“Social networks are an exciting development for sales reps,” stated an article in the latest issue of Harvard Business Review. The piece continued, “With a little managerial discipline, all that clicking, following, and sharing will win more business.” Below are facts and findings from the HBR article:
- Customers are on social media. 55% of buyers turn to social media when they are searching for information. Social Networking Sites create a “peer-to-peer environment (that) holds more promise for candid referrals.” Social Networking Sites include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
- Good for prospecting. HBR‘s survey of salespeople indicated that potential consumers were quite responsive to short messages sent via social media.
- Qualifying leads. Sales staff can follow companies to learn about those developments which offer opportunity. Sales reps can bypass gate-keeping administrative assistants and communicate directly. Qualifying questions can be answered via online research and direct messages.
- Relationship management. Social media provides a non-intrusive avenue of communication. Because the prospect has opted to accept your connection request, they have given you permission to show them product information via posts. HBR says “norms of reciprocity in social networks are well established by now; following someone and engaging with their content…often generates a follow in return.”
- Minimal risk, high reward. Guidelines should be formed to control what employees can say online. Basic training should be offered. But, according to the Harvard Business Review, “the biggest risk of all, now that your competitors are all linking, sharing, and tweeting, is to sit on the sidelines and leave social selling to your competitors.”
Article Source: “Tweet Me, Friend Me, Make Me Buy”, Barbara Giamanco and Kent Gregoire, Harvard Business Review, July/Aug 2012, p88-93
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