What Matters Most in Sales: Understanding Your Client

Director in the Financial Services Industry Thomas Eterman discusses the successful Sales Navigator Pilot at ING

October 13, 2016

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Sales Navigator is transforming social selling strategies at countless companies across the globe.  Take ING, for instance. The global financial institution based in the Netherlands has launched the Sales Navigator pilot and seen tremendous success. We caught up with Thomas Eterman, a director in the financial services industry, about how Sales Navigator has changed ING’s social selling game, and all of the insights he has gained along the way.

LI: When did you first discover the importance of social selling?

TE: A little more than a year ago, I asked team members to do a deep dive on the possibility of social media and technology to support our sales endeavors.  I asked them to look into LinkedIn and the opportunities it could bring in terms of reaching out to prospects and generating B2B content. Shortly thereafter, we began running a direct pilot with Sales Navigator.

LI: How does social selling help alleviate prospect’s pain points?

TE: It gives you more information to work with. Before social selling, sales reps had to come up with a pitch sheet that included relevant information about the client. To get this information they had to do a search on the internet. Before Sales Navigator, relationship managers had to do several internet searches to stay up to date about relevant information at a company. With the help of Sales Navigator, now they receive a daily feed and have this information in one convenient place. At ING we have a wide range of clients of all sectors and sizes. All of them have different challenges, and different goals. And with all of these different factors at hand, having a comprehensive tool like Sales Navigator becomes all the more useful in identifying trends and solutions.

LI: What do you think matters the most in terms of succeeding in social sales?

TE: Expressing interest. I believe sales reps need to spend a lot of time and effort trying to figure out what a client is trying to do, and what they are struggling with. By expressing interest and investing time in researching the client’s needs, you can come upon interesting findings that might even relate to something you touched upon with a different client. When you do the research you have more to contribute, and you and your client can exchange in an interaction of ideas. 

LI: How has your experience been launching the Sales Navigator pilot?

TE: The pilot is going really well, everyone is becoming familiar with the tool. We had a series of workshops introducing the tool and the topics behind social selling, which helped some of the more reluctant sales reps realize that the Sales Navigator model is not so different from the older sales model. Rather, you are just using more tools to get the information you need.

The success of the pilot really showed me that even though social selling requires some effort and persistence to get your team fully aboard, it comes with a big reward. We once saw social media as something you reserved for your private life, but that has changed. Now we are embracing social media outreach in the work setting as the new normal. 

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