How B2B Sales Managers Can Use Twitter as a Tool for Prospecting
Twitter for B2B Sales
Social media broke B2B sales as we know it. At last count, 61% of B2B companies are using social media, and most see a 100% increase in lead generation on average. Sales has always been an inherently social activity. Connections are made and appointments are set based on the size and strength of the representative’s network. Historically, joining the right country club or networking could give a sales professional access to the decision makers he needed to talk to. Social media has changed it all.
In the words of Paul Greenberg, the conversation in today’s world is in the hands of the client. If you’re not on social media, he or she could be using the network to connect with your competitors without your input. While social media managers at most corporations aren’t decision makers, they have the power to get you in front of someone who is. Twitter prospecting, when used correctly, allows B2B sales representatives to schedule that critical phone call and make the connections they need. In some ways, sales isn’t even about who you know anymore. It’s about how you approach the people you need to know, and whether you can effectively build their trust.
How to Build Trust on Social Media
Traditional sales theory has dictated that it takes around 7 points of contact to build the trust necessary to make a sale. Networking expert Jeff Glaze writes that this trust is built by displaying genuine concern, and coming across as a real person during preliminary contact. While it’s never been prudent to introduce the hard sell as soon as you’re in front of a decision maker, remember that it’s even more critical once you’re on a social media network. Below is an example of Twitter prospecting gone wrong:
image credit: agsalesworks
While the example above is a bit extreme, it’s a valuable reminder that a single positive interaction on Twitter simply isn’t enough to begin pushing your product. The following examples are a basic overview of how B2B sales representatives can utilize Twitter in their daily workflow, from qualifying to prospecting:
1. Personification - Who Do You Want to Sell To?
Buyer personas have long been a tool of marketers, but they’re also an undervalued resource for B2B sales. By creating vivid sample profiles of your ideal customer, you can identify the pain points and common objections you will encounter in daily interactions. Before you begin prospecting on Twitter, it’s essential to draw up some ideas on how your target clients use Twitter. What is their level of technical sophistication? Are they likely to have a blog or a large follower base? Identify how your ideal clients use social media to find the prospects who fit this profile.
2. Prospecting - Find Your Ideal Customers
Use Twitter’s search functionality to discover the brands you want to connect with. Search and follow the companies you’re already hoping to bring on board, and use keyword searches to find companies that fit your persona profiles. Engage with their social media managers by asking questions, sharing content resources, and building a relationship that’s built on trust over time.
As you begin integrating Twitter into your workflow, private Twitter lists can be a valuable tool for keeping in touch with your prospects, leads, and clients and ensuring you’re sharing the right messages with the right people.
Build Twitter lists of your contacts to begin qualifying whether or not they can become a client. If you’re using HubSpot marketing automation software, connecting with your leads on Twitter is simple thanks to the built-in contact forms. Use the information they share on Twitter and other social media profiles to determine how closely they align with your buyer personas, as well as what you can determine about company size and budget for qualifying purposes.
4. Nurturing - Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Maintain a “hot list” on Twitter of your most highly-qualified leads. If you’re using a social media management tool like Tweetdeck or HootSuite, ensure you read these companies Tweets regularly to maintain high engagement levels. Provide links to free content resources often, and prepare to close the sales by moving the conversation to Twitter’s direct message functionality or offering a free trial of your product if it’s relevant.
How Do You Feel Twitter Can Align With B2B Sales?