Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Salespeople can use Social Networking and Social Media tools in business

In the last post, I mentioned that there is a 4 step process that you need to develop in order to optimize your PERMISSION based sales attraction strategy. Here is a brief overview of the steps:

Step I, is to develop your own professional network as a salesperson. It is very important that you review your contacts carefully, and input only your vetted, first level contacts. This is also a great opportunity to re-establish your business relationships. Here are some sites that I would highly recommend to use to build your professional sales network.
They are:

Step 2, is to develop your professional “Brand” as a salesperson. This represents how your buyers perceive your value to them. The purpose here is to demonstrate your expertise, and provide interesting relevant content “OF VALUE” to your customers. Join groups and associations in your industry. Provide relevant feedback from your discussion posts. You can also build your own website, with content relevant to what the buyers are interested in, or link to a company provided landing page, on their website. Here are some sites to use: (Use your profile,as your reputation and “Branding” as a salesperson) (Join groups, to expand your reach, demographics, and markets, etc.)

Step 3, is to use sales social networking sites to expand your business network. Here are some suggestions that are useful Social Networking sites for salespeople. They provide a whole host of resources such as; Sales Blogs, Supplier Lists, Podcasts, Research, Whitepapers, Business Connections, Lead Exchange Tracking, VARs(Reseller Channels), and “C” Level Executive Projects and Partnering.
They are as follows:

Sales sites to review:

Step 4, provides a way to continually leverage effective multiple touch points, using Social Media tools, to interact with your buyer community. It is important to create a following of buyers, who will purchase your product or services. You need a way to influence these people to follow you. This is where Sales Blogs, VideoBlogs, Audio Podcasts, and Microblogs can help gain you visibility. Here are some sites that I recommend:

Microblogs: PC to PC, and mobile devices (They follow you, or you follow them)

For Blogging:

For posting your sales content: Videos Pictures Multimedia

For event scheduling:

For Online meetings:

You also need a way to search for the sites that your Buyers are visiting, and find out what they are interested in. You also need to evaluate what your competition is doing. Social Media tools like, RSS feeds and readers (Google Reader), tagging of relevant information, and relevant search methods (Google Alerts), can be used to research your client base. There are also many types of aggregators that are newly emerging, that are designed to attract information to you, based on your specific interests. Some of the recommended sites are:


I hope this helps.

Social Networking for Salespeople

Finally, there has been a complete paradigm shift in the way salespeople need to interact with BUYERS, and each other! This shift has been created due to Social Networking.

Do you ever wonder why the old “Sales 1.0” strategy is not working, and?
- You are always getting their voicemail when you call.
- Nobody is responding to your unsolicited emails.
- Cold calling for appointments keeps getting harder for you to do.
- Nobody is responding to your direct mail.
- Qualified Decision-makers are not visiting your trade show booth, in person.
- Your in-person visits keep getting rescheduled.

The reason is because buyers don’t like INTERUPT based interactions from salespeople.
Technology put an end to this strategy, by developing Anti-Spam filters, phantom voicemail boxes, follow me tagging, ring tones, pop-up blockers and other techniques. Consumer legislation put an end to it, with “DNC” lists, and “opt out” email requests.

Today, in this “Sales 2.0” world, the buyers want PERMISSION based interactions with salespeople, driven by their buyer-centric desires. The buyer dictates:

- When they want to be communicated with
- Where they like to communicate.
- What are they interested in communicating about , and
- How do your communications provide REAL VALUE to them.

Todays buyers don’t want face to face, sit down meetings. They prefer online meetings and webinars in order to SAVE TIME. They want to be an educated and fully informed buyer, and this they perceive as “REAL VALUE”. Finally they want their communications to be “respectful” in nature, and “genuine” in intent. Transparency and Truthfulness is everything. Taken together, this builds a trusted relationship.

A successful salesperson in this Social Networking environment needs to design their own PERMISSION based attraction strategy, to interact with their potential client base.
Their strategy should leverage multiple touch points; such as Social Networking sites, Sales Blogs, VideoBlogs, Audio Podcasts, Microblogs, Social CRM tools, Media sharing, SEO/SEM on your personal websites, “Web 2.0” exchange apps, RSS feeds, and tagging of relevant information, and relevant search methods (like Google alerts), to interact with their client base.

I believe that there is a 4 step process that you need to develop in order to optimize your PERMISSION based sales attraction strategy. The 4 steps that you need to develop are to:1)Develop your own on-line network presence; 2)Develop your personal on-line “Brand” or reputation in your industry; 3) Use Sales Social Networking sites to connect and expand your business reach; and 4)Continually leverage effective multiple touch point Social Media tools, to interact with your end user community .

It is also important along the way to develop a direct accountability relationship with your company’s marketing team. Hopefully their inbound and outbound marketing strategy is in congruence with your personal PERMISSION based sales attraction strategy. Ideally they will be optimized to leverage each other.