Thanks to social media and the proliferation of personal information available online, salespeople are more effectively engaging and building relationships with prospective clients and current customers. Social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook, along with business information providers like ZoomInfo, InsideView, and Jigsaw, deliver insights previously unavailable to most salespeople.

“In sales, doing research ahead of time is essential and these sites are a wealth of knowledge if used correctly,” says Scott Allen, coauthor of The Virtual Handshake. “Doing your homework by finding out about targeted clients gives you an edge, and it shows clients that you’re addressing their needs and speaking to their individual challenges instead of treating them like just another presentation for that quarter’s quota.”