It’s easy to assume that Twitter is for marketers and social media experts only. After all, social media is the touchy-feely stuff, right? Well, hold your horses on that because there are some very practical and productive ways to use social media for sales and business development.
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Many sales executives I meet are desperately looking for new ways to identify and develop contacts with potential new customers. Sometimes it’s for their use. But most of the time it is for their sales teams.
As a manager of sales, they are pulling their hair out in frustration. All that training and time spent on the road and they are left without good answers. This is what I hear:
Why can’t we get more appointments? What is my sales force doing all day? And why can’t they show me more results each week?
Their sales teams are obsessed with email and have a phone (or Bluetooth device) stuck to their ear. There’s a lot of activity but not a lot of purpose behind it. Or so it seems.
So how can Twitter help? Here are 5 reasons to train your sales force on this important social platform:
1. Your current customers are probably already there
I did an impromptu search for a recent client. I was trying to show them the value of Twitter for business. So I did a search for anyone who worked at one of their big clients. It turns out that one of the people they didn’t know (a big hitter in another division) was actually quite involved on Twitter. So they began a smart and authentic little outreach project with that executive. And eventually got a meeting. Sound like something you need to be doing?
2. Target companies are likely there too
If you are spending time developing a target company list, scouring the internet or phone book for contact information and cold-calling, you have a long, inefficient road ahead of you. What if you could get in touch with a key target company employee via Twitter and introduce yourself in a more believable and authentic way? And if you think “The executives I target don’t use Twitter”, you might be right. But what if you aren’t? There are nearly 150 million people now on Twitter worldwide. Here are some golden rules to using Twitter.
3. You can establish your brand in a place where companies can find you
Social media platforms offer transparency. People can find you. In addition to a Google result, make sure your company can be found on Twitter by those already interested. Create a custom landing page just for people who found you there. And use your company brand promise as the lead content in your bio. Show how relevant you are to target companies and you will get contacted. That takes the work off of your sales force for at least some of the time.
4. You can engage with target companies in advance of a more traditional approach
After completing some targeted following on Twitter, look to “re-tweet” (share) their ideas, news, blog posts or anything else with your followers. Add them to a list called “Top IT Firms in Orlando” and then you can follow them with more purpose. Send them an “@reply” to say hi or good morning. This isn’t about pestering though it’s about being relevant on a platform where they hang out. You could also do something similar on LinkedIn or Google Plus. When you share their stuff, send them occasional notes and offer relevant content, you gain social credibility. In other words, you make it safer for them to engage with your sales force. You’re not a stranger anymore.
5. You can stay in touch ongoing and further penetrate the organization
Twitter is a great way for your sales force to “ping” target companies, friends and associates in an informal way. In a place that they are more likely to be listening. Once you’ve established a connection at a company, begin connecting with others on the site who work there. And pretty soon you’ve used it to become better known in a place where you’d like to do more business.
So stop thinking about Twitter as something used by others and start developing powerful relationships that can add significant value for your sales force. And start using it as a way to attract great talent to your organization. Because you can train them in ways that deliver better commissions.
Ready? Ask me about Twitter or other social media training.