How Nimble + Office 365 is Cultivating the Next Generation of Sales Teams

About the Center for Professional Selling

The Center for Professional Selling (Center) at Kennesaw State University is a leader in university-based sales education and one of the first in the country to offer a degree in professional sales.

The mission of the Center is to prepare and develop the future leaders of the sales profession by educating students in the most advanced concepts and practices of sales methodology based upon the latest research in the sales discipline.

Almost 50% of all business graduates begin their career in a sales position after college. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that some states will have over 21,000 sales jobs each year, and the country as a whole will have over 100,000.

The world of sales is an evolving, fast-paced field. It is no longer limited to cold calls and door to door techniques. It is now more focused on building relationships with ready to buy decision makers and connecting with prospects or potential clients on a more meaningful, symbiotic level.

This is why the Center for Professional Selling is positioned to play an integral role in supporting the next generation of sales teams, sales reps, social sellers, and sales professionals. Professional sales is a rewarding experience that always has a plethora of job openings and opportunity, and offers great potential for growth and success.

Finding the Right CRM For The Center’s Needs

Scott Inks, Director of Internal Operations and Associate Professor of Marketing at the Center of Professional Selling, has created Social Selling and Sales Analytics, a course designed to bring up-to-date and critical sales technology to his students. As a result, the Center was looking for a CRM system they could incorporate into their curriculum.

Scott had worked with more robust CRMs such as NetSuite and Salesforce before but found them to be too steep for the time allotted in a normal semester. Scott was attracted to Nimble because of its ability to combine social selling, CRM, and sales metrics into a practical sales and marketing tool. Nimble’s focus on social selling and relationship building with customers and prospects turned out to be the perfect fit for the program and for the Kennesaw State University sales students.

Scott explains, “The students have found Nimble to be much easier and intuitive relative to other tools we have used in the past, so adoption has been pretty painless. Nimble’s social integration teaches them how to use the technology to their advantage to target prospects capable of purchasing decisions and establish a rapport with them.”

How Nimble Helps the Center for Professional Selling Grow

As part of their efforts to grow the Center for Professional Selling, they rely on partner relationships to support their activities. The Center’s use of Nimble is two-fold: Nimble is used by the university to manage their relationships with partners and to track their sales opportunities.

Nimble is also currently used in Scott’s Social Selling and Sales Analytics course and will soon be included in an advanced sales course. The program lets students see firsthand how they can leverage technology for prospecting, social selling, and relationship management to sell a given product or service.

“Tools like Nimble provide the cognitive and social selling advantage that allows salespeople to form more robust relationships with leads and customers and develop their personal brands in ways that couldn’t easily be done before. We show the students that their digital footprint can be impactful and help them establish leads,” says Scott.

The Center of Professional Selling integrates Nimble with Office 365, allowing them to view messages they receive from prospective customers and decision makers along with schedule-related messages tied to their Outlook calendar — all in one unified system.

cultivating the next gen of sales teams

Budding Sales Teams Are Discovering the Power of Nimble  

While using Nimble in the classroom the students are learning how to enter contacts, create and manage a pipeline, generate leads and sales opportunities, and to run reports to get them comfortable using the technology. While fictitious data is used in this course, the advanced course will use real data and allow students to use Nimble to interact with the leads they generate.

According to Scott, the students are surprised by how easy it is to apply these tools in a business environment. The ability to use the Smart Contacts widget to hover and import a target’s contact information into Nimble quickly everywhere they work is very appealing to them, along with the flexibility to use the mobile app.

They also use Prospector to look up verified contact details (outside the EU), including their email address and phone numbers. The students are discovering how social listening can help them gain the context and insights necessary to engage effectively with prospects and customers. Using Nimble, the students are seeing the benefits of using a social sales and marketing tool to share relevant social posts and connect with business contacts for a competitive advantage once a prospect is ready to buy.

As a result, the students are better job candidates because they have CRM experience, understand how to build and manage authentic relationships with prospects and customers at scale, and are comfortable with the lead and relationship development processes along with the necessary tools to track that activity and help manage the buyer journey.

“The curriculum is producing sales professionals and sales teams that are ready for the real world. Students leave the program knowing what the sales process is and what they are getting into, resulting in more successful graduates and creating a valuable asset to the community. Recruiters who hire students from our program continue to come back to us because they ramp up 50% faster and the turnover rate is 30% lower, saving companies a lot of money and time,” notes Scott.

What does the Future of the Center for Professional Selling Hold?

The Center for Professional Selling is looking forward to expanding Nimble’s role in their curriculum. The university is in the process of incorporating Nimble in their advanced sales course, and plan to introduce Nimble into more courses as they continue to get comfortable with the features and functionality.

“I’ve found Nimble to be one of the easiest software tools to learn on and help you be productive really quickly, making it a great fit for what we are trying to accomplish,” concludes Scott.

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