Half of sales reps view prospects’ Facebook profiles before meetings

14/11/2017

More than half (53%) of sales reps choose Facebook as their research tool of choice when it comes to preparing for meetings with prospects, according to new research.

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The SalesTech Report from CITE Research, on behalf of SugarCRM, reveals that sales employees are increasingly turning to social media channels to help them build a picture of potential clients. It’s a trend happening both sides of the Atlantic, with 60 per cent of the American respondents turning to Facebook, compared to 46 per cent of Brits.

Key findings:

· LinkedIn tops the list as the preferred platform for meeting preparation (64%), followed by the company website (63%) and Google (61%).
· Whilst millennial employees are more likely to use both Facebook (59%) and Twitter (41%), their older counterparts (55+ years) turn to LinkedIn (76%) and the company website (83%) more frequently
· 72 per cent are spending 30 minutes or more using the channels to research
· It’s a trend happening both sides of the Atlantic, but Americans are more likely to turn to Facebook – 60 per cent, compared to 46 per cent of Brits.

Even more common than Facebook, the more business-focused network LinkedIn tops the list as the preferred platform for meeting preparation (64%), followed by the company website (63%) and Google (61%). A third (34%) are also turning to Twitter to gain insight into their prospects’ likes and interests.

The research highlighted different preferences between age group demographics. Whilst the millennial employees raised on social media (18 – 34 year olds) are more likely to use both Facebook (59%) and Twitter (41%), their older counterparts (55+ years) turn to LinkedIn (76%) and the company website (83%) more frequently.

Using social media has become a part of everyday working life for sales professionals, with 72 per cent spending 30 minutes or more using the channels to research, whilst nearly half (49%) spend at least 45 minutes preparing.

However, while social media and digital technology is helping provide insight, the survey revealed worries around the pressure of keeping customers satisfied in the instantaneous, fast-paced world of social media. Two thirds of businesses (64%) were concerned about customers’ expectations over speed, and 65 per cent expressed reservations about heightened demand for personalisation.

“These new findings prove how intrinsic social media has become to both our personal and professional lives. Consumers are engaging with these channels every day, so it’s only right that the business world keeps pace and stays relevant through their own practices. Of course, there is a fine line between gathering insight and intrusion, so information gathered via social media should be worked into conversations strategically,” said Larry Augustin, CEO, SugarCRM.

“Sales reps need access to the best technology and systems possible to help them aggregate all the information they need on from multiple sources, to ensure they make the best impression from the very start of a relationship. But the time spent manually researching could be used more efficiently, and Relationship Intelligence technology can do this automatically and present all the information in one place. It’s something we’re investing in through our development of Sugar Hint.”

The survey of 400 sales executives in the United States and United Kingdom was conducted to define what the technology stack for a modern sales team looks like.

Methodology

CITE Research, on behalf of SugarCRM, conducted a survey among 400 business professionals, with 200 respondents in the United States and 200 respondents in the United Kingdom. Respondents were screened to be employed full-time, work in sales or business development and have a job title of director-level or above. All respondents worked at companies with 100 or more employees.

For the complete survey report, click here.

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