The Art of Selling with Social Tools

Hearsay Social helps salespeople keep track of what’s going on in the lives of their customers and prospects by monitoring what customers have posted in social media and suggesting relevant content to share. Chris Andrew, the company’s managing director of Europe, and Gary Liu, vice president of marketing, explain how it works.

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Imagine you had an interface on your computer that told you what things were going on in your customers’ lives based on their posts on social networking forums such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It might be useful to know if a customer was car shopping, or planning a wedding, or looking for a new job.

Hearsay Social helps business people create such a space. It helps salespeople build a professional social presence, alerts them to when customers post relevant buying signals and provides a content library of ready-to-post comments or articles to share “to make you look like the expert you are.” Its customers include small businesses such as insurance agents and wealth advisors, as well as the larger firms that employ these salespeople and relationship managers.

Chris Andrew, the founders’ first company hire in 2010, is now the managing director for the company’s operations in Europe. In 2013, he moved to London from the San Francisco headquarters to lead Hearsay Social’s international expansion. Gary Liu, vice president of marketing, guides all aspects of the company’s marketing, including the company’s social media, website and demand generation functions. He previously was at Siebel Systems and ServiceSource and says that “the common thread around these three companies, including Hearsay Social, is that they’re enterprise-focused: they’re software firms that are really focused on helping business sales leaders, marketing leaders and, in our case, compliance leaders, be successful growing their business.”

Andrew and Liu spoke with Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane, an associate professor of information systems at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and guest editor for MIT Sloan Management Review’s Social Business Big Idea Initiative, about how Hearsay Social customers are using the platform, what’s different in Europe, and how compliance issues factor into social business management.

Give us an example of how your platform works.

Gary Liu: Sure. In our customer base we have a lot of large financial services and insurance firms. So imagine a wealth manager or a financial advisor that’s using Hearsay Social.

They’re essentially a relationship manager or a salesperson. They’ve got a set of clients, and they want to be able to continue to manage and nurture and best understand what’s happening in their current customer base.


Social Business

Social business research and more recent thought leadership explore the challenges and opportunities presented by social media.
More in this series

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Comments (2)
Margarita Lopez
It would be interesting to understand what was the biggest challenge with respect to perception that financial advisors are 'stalking' prospects?  What percentage of successfully closed sales came from people the financial advisors didn't know face-to-face at first but "met" only on a social platform like FB, Twitter or Linkedin?
Thank you for the interesting post. I believe that the trend towards monitoring more user behavior will continue to increase. As this happens, there is greater need for transparency - what are you monitoring, how are you tracking it, and how can I opt-out. In my startup IT Central Station ( we strive to provide this transparency and give our users control over their content.

Russell Rothstein
Sloan SM '96
Co-Founder and CEO of IT Central Station