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9/17/2012
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Reachable's 'Social Proximity' Helps Close Deals On Salesforce.com

Upgrade lets sales managers assign or reassign leads based on which employee is best connected and therefore most likely to win the sale.

Social Studies: Obama vs. Romney
Social Studies: Obama vs. Romney
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It's not what you know, it's who you know, and Reachable wants to help Salesforce.com users get to know a lot more people.

Reachable will be showcasing its application allowing salespeople to pool their social networks and sales contacts at Dreamforce this week and announced an update to its integration with Salesforce.com Tuesday. Having just released its product into general availability in June, following a year of beta testing, Reachable said it is enhancing the way salespeople can use the concept of "social proximity" to close more sales.

"It's important to figure out who you know who and, more importantly, who everyone in your company knows," Reachable CEO Al Campa said in an interview. When a sales organization reaches out to a prospect through an existing contact, it's about five times as likely to get its call returned as if it started with a cold call, he said. That equates to more chances to make a sales pitch and more chances to win business, he said.

[ Are you kidding yourself? Read Collaboration Strategy: Avoid The Online Dating Syndrome. ]

Considered by some a threat to LinkedIn, Reachable also uses LinkedIn and other social networks as a data source. On its own, LinkedIn is a "lowest-common denominator" service for assessing social proximity, Campa said, but one of the things Reachable adds is a way of measuring the strength of connections, based on the frequency of interactions on social media and also email.

Reachable already allowed Salesforce.com users to rank their leads and opportunities based on the strength of their personal relationships. The latest upgrade lets sales managers use those rankings to assign or reassign leads based on who is best connected and therefore most likely to win the sale. Also, rather than only showing up on the contact and opportunity screens in Salesforce CRM, Reachable data will be displayed just about wherever contact information is shown, "so it's more pervasive," Campa said.

From its inception, the Reachable service was designed to integrate with CRM applications, and it supports Oracle CRM on Demand in addition to Salesforce.com. Reachable creates its own enterprise social graph, making all employees enrolled in the system first-degree contacts, and allows them to see each other's contacts--including their social media connections and their email contacts. The Salesforce.com edition now will also expose customer records as part of the enterprise social graph.

This does not actually mean that everyone gets instant access to the contact details everyone else has collected, Campa said. "What you don't want is people spamming your contacts, especially if you're a senior executive." Rather, the intent is to let you see whom your colleagues are connected to and the strength of those connections, based on things like frequency of interactions on social networks and over email. If a colleague is well connected to someone you need to reach, Reachable will help you request an introduction. Some technology companies are involving their technical teams, as well as their sales teams, in the Reachable network because they have contacts in IT organizations that the sales people often lack, Campa said.

These features are available to subscribers to the Reachable Premium service, which costs $49 per user per month.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)

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