Are you and your sales team finding it harder and harder to maintain a full sales pipeline?
The world of B2B sales is rapidly changing, and if you’re not making social media part of your pipeline development strategy, you could be missing out on potential sales to both new and existing customers.
Here are four benefits of integrating social media into your pipeline development plan.
- Connect with existing customers: Your customers are beyond busy, with little time for in-person meetings, lunches, or even phone calls. Using social media enables you to stay on their radar screens in a non-invasive manner. Leave a voice mail with a customer, and he or she may think, “Uh-oh…he wants to sell me something,” or “I don’t have time to call her back.” But everyone has time for a quick post or reply on social media. Plus, by observing what your customers are sharing, commenting on, or asking about or on social media, you’ll learn about projects they’re working on, pain points they are facing, and needs they may have. These insights are invaluable when you reach out with new offers or seek to upsell.
- Find new customers: You’ve undoubtedly noticed that IT buyers are doing a lot of research online before they ever contact your company. But did you know how much of that research starts with social media? Yes, people really are using tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook for business purposes in the IT world. In a study by Eccolo Media, more than two-thirds of B2B IT buyers say they use social media content to help them in the earliest stages of the sales process. More than half say they turn first to Facebook for vendor information to help them with a future tech purchase, and four in 10 go to LinkedIn. By being active on social media, you can reach out to prospects when they’re online doing their preliminary research, before they’ve even begun to narrow down vendor choices.
- Build relationships with influencers, media and industry experts: You’re probably already reading blogs and articles by the people who cover your industry on a daily basis. Now take the next step by reaching out to form relationships with them. Start by connecting on social media: Comment on or share their articles or posts; follow them on Twitter and retweet their tweets. Be professional and don’t promote your products or services—but do mention them if relevant. Once you’re on the person’s radar, offer to help in some way. For instance, you could offer to serve as an expert source for a journalist, or share some research your company has done with a blogger or industry expert. The goal is to be of service without being pushy.
- Showcase your expertise: Because B2B social media users are always looking for useful information, social media is an ideal place to share your expertise about a specific topic or marketplace. It’s a win-win situation: Customers and prospects get valuable insights from all the knowledge and experience you’ve gained in your professional career, while you build a reputation as the “go-to” person about that topic. After all, when current or prospective customers need a problem solved, they’ll turn to the expert: you.
By combining traditional marketing tactics with the newer ones of social media, you’ll ensure you are doing your utmost to keep your sales pipeline full.