How To Integrate Social Media With Teleprospecting
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- Published in Demanding Views
By Peter Gracey, Co-Founder and COO of AG Salesworks
There is no denying that social media cannot be ignored as a tool for teleprospectors. In fact, in the ten years we've been supporting B2B marketers at AG Salesworks, no technology/platform has shaken up the traditional way of doing things more.
I'm not in the "social selling" camp that believes the entire qualification process can be conducted via social media without ever speaking live with a prospect. I am, however, a huge proponent of using the top tier social media tools like LinkedIn and Twitter to prepare for each outbound call.
Different sites can help you in different ways as a teleprospector. I conducted an informal survey of our team and asked them to rank the top social media sites in terms of both their pre-call and post-call usefulness. Below is AG Salesworks ranking of the most popular social media sites for teleprospecting.
Without a doubt, LinkedIn is one of our team's best social media friends. LinkedIn takes the top spot in terms of pre-call planning because of one simple thing – the data. You can open a prospect’s LinkedIn profile and accomplish so much. Validate that they are a living human. Validate that they actually do have a job and it is at the company you are targeting. If possible, you can even get some professional history in your arsenal before you make a call. You can research other contacts at that company as well. There is a chance that none of this matters on the call you have, but I know from experience that the confidence gained by "knowing" something about the person you are calling beyond their phone number goes a long way towards having a great conversation. LinkedIn is also #1in post-call usefulness for several reasons. If a call goes well, our reps are encouraged to connect via LinkedIn with that prospect. This expands their own professional network which is never a bad thing and also ensures that they stay in tune with any future career moves the prospect may have. There is no law against passing someone again if they move to a new job at a different company.
Our reps seem to like Twitter for following prospects. However, there was a general consensus that many prospects use Twitter as more of a personal communication platform. This means that much of the information sent out by prospects won't really add value to a teleprospector’s call as it's too intimate for that initial conversation. Twitter has more than just individual representation though, and there are a lot of positive feelings around following corporate Twitter feeds to monitor news at target corporations. Overall, I believe Twitter to be a tool that is best used by the sales person that is in process with a prospect and not a teleprospector. Not everyone agrees, so try it out for yourself and see what works best.
It was a general consensus that Facebook adds no real value to a teleprospectors pre- and post-call planning. Most indicated that they'd check out a prospect’s Facebook profile after a conversation to put a face with the name or, in the case of a call that goes badly, they go on Facebook to hopefully find that prospect is unfortunate looking or has very few friends. Either way, it seems to be used as an afterthought in the pre- and post-call process. The fact that it is used at all is what placed it at #3 on the list...which brings me to…
Sadly, my favorite social media platform has no traction with my team. The most common response to my inquiries was "I'm not on that" or "I don't use it" or "what?"
I am a believer in G+ as I find it a combination of all of the positive things mentioned about the top 3. Unfortunately, the user base isn't active enough or large enough for our prospects to begin popping up. We'll revisit in a year's time and my guess is that they'll have moved up the list.
As teleprospectors, we have a number of tools at our disposal that allow us to generate, follow-up, and qualify our leads. Social media can sometimes be overlooked, but when used correctly, can be immensely useful in the pre- and post-call stages of lead generation.
Peter Gracey, is the Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder of AG Salesworks. He started the company in 2002 with his business partner, Paul Alves, with a goal of providing technology companies with high quality and fully qualified sales leads. In his current position, Pete oversees the daily operations of AG Salesworks, which includes client engagement, personnel management, business strategy, across-the-board data analysis and long-term strategic planning. He is a prolific blogger who posts frequently to the company’s web site, and also contributes online video presentations.