Using Social Media For B2B Networking

B2B Social Networking

Ever have a salesperson claim they don’t have time to play on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+? If you answer no, then you’re either a liar or not listening closely because it’s the most common thing social media consultants have been hearing from sales organizations for as long as social media has been around. And in that one statement we have identified the key reason social media still hasn’t really been embraced by sales organizations.

These salespeople still don’t understand that at a minimum, social media is the new phone. It’s both an inbound and outbound marketing tool to contact and communicate with prospects. Is it the best phone to use for all contacts? Certainly not, but it does allow you to call more people in a day than you’d likely be able to call in a week using a standard phone.  But beyond that, here are three key benefits of a B2B social selling approach.

Creating a Sense of Attachment

In the words of Steve Woodruff, a fantastic master of social selling, social media helps him reach out and be helpful to lots of folks online. In turn, providing all of that help creates a sense of attachment between him and his network. A network made up of friends, colleagues and yes, prospects.

Now Steve is probably one of the best Ambassadors on the Internet. He routinely establishes Embassies on various platforms. Whether it’s his Circle of Trust (a private Facebook group), his #LeadershipChat (which was co-hosted with the brilliant Lisa Petrilli) on Twitter, or his various private groups on LinkedIn. Steve creates virtual gathering places and serves as the glue that connects like minded people to have conversations and establish relationships that will serve to make everyone more successful.

In doing so, he’s helping people become better at what they do. He’s establishing himself as the “go to” guy for information, help and connections. He’s giving folks a reason to want to stay attached to Steve. Think about that in a sales prospecting mindset.

Creating TOMP

Attachment has another great benefit… it leads to Top-of-Mind-Preference. For those of you that like me grew up in the advertising world, we’re all quite familiar with Top-of-Mind-Awareness. For many companies, it has long been the holy grail of marketing metrics because it was easily measured and achievement assured that when the buyer was in the buying cycle, you’d be included as an option.

But today’s Google it world, Top-of-Mind-Awareness just gets you in the ballgame. Sure it might ensure you are included in the consideration set, that consideration set is bigger than ever and assembled more quickly with a simple Internet search. Thus, it’s not enough anymore to just be top of mind, you have to be the preferred top of mind option — TOMP. Because of the high, helpful frequency of contacts achieved via social selling, TOMP is far more achievable via this approach than any other. I explore this powerful relationship-based approach in my new book, The Invisible Sale.

Creating a Social Sales Force

Humans have limits.  When it comes to networking, understanding the benefits of social selling or any other one-to-one effort, there are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 12 months in a year. Subtract things like sleep, kids, wives and husbands, a need to do something outside of just working for a living and you start to figure out that one person can only contact so many people in a meaningful manner. It’s why companies developed sales forces to begin with and continue to field them today.

Social Media gives you an incredibly powerful set of networking tools to create that sense of attachment and then leverage it to your benefit. Think about the value of having hundreds of social agents (online social media connections that have that sense of attachment to you or your company) actively looking out for your best interests. How many conversations might these hundreds of agents hear a day, month or year? How many sales opportunities might they be able to send your way by simply recommending one of their friends or colleagues consider you or your company?

You can’t be everywhere. You can’t hear every conversation much less participate in it. But with an army of social agents serving as your social sales force… well now you’re growing some might big ears.

There are a ton of other benefits to social selling, and we’ll talk more about those over the coming months. So if you don’t want to miss any of that conversation, be sure to subscribe to this blog via email to ensure each and every social selling posts hits your inbox as soon as it’s posted.

About Tom Martin

Tom is 20+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and digital gadgets that helps digitally challenged companies create innovative and effective digital marketing strategies. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Connect with him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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