Every day there are new B2B opportunities waiting for you on Twitter, LinkedIn and the other social media channels. Whether you turn these moments of opportunity into high-quality leads is up to you.
Many marketers recognize Twitter’s usefulness for engagement and brand awareness. But when you listen to what others are saying on Twitter (and successful sales people have known this for years), you can really begin to harness the platform’s full potential for lead generation.
B2B marketers who use Twitter generate twice as many leads as those who don’t.
–Social Media Today, 2014
Act-On’s Brad Osterhout is a long-term member of the company’s sales team, as well as a veteran using Twitter to search for and identify relevant conversations being had. Through listening, he finds he can easily chime in and interject the brand into the discovery process, and ultimately win more deals.
Using Act-On’s Social Media Prospector tool, he recently won a sale with the Dallas Mavericks. Watch the video below to hear how he did it.
It’s a strategy he believes other companies can replicate.
“I think a lot of our customers could be using the Act-On Prospector to be able to identify and uncover opportunities,” he said.
For example, he said, when an executive tweets that she just landed a job at a new company, that’s a perfect time to engage with her to congratulate her on the new job, have a conversation about your product, and maybe talk with her about any challenges she foresees that she is looking to overcome.
He said it’s exciting “to be very timely and be able to offer a solution to someone who is tweeting in real time. And reaching out to those people to talk about their needs and what they’re looking to accomplish and seeing if your product can align to that.”
“Some of my best sales have begun with conversations that started on Twitter,” he said.
For the Mavericks, the NBA team’s email marketing specialist had tweeted out a question asking if anyone had experience with marketing automation. Brad then reached out and started a conversation.
Brad had set filters within Act-On’s Twitter Prospector to track tweets with those keywords. Other Twitter tools also offer such filtering and keyword alerts. Keywords could include your company name, your competitors’ names, and specific phrases unique to your business or your location (for example, “warehouse services in Pittsburgh”).
Fully 100% of business decision-makers use social media for work purposes.
In addition to using the Twitter Prospector or a similar tool for lead prospecting, marketers and sales teams should listen to what others are saying about your company or product, what they are saying about the competition, why they may leaving or coming to your company, and why they may be leaving or signing on with the competition.
The conversation you have shouldn’t be too much of a pitch about your business.
Brad said he is not a social media expert. And he said, this strategy is not unique to him. “You’re getting a lot of sales people now adopting social media strategies and social sales. I really compare it to the gold rush in 1849,” he said.
One percent of the time a person may get upset about being contacted. “I think if the conversation is out there, it definitely warrants follow up,” Brad said.
“There’s nothing better than calling an executive on the phone and when you encounter the gatekeeper, saying you are following up on a tweet,” he said.
Want to increase your own odds of success with social? Here are the five steps to getting started, and how Brad used them:
The five steps to social selling
- Look for people who have common interests or problems you understand.
- You are not selling at this stage, just connecting and building a network.
Brittani’s original tweet contained keywords that alerted Brad to this conversation, and he connected.
- First, understand your existing buyers and know why they buy from you.
- Next, look for prospects who align with some aspect of your best buyers.
- When you find a company that fits the profile of your best buyers, identify two decision makers, a middle manager, and a few non-decision makers on LinkedIn and Twitter. Decisions are increasingly made by groups, and you want to identify both decision-makers and potential influencers inside your target prospect.
- Do a little research. Find something you have in common and use that, or refer to how you found them, to establish a valid reason for trying to connect.
Because the Twitter Prospector identified the opportunity, it did the prospecting for
As companies and prospects in your social funnel are communicating, you will be listening and soaking it all in. This will help you learn what’s important, through their company and personal, professional communications.
Brad understood the Mavericks’ need, through listening.
After connecting with the right prospects and initiating the listening process, you can begin to engage. Start commenting and adding value to their social media posts across various channels.
Be genuine as you engage and give your honest feedback. Don’t just proffer insincere flattery; you’ll lose the potential for honest conversation moving forward.
Brad saw the opportunity to use relevant content to engage.
- Add Value
At this point, it’s time to start contributing to the relationship by educating people who are looking for answers. You’ve figured out what’s important to them and you’ve started to get noticed. This is where you start demonstrating the value that you can add to the relationship. Start sharing your content and be strategic about it. If you’ve done your due diligence in the listening phase, then it won’t be that hard to post content that you know they will find valuable.
And this is where the conversation got serious about what the Mavericks needed and what Act-On could do. Preparation met opportunity, and the payoff was better email communications for the Mavericks, and a great new customer for Act-On.