IBM enhances seller effectiveness

The company deploys a social sales environment designed to help increase IBM value to its clients

Published on 07-Feb-2013

"With our SalesConnect solution, we expect to grow sales by helping our sellers respond faster and in a way that demonstrates the teamwork they can bring to bear on solving clients’ business issues and concerns." - Bob Guidotti, vice president of worldwide software sales strategy and transformation, IBM


Computer Services

Deployment country:
United States

Social Business for Knowledge Sharing and Innovation, Social Business for Sales, Social Business


IBM is a global technology leader with operations in more than 170 countries. It employs more than 433,000 employees worldwide, roughly 10 percent of whom make up the sales force.

Business need:
Stand-alone, partially integrated sales tools were inhibiting sales performance, slowing growth and adding costs.

By integrating CRM and social software, the IBM global sales organization helps sellers spend less time managing opportunities and more time serving clients.

IBM expects sellers to regain significant time for client-facing activities and anticipates more effective collaboration for astute response to clients.

Case Study

IBM is a global technology leader with operations in more than 170 countries. It employs more than 433,000 employees worldwide, roughly 10 percent of whom make up the sales force.

Over the past 15 years, IBM implemented a range of customer relationship management (CRM) and sales tools aimed at boosting seller productivity. Unfortunately, feedback from the field indicated otherwise, primarily because the solutions were designed more to manage sales than to help sales teams sell.

In reality, the multiple systems and applications inhibited sales performance. They didn’t talk to one another, so considerable effort was required to extract, upload, analyze and cross-check information. Pertinent input from front-line sales professionals was often lost. Not surprisingly, data quality remained a challenge because it depended on the efforts of sellers who derived little personal benefit from the solutions.

In 2011, IBM engaged with 700 first-line IBM sellers to help define what was involved in supporting successful sales. Based on insight gleaned, the IBM project team is creating an integrated, simple, social and smart selling environment.

Called SalesConnect, the environment integrates CRM opportunity management tools with IBM social software. Key components of the solution include IBM Lotus® collaboration software, IBM Connections social software, IBM Tivoli® service management technology and IBM WebSphere® middleware. Sellers can now work with multiple, different applications without having to sign in and out. They can update calendars, respond to IBM Lotus® Notes® and IBM Sametime® messages, hotlink straight to an opportunity, hover their cursors over solution names for product details and reach out to experts and team members — right from within SalesConnect.

The simple Web 2.0-style user interface provides rapid access to the data sellers need. For example, a customer name is not just a name. It’s a link to a wealth of details, including what the customer has already ordered from IBM. In addition, opportunities screens are easier to use with fewer fields, type-ahead and autopopulation of key information.

Going beyond account management, the SalesConnect project team continues building capabilities to foster the critical social aspects of selling. For example, a seller can keep current on a client’s profile and contact details with a single click to such external social networks as LinkedIn. With enhancements already in process, sales team members will be able to converse in near real time using IBM Connections software “walls” to microblog, share progress on deals and discover new business.

In addition, the Connections social analytics engine makes social selling smarter. While sellers focus on other activities, the engine is designed to work in the background, analyzing the content and context of an opportunity to recommend experts and sales enablement materials to help win more comprehensive deals.

IBM deployed the first internal release of SalesConnect in August 2012 to a segment of IBM sellers. Beginning in 2013, enhancements are planned for mobility and sales forecasting, while further IBM Connections software capabilities are added and the solution is rolled out globally.

Expected Benefits
· Decrease IT costs by reducing system complexity
· Improve seller productivity by freeing up more time for client-facing activities
· Win better deals faster with collaborative, insightful selling

For more information
To learn more about social selling solutions from IBM, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website,

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Tivoli Federated Identity Manager, IBM Sametime, IBM Connections, IBM Notes

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America January 2013 IBM, the IBM logo and, Lotus, Notes, Sametime, Tivoli, WebSphere and DataPower are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.