Getting more response from sales prospects. It’s what we need. LinkedIn is helpful for lead identification and qualification but getting response from decision makers (on the approach) remains difficult. Using LinkedIn for sales leads can be tough.
“Warming up” prospects using social media is a must and can be a game changer. By combining lead targeting with a practical listening system, you (or your team) will increase email and voice mail response rates by becoming super-relevant. Here are quick tips on making it happen for you.
Streams of Insights
Are you taking advantage of the “streams of insight” your prospects are putting out onto social platforms? You should be. These are the ways to breakthrough to grab the attention of prospects and hold it. These are ways to figure out what matters to prospects in real time.
Every day, prospects are telegraphing their fears, frustrations, ambitions, hopes and goals on these platforms. Probably a lot like you do!
Last year, I profiled how business process outsourcing provider, ADP is netting leads with Twitter and LinkedIn. I’ve also profiled sales rep Ed Worthington, who’s figured out how to get copier sales leads. Each of these success stories has a common theme: Avoiding “going in cold.”
Let’s return to that example and vividly examine how you can get moving on “going in warm” (if not hot) with new prospects.
It all starts with using LinkedIn for sales leads in combination with a practical listening element.
Step 1: Include Listening in Qualification Research
When organizing your research on a given prospect be sure to include a “listening” field in your contact management system. This will allow you to keep things like Twitter handles, LinkedIn groups (that your prospect participates in), Google+ profiles and other “social streams of insight” in one place.
Be sure to take advantage of “streams of insight” where your prospects are telegraphing their fears, frustrations, ambitions, hopes and goals. This includes LinkedIn updates and Groups they participate in. These are the places where prospects signal opportunities to savvy sales reps.
So, when organizing your research on prospects, be sure to include a list of their social streams.
Step 2: Monitor the Streams
I know, I know. No kidding, Molander. Well, are you doing it? Are you using free tools like Hootsuite, Google Alerts, TweetDeck, Twitter search or any number of others? Take advantage of the organizational power of these tools by setting up a group (or Twitter uses “lists”) within your current set-up. Monitor your prospects. Call your grouping “Prospect streams.” Do it today!
Step 3: Listen for Demand
Many of us listen on social media for vanity purposes or to monitor discussions about a topic. Yet we can also listen for demand for our products and services. Are you?
Are you using Twitter search to discover prospects using phrases like “recommend a new supplier” or “switch to a new _____ provider” (prospects asking their network for a recommendation) … or “I need a new ____.”
These kinds of tactics sound obvious and they are. Are you (or your team) monitoring for these kinds of expressions among known and unknown prospects? Are you listening for near and long-term demand in social streams?
I monitor my active prospects across Twitter, LinkedIn, personal and professional blogs and Google+ streams.
Where to Start: Knowing What to Listen For
In most cases sellers already know what to be listening for. Good sellers know how customers express themselves on issues related to what they sell. The rest is simply organizing a listening approach and methodically “checking in” with the streams you’ve put in place—monitoring for insightful, actionable thoughts or expressions.
Start by writing down all the ways you already know customers express themselves. Think in terms of how they express thoughts and feelings about how they buy, consume, use, re-purchase or upgrade from what you sell. Think in terms of sound bytes or keyword phrases.
Then get to work being patient. In most cases it takes time to find the diamonds in the rough. Be diligent and patient as you continue to mine prospects’ social streams.