Social Selling at the Institute of Sales Management, Scotland.

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Redspire Sales and Marketing Director Mark Gibson and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Specialist Stuart Hamilton were recently welcomed as guest speakers at an event in Edinburgh, hosted by the Institute of Sales Management.

The inaugural Scotland Event showcased the dramatic change in the sales environment, as businesses spanning all industries accelerate digital transformation through cloud technologies.

Businesses today are meeting the challenge of servicing a new breed of B2C customers and B2B clients who have ever-increasing expectations and demands on sellers. This is the age of the professional consumer.

Throughout the evening, one main question was raised…

Is cold calling dying out as an introductory technique for selling?

Selling and outreach are constantly shape-shifting. With the rise in intelligent, data-driven technology and machine learning, social media platforms are intuitively becoming the go-to place for content placement and customer contact. Cold calling has become a much less popular and effective method of interaction.

In its place, social selling has become a key part of an organisation’s customer engagement strategy. Why cold call when you can outreach to a warmed prospect, and make use of insights that make the nurture and sales process easier for salespeople, marketers and business owners?

What is social selling? And do traditional salespeople need to adapt?

Short answer, yes.

Social selling is a modern approach to identifying and engaging with a custom-built audience based on your business’s target market and a great way to establish rapport, connect and verify the legitimacy of the relationship between seller and prospect. Post-purchase by Microsoft, LinkedIn is proving itself one of the most valuable sales and marketing tools for social selling, with 96% of B2B buyers seeking to read content and engage with industry leaders (Demand Gen report, 2017). Other channels also have validity, and it’s worth pointing out that the fundamentals of social selling translate well to offline relationship building.

So is cold calling dead?

Technology is driving behavioural change in buyers and sellers and it’s essential that sellers keep pace in terms of expertise and personal learning, to avoid becoming redundant. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for a cold call, however where engaged, meaningful contact can be achieved easily, why reduce your chances with your prospects?

Not only does social selling give you a 360-degree view of prospects, it allows you to tailor your approach to current customers and meet their needs at the right time. The social selling model supports account-based selling and allows you to deliver hyper-relevant messaging and content that speaks their language.

Social selling for operational efficiencies

According to a recent survey by CSO Insights and Seismic, one in three B2B sales professionals said that not only was social selling increasing the number of leads they had to work with, but also the depth of the relationships they had with existing and prospective clients. Building relationships rather than leading with the hard sell allows salespeople to maximise their own efficiency by reducing the prospect research time, having a positive impact on the sales cycle.

Transactional vs Strategic Sales

Cold calling is usually a game of chance with decision makers within a company out of reach for the average cold sales call. Social selling converts the sales process from transactional and functional, to a strategic plan that provides hard ROI, produces serious wins and enhances customer experience and satisfaction.

Companies are being left behind because they’re yet to acknowledge that the buying process has changed. It’s no longer a one-way system made up of cold calls, qualifying leads and sales demos. 84% of vice president and C-level executives use online and digital media channels to influence their purchasing decisions.

Ready to find out more about social selling for Customer Experience? Join Redspire on the 28th November at a City of London Financial Services business leadership event, in the Heart of London City. Guest Speaker Chris Brindley, ex-Metro Bank will be discussing how to deliver sector disruptive customer experience and how businesses like Metro Bank were ahead of the curve in challenging outdated operational practices by blending culture, people and technology together.

In this new environment of challenger and open banking technologies, digital transformation for sector incumbents is here now and constantly evolving. Come along to the Andaz Hotel at 2 pm on 28th November and find out more. Reserve your spot here

Heal your business pain with Dynamics QuickStart CRM

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When it comes to business pain, at Redspire we’ve seen it all. And help our clients UK-wide solve theirs, via our Dynamics QuickStart CRM package or phased CRM implementation.

As one of the UK’s leading CRM consultancies, we are experts in resolving the digital and data pain points that all businesses face.

