Social Proof Selling with Relevant Nearby Accounts in Salesforce
Recently, our doorbell rang and a pest control service rep said their truck was on our street right now. Because 8 of our neighbors use them, and they were here servicing those houses. If we signed up that day, they would give 60% off because they were already here at our neighbor’s house. Later that day, I saw some neighbors ask about the company on Nextdoor, a neighborhood discussion website. It got positive reviews. The pitch had urgency, a big discount and tantalizing social proof. A strong appeal.
At work and at home, people use social proof to help make decisions: Reviews on Yelp and Google. Software reviews on G2 and Salesforce AppExchange. Q&A on Nextdoor. Instagram influencers.
Social proof done right can help a conversation that ends with an appointment or order, versus a conversation that just ends. (Indeed, one of our customers found that well-done local references helped increase appointment-setting by 16% and call conversions by 30%.)
But if done wrong, references and name dropping can hurt more than help.
Below, we share tips for success. Plus, how to easily find good customer references through nearby accounts in Salesforce.
How can you use social proof during inside sales calls?
Obviously during a cold call, prospects cannot see online evidence of social proof. But you can still use the benefits of social proof.
You can talk about relevant customers during a call. Then, you can follow-up with links to online info.
Two key steps will help you do social proof the right way:
- Choose the right customers for name dropping
- Find the right customer data quickly and easily in Salesforce or other CRM
Choosing the right customer references
First off, the best way to go off the rails with a customer reference is to mention a customer that has no relevance to the prospect.
Company size and industry
Imagine talking with a small business owner and mentioning that General Motors uses your product. It’s great that you have a large account. But how can the small business owner be assured that your service team will pay attention to a small account, or that your product is not too expensive for him? And vice versa, enterprise accounts have different needs and expectations than small business. So it doesn’t matter to General Motors that a company with $2 million annual revenue uses your product.
Similarly, if the pest control company that rang our doorbell said “Hi! We’re spraying for bugs at the Boeing building in downtown Chicago today!” I would think, “Ummm, okay? Have fun? Why are you here?” My house is not a skyscraper. My budget is way smaller than Boeing’s. There’s no connection. Not a good match.
So, mention irrelevant social proof, and you can lose chance for more conversation.
What’s relevant? Similarity.
Talk about customers from a similar size company in the same industry, perhaps dealing with the same specific problems.
Product or service
The reference you choose should ideally use the product or service that you’re discussing with a prospect. If you sell closely-related products, this will be easier for you.
If your company sells many different products to vastly different industries, it could be well worth it to take an extra step to use the most relevant social proof.
Go local! Your smaller customers may lack big national brand recognition. Still, you can mention customers in the same industry who are closest to your prospect.
Because small businesses in the same geographic area and industry tend to be aware of each other. An HVAC contractor in Chicago may not know HVAC contractors in Cleveland, but they likely do know of their competition in Chicago.
Many nearby accounts
One more thing! If you can rattle off a list of many nearby relevant customers, now THAT is social proof!
You may now wonder, how would I find all that info during a sales call? And fast?
Here’s how …
Find the right nearby accounts in Salesforce
This is a popular use case for ProsperVue, an app for Salesforce. Sales teams use it to quickly filter and sort data like industry, company size, product, etc. It’s designed to be fast enough to use during inside sales calls.
Let’s pretend we’re a company that sells payroll and payment services. The red pin in the middle of the map is the prospect we’re calling. You see a lot of pins – we do a lot of business in this area! How will we ever find the most relevant social proof?
We can find it in a few fast clicks. (Faster than reading this!)
First, let’s find relevant industry. Our prospect is in health care. Maybe there are specific concerns with insurance, compliance and billing. So we want nearby customers who are also in health care.
You can easily find those accounts in 2 ways: 1) type “Health” in the search bar, or 2) click the “Top 10” Icon in the Industry field header, and then click to eliminate all non-health care accounts from the map.
Let’s do a quick click to make data easier to see. All the orange pins on the map above are leads and they make it hard to see accounts. Go to the upper corner and unclick Lead to make leads disappear. Now you see only accounts.
We could stop here, already!
Because in the “Account Type” column, you see info about nearby Customers. You see some are still in Pilot stage or Prospects. But some are Customers. So, you can reference the first account, which is only 1 mile away from the prospect, is in health care, and is a customer using the Payments product. If you scroll down in the bottom panel, you may find more relevant customers.
Or, you can click a few more times to refine your choices. Maybe we want to find more customers using the Payment product. Easy. Zoom out on the map. Click the Top 10 icon in the “Product” column. This color codes all pins by Product. See all accounts using Payments in yellow. It’s easy to see how close or far they are from the red pin, which is our prospect.
In the “Account Type” column, you can see which accounts are Customers. But, we can also click on the Top 10 icon in “Account Type” to show only certain types of Customers on the map, in the health care industry, using the Payment product:
The more detailed you get, the fewer pins you may see. But, they can become highly relevant, so that’s not necessarily bad.
CRM fields needed for social proof and reference selling
Of course, you need the right data fields in CRM. And a high percent of the data must be populated. If your data is not well-populated, consider hiring a service to append your data with firmographics.
The investment in good data can help your sales and marketing teams to improve prospect targeting and do quality social proofing.
Fields we recommend:
- Geocoded street addresses. Street addresses are best. If you have city and state, geocoding will get you in the general area. The more specific you can get with address data, the better, especially for large cities and suburbs.
- Relevant measure of customer size. This measure should be relevant to your prospects and what you sell. Could be: annual revenue, number of employees, fleet size, building or lot size, etc.
- Industry. SIC codes or picklist text values.
- Product/service. If you collect product purchased data in CRM, you can get even more relevant.
- Length of service. How long has the customer been a customer. Long-time customers who keep renewing – that’s great social proof evidence.
- Reference status. Identify delighted customers who agreed to be references. Note your most enthusiastic advocates. On the other hand, you can also identify accounts that you do not want to mention during sales calls.
- Customer status. Similarly, you could identify current customers, ex-customers, trial customers.
You might think of more data that’s relevant for your business and prospects.
In ProsperVue, all these fields help you identify the best Salesforce nearby accounts for social proof. Remember, the more relevant the social proof to your prospects, the better!
Director of Marketing & Customer Success at Valgen
I am passionate about communications that influence action. From convincing people to drive safer, to helping marketers and sales teams connect with their customers. The common thread is helping people’s lives and careers.