Hello BlogWorld readers, and welcome to my new blog post series on how social media can drive your B2B sales. I’m pleased to be invited to contribute and look forward to interacting with all of you here.
I work with small and midsize B2B companies learning how to grow their business by making bigger sales to bigger customers. Most of my customers are new to the social media world and especially confused about how it can possibly relate to the B2B sales environment.
So thought I’d start by introducing the topic and giving you my list of the Top Ten tactics that will help you use social media to drive B2B sales. My Top Ten list also forms the topic list that I’ll be blogging about/hope you will add to it!
- Position your company as a thought leader/team of experts in your field. Invite several of your subject matter experts to create newsletters, blog posts, white papers, discussion board posts, slide decks and/or videos about their knowledge and expertise in your industry. Provide them with policy guidelines and training for creation and have a system for distribution.
- Develop a content strategy to add value to the customer experience. Learn how to leverage your website, blog, and social media sites to present content that your company produces and to share content from others that will be of interest to your customers.
- Learn how to use social media to generate high quality leads. For example, use social media tools to invite members of your target audience to attend a teleconference or webinar and give them high quality, relevant information. When they sign up and attend, you have a warm introduction and a reason to call them.
- Engage your prospects and customers in conversation about their needs and their desires. Social media platforms make it easy to conduct surveys, to ask simple questions, and to comment on your customers’ observations in real time.
- Request and publicize referrals and recommendations through social media. Ask your key employees to request Linked In recommendations from current and past customers, for example, and suddenly you’ll have 10 or 20 or 50 points of view about the quality and capabilities of your team.
- Conduct sales research about prospective companies and their key employees. The networking sites give you unprecedented access to information about people at work. Just keep in mind that your company will ‘get’ only as much as you ‘give,’ so encourage your team to be contributors.
- Build customer loyalty through multiple social media touch points. Wherever you find your customers on the Internet-and wherever they find you-be prepared to engage in a multi-channel conversation.
- Keep up with trends in social media and sales/understand sales 2.0. Lots of small business owners are still hoping it will all go away. But I believe we have hardly begun to tap the potential of the Internet and social media activity for B2B business engagement. The most successful companies will be those that intend to learn and grow with the phenomenon.
- Use your social media resource sites to find industry reports, data, and predictions that will interest your customers. Make great resources easy for them to find through you, and you’ll add great value to their experience.
- Connect with ravens and mavens. Ravens are guides and protectors of the whale hunters; they want you to win big sales. Mavens are passionate knowledge brokers who know what’s what and can advise you on the trends. Subscribe to their blogs, follow them, ‘friend’ them, ‘like’ them. Most of all, allow them to help guide you through the social media territory.
How are you using social media to support B2B sales? I look forward to your comments!