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Most buyers value trust over anything when dealing with sales professionals, a LinkedIn study found. PHOTO: John Pavelka

Beef up your LinkedIn profile. Dust the cobwebs off your Twitter feed. 

And, for Pete's sake, be honest.

Those were some of the takeaways from a LinkedIn survey this week that polled sellers and buyers about sales technology, adoption and success. The survey — the second annual LinkedIn State of Sales — was released Wednesday.

Buyers Value Trust, Social Presence

Justin Shriber
Justin Shriber

It polled 1,000 sales professionals and as many buyers and found that social technologies have gained momentum in the sales process. Sellers plan to invest more in social in the next 12 months: 70 percent of them said so, in fact, compared to 48 percent last year. 

Further, buyers are more likely to start discussions with sales reps if that rep has a social media presence: 69 percent of millennials are more likely speak to sales professionals if that sales rep has a presence on social media, compared to 58 percent for Gen Xers and 33 percent of Baby Boomers.

"The headline here is that there is definite evidence that shows not just technologies, but social technologies are gaining momentum with respect to how sellers and buyers are engaging," Justin Shriber, VP of global marketing, LinkedIn Sales Solution said in an interview this week with CMSWire. "We're moving from niche to mainstream when it comes to social. It's now a core part of sales technology. And buyers are profiling sellers on social."

What do buyers value today? Trust.

Buyers ranked trusting a sales rep as the most important factor in making a purchase, ahead of ROI on their purchase and price.

"For sales people to see this in writing is very enlightening," Shriber said. "There is so much pressure to close a deal and negotiate a price down to the wire. But this (trust finding) creates an incentive for them that's very healthy."

Another takeaway: do your homework. Seventy-seven percent of buyers would not engage with a salesperson if it's evident they didn't do their homework or bring insights specific to that buyer's business.

"That's what it takes to start to develop that trust," Shriber said. "It's got to be personalized and relevant and you have to demonstrate you understand the buyer."

LinkedIn State of Sales

In other technology news ...

Insightly Updates CRM

San Francisco-based Insightly updated its CRM with a Microsoft Outlook integration and a redesigned technical architecture and user interface.

“A CRM product’s ease of use matters just as much as its feature set. If your sales reps dread logging into the tool, your entire project is jeopardized,” Anthony Smith, founder and CEO of Insightly, said in a statement. 

The latest version also includes:

  • Navigation screen that allows users to access and alter record details without clicking away from broader search results
  • Quick search, real-time notifications and Kanban view
  • Ability to dial customers directly within Insightly using Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP)
  • Integrations with tools like OneLogin, Auth0 or Okta.

Insightly had a $25 million Series C funding round in April and has plans to double its headcount to 160 employees by the end of this year by adding a sales team dedicated to midsize businesses. 

Oracle Expands Cloud at Customer with PaaS, SaaS 

Redwood City, Calif-based Oracle has expanded the services it provides through Oracle Cloud at Customer. The portfolio now spans all of the major Oracle Platform-as-a Service (PaaS) categories and for the first time also features Oracle Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).  

Oracle Cloud at Customer is designed to relieve organizations of data privacy concerns related to where their data is stored. It gives organizations a choice in where their data and applications reside. 

“Oracle Cloud at Customer is a direct response to the remaining barriers to cloud adoption and turning those obstacles into opportunities by letting customers choose the location of their cloud services,” Thomas Kurian, president of product development Oracle, said in a statement. 

Oracle Cloud at Customer is a cloud infrastructure platform based on converged Oracle hardware, software-defined storage and networking and an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) abstraction. 

Customers now have access to PaaS categories, including database, application development, analytics, big data, application and data Integration and identity management.  

They can also access Oracle SaaS services such as enterprise resource planning, human capital management, CRM and supply chain management in their own data centers. 

PacketZoom Expands to Europe

PacketZoom, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of mobile application acceleration, announced this week it has expanded to Europe.

The company has hired industry veteran Amos Ben Yaacov as its new general manager EMEA to oversee growth throughout Europe and bring PacketZoom’s proprietary app analytics, controls and acceleration technology to European and Middle Eastern app developers. 

Ben Yaacov brings more than 20 years of experience in international sales, business development and strategy to PacketZoom. He was the VP of sales, EMEA, for Cotendo, a content delivery network and application delivery network service provider, when it was acquired by Akamai. 

Ben Yaacov then served in multiple roles for Akamai, most recently as its senior director of security planning and strategy. 

Making the Funding Rounds ...

Cybersecurity Startup Corelight Raises $9.2 Million 

San Francisco-based Corelight, which provides a network visibility solution for cybersecurity, announced this week it had closed a $9.2 million Series A funding round led by Accel Partners. Osage University Partners and Riverbed Technology Co-Founder Steve McCanne also participated in the round. 

Company officials said they will make investments in sales, marketing and engineering with the funding.

"We often invest in very widely-used open source projects. But it's uncommon for them to have much enterprise market traction," Eric Wolford of Accel Partners said in a statement. "And what's highly unusual for a Series A company like Corelight is to have a shipping product built on battle-hardened open source software and dozens of paying customers including six of the Fortune 100, plus one of the largest private companies in the US. I've never seen that before."

Corelight was founded by Vern Paxson (a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley and chief scientist at Corelight), Robin Sommer (CTO) and Seth Hall (chief evangelist). It delivers network visibility solutions for cybersecurity built on an open source framework called Bro. 

Workato Secures $16 Million 

Cupertino, Calif.-based Workato, an iPaaS provider, also this week announced the completion of Series A financing. Its $10 million round was led by Storm Ventures with additional investment from Salesforce Ventures and Workday Ventures. Workato secured $6 million in earlier funding from founders and advisors.

Workato also released Workato Turing, an intelligent automation platform this week. It includes machine-learning-driven suggestions to build AI-enhanced automations via integrations with AI platforms such as Salesforce Einstein, Watson and others.

Alation Raises $23 Million in Series B 

Redwood City, Calif.-based Alation, a collaborative data company, announced it has closed a $23 million Series B funding round led by Icon Ventures with participation from Harmony Partners, Costanoa Ventures and Data Collective. 

Michael Mullany, a general partner at Icon Ventures, has joined the Alation board of directors. The money will help the company meet the enterprise demand for collaborative data catalogs. 

Alation’s application design and automated platform help catalog data assets.