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A new age of the social customer has arrived, marked by an ever-expanding stream of blog posts, status alerts, tweets, and “likes.” Social networking users have surpassed email users, and 22 percent of time spent online is on social media sites. This new order has radical implications for salespeople. The power once held by the sales rep as the keeper of expert knowledge is shifting to the customer. The customer is now in the driver’s seat, with everything from pricing to product information available in real time from trusted social connections. But sales reps are also better off. The same social revolution that is empowering buyers is providing salespeople with an unprecedented supply of sales intelligence as well as with tools to strengthen and extend their connections. According to a study by Cone Inc, 56 percent of U.S. consumers feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment. Sales reps who adopt social technologies say they enjoy greater reach, higher productivity, more meaningful relationships, and inevitably, they sell more.
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