Sales Leads-An Effective New Source

Do you want a new source of sales, opportunities, leads, and relationships?

I share a technique in today’s post that is producing surprising results for several clients in tech and insurance  sectors.
Zendesk logoZendesk is well established as a web-based customer support system with ticket management, business rules and more.  I have grown to value it’s efficiency and I am incorporating it into our client-facing business operations.  What I want to share in this review is how you can use Zendesk as a sales and marketing tool.  A useful web tool that you can use in prospecting, relationship building, lead nurturing and strengthening your reputation.

As background, some of the companies that you are familiar with and most likely already customers of, use Zendesk as their customer support system.  Established companies including MSNBC, SAP and Rackspace are Zendesk customers, along with web 2.0 companies such as Gist, Twitter, Animoto, Groupon and Blip.tv. It is insanely easy to set up, nothing to install or update, pre-configured for industry best practices that many customers don’t even need to modify.

Why am I suggesting the use of Zendesk as a Sales tool?  First, your activity can integrate into Salesforce.com, Net Suite, Batchbook, Highrise and other CRM solutions, providing an integrated view of your customer activity.  Zendesk recently rolled out their integration with Twitter. This created the opportunity to move Twitter messages about you, your product, brand or company into Zendesk for response, tracking and action by your team. They call the result a “Twicket“.  Zendesk provides extensive flexibility for routing activities to the appropriate person, so why not route some of the appropriate Twitter activity to a sales person?

Watch this short 3 minute video to see how the Zendesk/Twitter integration works:

Three recent sample Tweets of which there are hundreds each week:

  • Wondering about getting a laptop before end of the year – must run Win7, VS2010 well. Dell, Lenovo, HP or mac?
  • What Are Some Good Health Insurance Companies?
  • I am not @bluehost customer either but haven’t heard negative things about them, all good. May switch when up for renewal

If I was a rep at one of those computer companies, wouldn’t I want to respond?  Wouldn’t you want to capture and learn from the results?  Assign the opportunities to the correct person on your team based on experience, specialization, geography, and other factors?

  • Is there an opportunity to begin building a relationship with the person seeking a new laptop? Possibly offer a comparison of the brands mentioned?
  • Which health insurance company is good? Do you want him to know about your company?
  • If I was in sales at Bluehost, I might want to be responding to this tweet with a sweet offer to get her to make the switch now. As a sales leader, wouldn’t you want to know that it had been done, and the results?

Twitter is a tremendous listening tool, as I have written about in an earlier post.  Using this powerful capability and integrating the information provided into your Zendesk environment provides accelerated results while building an online  community of your own.

Here are the steps to find new leads and opportunities for your business:

  1. Search in Twitter for important keywords and hashtags  important to your sales success.
  2. Saving those searches and RSS feed them to a unique email address ( I have created a gmail account just for this purpose)
  3. Monitoring the results
  4. Move the appropriate results in to Zendesk with ease.

Just like that, you have created a brand new source of opportunities, leads, relationships and sales.

By moving these activities into Zendesk, you have the ability to include this activity in your Community forum, specifically under the Q&A section, and you are building your knowledge base for other customers to learn from.  Once the opportunity comes to conclusion, it could be selected as best answer, moving it to the top of the FAQ for that topic.  This will also provide strong data for your sales operations team to review, streamline and improve overall results.

Your actions above are then able to fuel a Forum/Community environment that turns customer support into a community activity allowing you to:

  • Gather feedback and respond – invite your community to contribute ideas for your product, or ways to improve your service.
  • Answer Community questions – customers can find the answers about you, your product and/or your solution from your community.  Customers/prospects are searching online already, why not give them a place to learn.
  • Let your customers vote – get instant feedback from customers by allowing them to vote on which ideas are popular or what questions are the most important
  • Create and build your knowledge base and FAQ’s – your community activities build your online knowledge base, providing a level of detail and relevancy you might not be providing today.
  • Fully searchable – customers can search your knowledge base, cutting down on the calls to your support desk and establishing your leadership position in your industry.

Zendesk operates on the typical web 2.0 pricing structure of no contracts, monthly (or annual) billing and tiered levels based on size and need, with a free trial to get you started.  Once you decide you can’t live without it,  pricing options start at $9.00/agent/month and increase to $29.00 or  $59.00/agent/month.  Zendesk also integrates with your Android or iPhone devices for mobile activity, achieving over 50,000 iPhone downloads earlier in 2010.

Here is what I want you to do:

  1. Sign up for your free trial of Zendesk
  2. Use their business rules and process, routing to the appropriate person/s in your company.
  3. Turn on the Twitter integration.
  4. Build your searches in Twitter.
  5. Start capturing and working the opportunities that develop.
  6. Win some new business
  7. Let me know your results.

If you run into a hurdle, give me a call or send me a note by clicking on the Questions tab on the left of this screen.  I will get you unstuck and get this new sales source moving for you.

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