This article is from the summer of 2016. And is still relevant today.

Do you know what social listening is? In simple terms, it is tracking what people are saying about you or your brand online. Doesn't matter what social platform, can be a tweet, a blog post, a Linkedin comment, a Facebook like, an Instagram heart - all of this, and I mean all of this signals intent, in some shape or form. Intent Data - if you don't know what this, then read this.  Watching one of Gary Vaynerchuk's key notes (google him), he shared an mind bending stat - more data is created in 24 hours, then was created in the decades of the 50s & 60s. All of it is social, IOT, voice, search - everything. 

So why is any of this relevant I hear you ask yourself, I work in b2b sales, I am an accountant, a lawyer, Saas Sales person. Do you honestly think that your buyers do not use social in any shape or form when doing their due diligence on you or your business? We are addicted to the computer in our pocket - checking it "Just in case" as one Global Head of Comms at a law firm said to me.

Your market, your industry, your business, and maybe even you are being talked about in general or possibly specific terms online. Yet you have no idea. Are you asking your Marketing or Comms team about this? Do they even use social listening as part of your go to market sales & business development strategy?  To quote Alec Baldwin's character in Glengarry Glen Ross "Get out there - you got the prospects coming in. You think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don't walk on the lot lest he wants to buy. They're sitting out there waiting to give you their money."

This is the genuine advantage that building social listening technology into your sales & marketing strategy will give you. It will help tell you what is trending as an industry topic and who is talking about. You can track who is talking about your brand, layered with sentiment you can see if it is positive, negative or neutral. Layer that with Intent Data and you can now understand what someone's intent is - are they asking for support, complaining, ready to buy even? You can map this around the world, in real time. You can now even build in employee advocacy to help activate the network of your business and for them to become micro-influencers.

What's more - some of you already have this technology, you are already paying for it and you don't even know it.

If you have one of these plans with Microsoft -Dynamics 365 Plan, Customer Engagement Plan, and Customer Engagement Application (Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation) subscriptions - we need to talk.

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Is it time for you to wake up and start listening with both ears to what your market is really saying?