Social Selling Assistant: A new value proposition for salespeople in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Invest 5 minutes a day to become a successful social seller. The Social Selling Assistant recommends personalized actions for you, like which posts to share, based on machine learning. No need to spend hours to spot relevant content or crawl through hundreds of updates anymore.

Social Selling became a big trend in recent years. It allows sellers to use social networks to achieve more. Studies* show that top sellers use social channels to build a highly efficient network, create new opportunities, and stay in touch with existing contacts. Digitalization accelerates the trend to turn products into services. Increasingly, sellers need to stay in touch with a customer throughout the entire product lifecycle. With social networks, the Internet of Things, customer 360 and increasingly artificial intelligence based recommendations, sellers have the tools at hand to master the change.

*7 Key Insights from LinkedIn’s Study ‘The State of Sales in 2016’

*How B2B Sales Can Benefit from Social Selling

What is Social Selling?

There are many definitions and ideas around how to define social selling. We adopted a simple and broad definition: “Leveraging social networks to sell more”. This doesn’t imply that a salesperson uses social networks to sell products directly. In fact, most successful social sellers use social networks to build their networks, increase their reputation and become an influential thought leader. Which, in turn, increases their reach to share their product’s USPs and value proposition with potential customers and other influencers. Additionally, it provides insights to sellers about the right timing to engage with a customer to discuss challenges and their solution.

What do we offer?

The Social Selling assistant is a digital assistant that helps you to leverage social networks to sell more. It takes less than 5 minutes a day to grow your network, connect with the right people, and become a thought leader in your domain. The assistant proposes 10 recommended actions per day. It’s easy and efficient. Let me give you an example:

Meet Nancy, she’s a legal advisor. She is busy with all his clients and rarely finds time to share articles about important topics in her industry. She’d like to be more active on social media but it’s just too time-consuming to research good content and keep up with a growing network.

How can we help Nancy to achieve more? To grow and nurture her digital network, Nancy needs persistence, consistence, and good content. That’s the exactly where the recently released Social Selling Assistant helps. The first version helps sellers to spot relevant content. Based on machine learning, the assistant makes recommendations about what content to share by analyzing millions of social posts in a specific domain like legal services. It will take only 5 minutes a day to create a steady flow of relevant information for an audience. In a monthly cadence, we will improve the assistant by adding more types recommendations.

 

The assistant provides 4 types of sharing recommendations:

  • Promoted content: Manually selected editor’s picks, for example from the marketing team.
  • Owned content: Published by your own company on social media.
  • Trendy content: Posts that are currently trendy in your industry.
  • Recommended content: Recommendations based on the sharing behavior of the entire sales team to leverage the collective intelligence. The assistant learns from all your actions to get better.

You can share all the content on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

How do I get the Social Selling Assistant?

The capabilities are based on Microsoft Social Engagement which is part of the Dynamics 365 (online) Plan 1 and the Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation apps. For additional information, see Dynamics 365 pricing.

Follow the quick steps below to get started with the assistant.

Step 1: Bookmark the Social Selling URL on your mobile phone or in your browser

If you have a Microsoft Dynamics 365 user license, you already have access to Microsoft Social Engagement where the Social Selling assistant is based on. Just go to the app switcher and select Microsoft Social Engagement. In Microsoft Social Engagement, you select in the navigation bar the item Social Selling. Bookmark this link on your mobile phone or in your browser.

Additionally, you can integrate the experience into Dynamics 365 by connecting Microsoft Social Engagement and Dynamics 365 and installing the “Social Selling Assistant” app from app source.

For information about installing the Social Selling Assistant in Dynamics 365, see TechNet: Install the Social Selling Assistant.

Step 2: Customize the service to your needs

The Social Selling assistant needs input to come up with the best possible recommendations. Best practices include:

  • Add your social accounts as social profiles in Microsoft Social Engagement to be able to share content.
  • Tell the system what your own content channels are, like your company’s Twitter account(s).
  • Include keyword searches about your domain like “legal tech” in the advisory example – this needs special permission in Microsoft Social Engagement. Please work with your administrator to get this done.
  • Include relevant 3rd party social accounts (customers, competitors) as another source of potentially relevant information.

More information: Configure Social Engagement for the Social Selling Assistant

Step 3: Get recommendations and share the first piece of content into your network

Now you are ready to go. Open your bookmark in your browser and the assistant will recommend you first posts to share. For each recommendation, you have the choice to share it or dismiss it. A best practice follows a zero-inbox strategy. Go through all recommendations until there are none left so the system can learn from your actions and get smarter.

More information. Work with the Social Selling Assistant

How does Social Selling Assistant relate to the LinkedIn Sales Navigator?

The Social Selling Assistant is not a replacement for the Sales Navigator – but they fit well. So, we recommend using them in combination.

What’s Next

In the next blog post about the Social Selling Assistant we will share an example how a typical customer implemented social selling with the assistant and how and the setup looks like in detail.

Now, it is up to you to start social selling – never been easier!

 

François Rüf

Principal Group Program Manager, Dynamics 365

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