There is a shift being made in businesses regarding their approach to gaining new business and managing their customers. Social CRM is on the rise and this is more than a few bells and whistles being added into your contact database. With a large focus being made in the movement away from sales data and into sales intelligence, sales professionals will need to make a few adjustments on how they do everything from prospect, develop new opportunities and manage their existing accounts.

Customer 2.0 is not waiting around for a sales person to get back to them with information, they are online looking for answers from people outside of your company within their own social networks and generally searching for people they should be in contact with. The trick (if you want to call it that) is to make yourself as visible as possible so that this new breed of customer has no option but to come across your name or profile during these searches. This is why Sales 2.0 starts with YOU. [tweetmeme source= “insideview” only_single=false]

5 Steps a person should take to make themselves more sales 2.0 ready

1. Create or optimize you LinkedIn profile. I came across another company this week that only had 20% of their sales team on LinkedIn. At first the sales manager was resistant to the idea of their team using LinkedIn but after some discussion, I think they changed their mind. I guess we’ll see in a couple weeks when we check back in with them.

Sales people should look at their online presence as an extension of themselves. Sites like LinkedIn can become self service lead generators once you optimize your LinkedIn profile and start building a network.

2. Get over your fear and join Twitter now! Maybe it’s because I didn’t have many friends as a teenage kid but I have always found Twitter to be a useful tool to meet people interested in the same things as me and have small conversations. Once I realized that Twitter could be used in a sales environment, I started building a mini network of people that were already customers and looking for products that I sold. You might be amazed at the number of executives on Twitter or just other employees that you can build relationships with online. Remember people buy from people, the more you are seen as a person and not another sales person the better.

Use the search feature or get an application like HootSuite or TweetDeck to help you focus on specific geographies and keywords your company is associated with.

3. This should be #1 but for the sake of editing it’s not. Go over to GoDaddy or another domain name company and buy yourname.com. Google yourself and look at what the results are. Owning your own domain name and building a simple site or even pointing the domain to your LinkedIn profile will help you stand out from the crowd. Your prospects are looking at your online identity just as you are them. Make sure you are searchable and showing your customers/prospects that you are a professional.

4. Stop cold calling and start engaging in conversations. Now that you have a shiny LinkedIn profile start spending a little bit of time in groups and asking/answering questions. You will be amazed at the number of people that are willing to give free advice to you about how to make yourself better or how thankful some people are that you were able to help them out. These are all little building blocks to make you a sales 2.0 expert and bring more prospects to you.

5. Add your social profiles to everything you send to prospects. Add your LinkedIn, Twitter and company blog URLs to your email signature. This is a great way to get some exposure to your Sales 2.0 identity and will let people learn more about YOU and not the sales person contacting them.

These are some simple steps a sales person can take that will build their credibility online and make it near impossible for customer 2.0 not to notice. Would you like me to look at your LinkedIn profile and offer any suggestions? Leave me a comment with the link and I’ll check it out.

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