At every point during the lead generation process, structured use of social media, dovetailing marketing and sales strategies can strengthen your approach. Online technology as well as print advertising and press can be used to create and maintain relationships with leads and prospects, so not investing time in these methods can damage your sales output.
Social networks and other online media give sales reps another 'in' with prospects. With LinkedIn reaching 300 million members in 2014, most of whom will have been drawn to the site for the networking potential and sharing of media; can you afford to not have a presence?
Mixed Approach StrategiesWhether you currently take advantage of online or print formats of media it is important to be present in all of the locations your current clients and potential leads are spending time and accessing information. This means print and digital strategies need to be merged to be able to implement a robust double pronged strategy.
Cold calls needn't be so icy going forward; precious prospect information is sat waiting for you to find it.
Companies that have previously resisted the 'digital age' may continue to invite potential suppliers to submit a tender via industry print magazines, but they should also be adding this to their online blog and using it as the subject for several social posts. If you're not looking in those places or creating a presence, then you could be missing a trick.
In a recent publication, "How sales can use social media to close more deals", HubSpot state that 78.3% of reps have used social media to sell. To begin to adopt this yourself, why not introduce an online follow up after first meeting a prospect as part of your in house processes. This is a much more people friendly, subtle method of contact rather than a false, uninformed conversation where you go in with the hard sell.
Social Tools & Time ConstraintsAs with everything during your working day, you need to prioritise time for your social media efforts. Before you start, calculate how much time per day each member of your team can spare for these activities and stick to it. You can schedule social posts using a variety of tools to ensure the messages go out at the optimum time for your target audience. This also means you are able to apply strict guidelines to the amount of time you spend on social media.
If you have the resource and budget, try to generate your own media content that can be published and shared both on and offline. Read what's available from key influencers in your industry and comment on that, where possible, or get involved with discussions and ask questions, as it is the perfect opportunity to get your product or service noticed.
Moving onto tools, some features worth exploration are the advanced search features of Google+ and Twitter as well as any other platforms that enable you to search and store contacts and conversations more accessibly. Utilise the 'list' and 'circles' features to keep current clients, prospects and industries separate.
Major social platforms suggest people you may want to follow based on your current contacts. This can be a useful source of potential leads.
The transparency of social sites is also a fantastic way to see who your competitors are talking to and what groups they are joining as well as the content they are sharing and where they found it. All of this gives you more information to be able to compete. By monitoring decision makers and influencers you are able to have an insight into more of their lives, as well as personal views and opinions. This can be used to make your conversations with them more meaningful and productive.
Once you have invested the resource into advertising, social or software to enhance the process of lead generation it would be a waste not to measure its success. Set KPIs that you can regularly assess to enable your team to see what tactics are working and calculate the ROI of their efforts.
Making the Most of MediaDon't forget that every industry is relatively small so be aware of using digital methods in a 'friendly' way rather than purely to oust your competitors. Social media is treated by most as a positive community where content and experiences are shared. Be approachable and share not only with leads but also with other sales professionals. You never know who they might know.
Salespeople, at every level, should be using social media to identify and research prospects but also to build ongoing relationships with decision makers. It isn't the appropriate place for a full pitch, but an informal message will be more effective when sent via this network. Even if a potential customer isn't at the buying stage, an introduction can ensure your business is the first to enter their mind when they are ready.