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How B2B Sales Managers Can Use Twitter as a Tool for Prospecting

  
  
  

Twitter for B2B Sales

Twitter for Prospecting

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:

twitter for prospecting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

3. Qualifying

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?

Comments

Twitter absolutely works in this regard. One simple rule that must be followed if a B2B Sales Rep wants to have success with Twitter is this: 
 
It is not about you! 
 
Everything else will flow from there.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 22, 2013 7:52 AM by vin
Vin, you hit the nail on the head! I think the principle of "it isn't all about you" is key to content marketing, too. Good to see you on our blog, thanks for stopping by.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:16 AM by Jasmine Henry
Nice infographic and bulletpoints! What do you think about the people or groups that are your followers on Twitter but won't become direct customers? How can you use such connections and should you use them at all as a B2B company?
Posted @ Monday, January 28, 2013 7:24 AM by Sasha Zinevych
Thanks for the kind words, Sasha. Speaking from direct experience, my Twitter connections with other bloggers are among the most valuable in my network - I learn so much from what they share. I think for B2B Sales professionals, connections with leads who won't become customers also offer limited value for persona research. What do you think?
Posted @ Monday, January 28, 2013 9:15 AM by Jasmine Henry
Hi, Jasmine, 
 
I honestly can't say that I read every single link on Twitter though there is surely a lot to learn about. But what is cool about Twitter connections is recommendations that are really smart. If you put a "social manager" to your profile you may actually get tuned to social managers all over the world.  
 
Do you have a personal Twitter account? :-)
Posted @ Friday, February 01, 2013 5:06 AM by Sasha Zinevych
Thanks for the feedback, Sasha! I agree 100%. My personal handle is @jasminehenry10 - what about you?
Posted @ Friday, February 01, 2013 9:30 AM by Jasmine Henry
Jasmine,  
 
just started following you on Twitter. Probably you already know about this new option I've just found but I am very excited to share it - I can use relevant topics by regions to monitor the most retweetted posts! Amazing, right? There are so many ways you can use social networks for business but you still have to use some adaptation period to learn everything by yourself.
Posted @ Monday, February 04, 2013 3:45 AM by Sasha Zinevych
Thanks for the follow, Sasha! Thanks for sharing your experience.
Posted @ Monday, February 04, 2013 3:25 PM by Jasmine Henry
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