6 Ways Networking Boosts Sales Productivity

October 01, 2015 | Austin Duck
6 Ways Networking Boosts Sales Productivity

The article below was submitted by Austin Duck, Content Marketing Manager at CircleBack.

It’s no secret that networking is the key to a successful career. After all, the world of business is just people, strategic relationships, and favors for favors, and the more friends you have, the further you’re likely to get. 

Done correctly, networking has the ability to streamline the whole process of moving your professional life forward, untangling complicated outreach processes, helping to focus transitions, and, ultimately, accelerating your ability to grow your influence.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that networking works magic for sales productivity.

Because sales and networking both rely on connection, relationship-building, and trust, they’ve always gone hand-in-hand, two complementary processes based on the same principles. But as we’ve become better with data and our tools have gotten smarter and stronger, we’ve received new opportunities to put one in the service of the other, to enable networking to drive down the time spent selling while boosting the overall productivity of your sales team.

Here’s how it works.

#1. Networking translates to new contact data entering your CRM

Fundamentally, networking is all about strategically meeting the people you need to meet and exchanging contact information with them. Because of this, the stacks of business cards your salespeople walk away from events with are ripe with opportunity for various upcoming sales and demand gen exercises. Using a business card scanner with CRM export, your team can get these into the CRM as quickly as possible without risking the 91% drop-off rate commonly associated with new contact info entering your funnel.

#2. Consistent networking refreshes your CRM, makes it more immediately useful

CRMs are notorious for being storehouses of bad data. And, with a decay rate of ~33% per year (according to Cirrus Insight), they won’t be fixing themselves any time soon. But that’s okay. Networking efforts have a way of bringing in new, accurate data that provides both relevance and accuracy to your CRM. Even if your team only networks in a closed group of a few hundred people, they supply constant refreshment to your data and help you fight the decay (and the devaluation) of your CRM.

#3. Networking makes personalized pitching faster

Because the essence of networking is connection, it’s not a stretch to expect your salespeople to come back with more information about leads than their contact details. Conversations don’t exactly thrive on shop-talk alone, and that information – what gets a prospect excited, what gets them talking – is exactly what you need to engage them later on a personal level. Having it on hand (and not having to glean it from LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) speeds up the process of personalizing a pitch and diminishes the “feeling out” time associated with the beginning of a sale to almost nil. 

#4. Networking makes your demand gen efforts more targeted and effective

Demand generators can use the contact info received from networking to build lookalike audiences (audiences whom algorithms determine are very similar to those you entered) and apply targeted, meaningful messages to focus and speed up demand gen, all while increasing the quality of the leads.

#5. Networking energizes salespeople

Your salespeople are schmoozers at heart. They love talking to people, navigating difficult situations, playing psychological chess with those they interact with. They get out of bed in the morning for that stuff. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to trap them in a small office, force them to search LinkedIn for prospects or, worse, make cold calls. By pushing them into their element (rather than keeping them from it), you empower them to succeed on their own terms and in doing so, you ensure a new level of commitment and energy to your organization.

#6. Networking reduces in-office prospecting, lets salespeople sell

Salespeople waste a lot of time searching for prospects on LinkedIn. And, with only 1 of every 80 prospects becoming an actual sale (according to Salesforce), it hardly seems worth it. But the fact remains that new prospects need to come in, and sales need to get made. Fortunately, prospects are a natural byproduct of networking, convert at a much higher rate than LinkedIn prospects, and don’t create any wasted time in-office.

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Austin Duck is Content Marketing Manager for CircleBack, an innovative address book designed specifically for networking and sales. He regularly contributes to StartupGrind, Business2Community, and elsewhere and lives in DC with his wife and army of cats. 

 

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