Our client base share similar internal challenges, but we understand that the internal approach to resolving them may vary from business to business. Time constraints, changeable budgets and operational capacity all impact the ability to undertake a CRM implementation project, even when it’s badly needed.

That doesn’t change the fact that we are living through the 4th Industrial Revolution. Consumer expectations are at their highest, radically transforming the way businesses interact when they sell, promote and provide service. In this digital age, personalisation and customer connectivity are a fundamental business priority. And the only way to achieve them is with a fit for purpose CRM system that will unify data, streamline processes and improve productivity.

Introducing Dynamics QuickStart CRM…

Dynamics QuickStart CRM is a fixed scope, fast implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365, built to fit your business need, type and budget. Implement a new CRM, upgrade a current CRM or entirely replace your existing system fast, for maximum impact and little business disruption.

Perfect for busy businesses who want quick improvements and results, and suitable for all organisations of all shapes and sizes – from Banking and Financial Services to Manufacturing, Government and the Public Sector – QuickStart CRM from Redspire is a quick and simple CRM solution that delivers immediate results.

If you’ve heard your c-suite leaders and department heads make any of the following statements, your business will benefit from Dynamics QuickStart CRM…

PAIN POINT 1: “There’s no single version of the truth!”

Also known as the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

It’s surprising just how many large multi-national businesses are operating with outdated data silos and no single view of their customer across various departments. Which begs the question, how can you understand your customer, predict sales propensity and provide great service, if you can’t view their interactions with your business holistically?

If your customer, sales and service data sit on multiple databases and spreadsheets, you’re undoubtedly only skimming the surface of your sales capabilities. Whilst delivering poor service to your client base. Yet you can optimise operations fast with Dynamics QuickStart CRM. Your teams and your bottom line will benefit from a single customer view that accelerates sales, personalises service and increases customer engagement.

PAIN POINT 2: “What are the salespeople doing?!”

Also known as the boss is getting twitchy because there’s no visibility of what the moneymakers are up to.

Digitally optimised workplaces and effective data and pipeline management have been proven to make teams much more productive. Yet workforces often resist the serious benefits of a transparent CRM system for fear of big brother watching, measuring their performance and finding it lacking.

With a collaborative, visible pipeline, the improvements to the workforce, customer and management are immeasurable. Put your hands on real time reports with ease, review an up-to-the-minute pipeline status and automate business reports at the click of a button with Dynamics QuickStart CRM

PAIN POINT 3 : “Excellent – sales are up…but where are they coming from?”

Also know as winging the sales process rather than using an evidence-based approach

If you aren’t tracking customer buying patterns, sourcing lead traffic and attributing your sales to marketing touchpoints, how can you understand your sweet spot? If you don’t track the customer journey and how you win or lose, you’re undoubtedly leaving money on the table. Which makes your salespeople’s lives harder and returns poor ROI from your marketing spend. Integrate Dynamics QuickStart CRM with your existing systems to see the bigger picture and find your strengths and weaknesses. And then watch your sales grow.

PAIN POINT 4: “I’m sick of the ‘them and us’ – they’re supposed to be part of the same team!”

Also known as sales and marketing blaming each instead of working towards shared goals

Despite being part of the same organisational family, with shared business goals, Sales and Marketing teams are notorious for being the warring siblings of the business world. How often are you hearing ‘what are marketing doing, there’s no leads coming through, and when they are, they’re awful!’ Or marketing complaining about lack of sourcing and poor conversions from the sales teams?

The issue is typically lack of visibility, reporting and communication. A CRM that works for all departments, tracking campaigns, leads and opportunities will encourage a positive workforce, working together with shared vision, and MI that fosters a collaborative, data-driven approach

PAIN POINT 5: “Where’s the paper trail for this complaint?!”

