During an extensive career in sales and marketing, I’ve done most of the things traditionally considered necessary to generate business prospects. These include cold-calling, advertising, trade shows, mailshots and more.
While all these activities still have a part to play in the sales process, social media can provide a powerful additional tool in your prospect generation armoury.
A recent study by sales software provider KiteDesk showed that salespeople who are social media savvy, were six times more likely to exceed their sales quota than their peers who have limited or no social media skills.
Some of the benefits of using social media for prospect generation include:
- Connecting with informed buyers who are often using social media as a prime source of product and supplier information;
- Connecting with potential buyers when it’s convenient for them at a time they choose to engage;
- Efficiency, cost effectiveness and speed. It can also be a lot more fun than some of the traditional prospecting activities; and
- The ability to closely monitor results and ROI, and make changes on the fly in order to maximise the effectiveness of a campaign.
Here are some ways that social media influences the sales process:
- Driving more traffic to your website, and from there, converting website visitors into new connections, prospects or direct sales.
- Providing a very good forum to raise awareness of your products and services, which can also help maintain awareness of your offerings.
- Allowing you to publicise different applications for your products. For instance, by making users aware of case studies you have produced.
- Providing increased exposure for your special offers. Being time sensitive, social media gives you a speedy way to get the message out about special offers.
- Forming new connections for business partnerships. You can quickly find out who’s active in particular sectors and get a feeling for their capabilities.
- Identifying new prospects and starting the relationship process.
- Curating the latest information related to your industry, then passing on items which support your positioning to prospects and clients.
- Driving people to your retail premises. Using social media to engage with people on mobile devices can be highly effective in this area.
- Encouraging people to register for your events, thus boosting event attendance.
- Generating sales directly on your social media sites. For instance, did you know you can set up a ‘store’ on your company Facebook page?
- Increasing your website search ranking, which in turn will generate even more website traffic.
How many of the above items is your business benefitting from?
10-12: You’re using social media very effectively to support sales. Keep it up.
6-9: Terrific effort. Maybe you want to consider how you can tap into some of the other ideas listed above.
1-5: It’s a start, but if you’re already putting effort into social media, you may as well try and expand your impact.
0: You’re definitely missing a trick and making it a lot harder for your salespeople and yourself to hit sales targets.
Richard Carter is the owner of Business Connection Resources.