools that successful Social Sellers use during our weekly #S4LSocial Twitter chat. Here are the best tweets from that session - great advice from the experts: