Much has been made of social media's role in marketing, but you should also use social channels to improve the sales process, writes Jeanne Rossomme, president of RoadMap Marketing. Effective social media use can help sales professionals to gain a competitive advantage, better understand their customers and influence prospects early in the buying process. This approach allows you to "help shape the solution to the problem rather than being forced to respond as just another 'vendor' later in the sales process -- where you are evaluated largely on price," she writes.

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