Also known as lack of customer information management

We’ve all endured the customer frustration of a poorly handled complaint. It’s often just as challenging for agents trying to manage customer services issues if their organisation isn’t managing data properly. Customers need to repeat themselves each time they call or email, and your employee is on the back foot from the outset, not knowing what decisions have been made previously. With QuickStart you can automate and aggregate customer service information, so that your people always have what they need to hand, when they need it.

PAIN POINT 6: “Reporting shouldn’t be this hard. Can’t we automate it?”

The simple answer is yes. And you should be! Free up your key people’s time from hand preparing reports and get them back to their day job. With QuickStart, you’ll access management information, sales, marketing and customer satisfaction reports as and when you need them, even when you’re on the go.

Ready to find out more about QuickStart CRM?

At Redspire, we specialise exclusively in Dynamics 365, helping clients across different industries – from Government to Financial Services – transform digitally. Working with world-class tools from the Microsoft universe, Dynamics integrates seamlessly with existing operations to unify whole businesses into a single, intelligent system. Get quick installation, rapid delivery and faster return on investment with Microsoft Dynamics QuickStart CRM. Read more today or get in touch for a no-obligation chat with our consultants now.

Microsoft Inspire 2018: the emerging themes from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote speech

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In his keynote speech at the global Microsoft Inspire conference in Las Vegas, CEO Satya Nadella talked about how technology and connectivity continue to improve human relationships, whilst reinforcing that ethics and user privacy continue to be the most important consideration, as we accelerate though the 4th industrial revolution.

This year’s Microsoft Inspire has been one of the most exciting and rousing yet, with a focus on increased innovation, growth and differentiation. If last year’s key takeaway was Microsoft’s commitment to transforming their partner relationships, this year is about accelerating partner support for the greater collective good. Microsoft’s overarching business vision of “empowering every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more” will ultimately be driven by the Microsoft Partner eco-system.

Our Senior team attended the conference, and have summarised their top takeaways:

The Microsoft partner eco-system is bigger and more impactful than ever before…

…and jam-packed with opportunity. Over 17 million people are employed in the Microsoft and Microsoft partner ecosystem with total business projected at a phenomenal $4.5 trillion. Together we are in a unique position to unleash the power of real partnership for digital and technological success. Not just for business, but for customers, innovators and end users too.

Ethics and personal privacy is a fundamental human right.

Advances in technology and integrated Artificial intelligence (AI) are creating some of the most exciting changes in the world today, but Nadella has warned that they must not come at the expense of personal privacy and human relationships.

He said: “We have to have a set of principles that guide the development of AI and always do our very best work when it comes to privacy. As technology becomes pervasive in our lives, we must approach everything with the fundamental assumption that privacy is a human right.”

The importance of adding value not just creating brand values

Nadella’s message to students looking for a career at Microsoft?

“If you want to be cool, go somewhere else. At Microsoft, our job is making other people look cool.”

Sharing incredible stories of business transformation via the partner eco-system, the message and focus for the future is on driving positive, global impact through cutting edge technology and industry-specific solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365.

People and connectivity is being re-imagined, now.

The future of digital is people and human centric, made possible with by ever-increasing advances in Microsoft’s Azure Sphere secure technology. Internet connectivity is becoming a two-way street, creating a holistic user experience that decouples us from the chains of the tech, whilst improving seamless machine integration in our day to day lives.

Nadella said: “We are going to infuse everything with AI. It’s going to have perception capability, language capability and autonomy that’s going to be built into the applications going forward.”

Over the next few years, more and more consumer gadgets and appliances will connect to the Internet and each other, with the capabilities to talk to us, listen, predict behaviour and act on our behalf. The tech we use will become seamless, multi-device and multi-sensory.

As organisations globally hurtle through accelerated digital transformation, driven by cloud and artificial intelligence, mixed reality and the Internet of Things, these tools and technologies are re-imagining consumerism, business and society for the greater good.

And yet consciously, we may never even be aware that we’ve interacted with a computer…

Ready to find out more about how Microsoft’s up-to-the-minute technology can improve your business operations, sales and service? Contact us today for an informal chat…