B2B Marketing

3 Ways To Use Social Media For Better B2B Sales & Lead Generation

Painless Prospecting for Sales

I’m convinced that 2014-15 will be the year we’ll finally see companies looking seriously at social media as a B2B sales tool. I’m seeing increased interest in and requests for our social sales training and I’m seeing a lot more social selling questions posted in my social media streams. So today, let’s start with the basics of how you can use social media networks in your sales prospecting process.

Establish Your Brand as an Expert

Social Media platforms make it really easy to create and publish content on topics your sales prospects are interested in learning more about. You can create content on a blog and then share it over social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ to begin linking your brand to that content.

You can repurpose content, such as sales or conference presentations, on sites like Slideshare to further link your brand to the relevant topic in a way that suggests expertise.

Or if you don’t have much time, you can simply curate relevant content and share it across social platforms. The mere act of sharing the content will associate it with your brand and begin to create the appearance of expertise or at a minimum, well informed knowledge leader.

Over the years I’ve found it takes about 9 months of focused creation, curation and sharing to fully establish yourself as a thought leader or expert on a chosen topic.

Recommended for YouWebcast: Sales and Marketing Alignment: 7 Steps To Implement Effective Sales Enablement

Identify and Profile Qualified Sales Leads

Twitter is the best social media platform for identification and qualification profiling. Not only can you search by keywords (within tweets) but you can also search Twitter profiles for keywords and/or titles. Both of these searches will usually result in a list of possible leads.

LinkedIn is also a great tool for this kind of search and profile work. I find Facebook isn’t nearly as good due to it’s default setting of Private and most folks have figured out how to properly set their public Facebook profile so that it shows only the bare minimum of information.

Nurture Leads

Once you’ve identified those targeted leads, create a Twitter List and load it into a product like Hootsuite to make it easy to follow all the Twitter activity generated by members of the list. Then look for opportunities to engage. In some cases those opportunities may be of a professional nature but in others, it might be as simple as talking about the weather.

If you want to step your lead nurturing up a notch, sign up for a service like Nimble. Like Hootsuite, you can load in Twitter Lists and use the platform to track and engage in conversations.

Nimble is also a lightweight Social CRM tool that makes it really easy to see all of your sales prospects’ social media chatter in one screen. You can also tell the software to remind you to reach out to your leads on a predetermined schedule – weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.

NOTE: as of the writing of this post, that feature seems to be glitching. It still reminds you but for some reason the reminders aren’t clearing themselves when you do reach out and touch that prospect. This starts to devalue the feature because you have to manually remember who you did and didn’t touch.

The software will track all of the places you can touch that lead — on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or even via email. That feature combined with Deal Tracking (where you can create and monitor sales opportunities you’re working) makes this a wonderful and inexpensive alternative to SalesForce.com for sales and marketing folks that just need a basic CRM tool to make lead nurturing easier.

Learn How To Leverage Social Selling To Close More Business

Here’s two additional resources you might want to check out — BOTH FREE:

Click Here to Download my 2013 MarketingProfs B2B Forum Presentation where I explain in detail how social media, email and web content work together to make sales prospecting painless.

Click Here to Download a FREE chapter of my new book, The Invisible Sale.

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 8

  • Great read, Tom! I, too, think social selling will be talked about a lot this year and going into the future. I have heard about Nimble, but taking a deeper look into that now as it sounds like something I could use and be very valuable. Thanks for the reminder :)

    • Thanks Adam. Yes… do go take a look. I had looked at it some time ago and wasn’t blown away. Then a friend suggested I revisit it and other than the little glitch I mentioned above, been quite happy with it.

    • Hi Adam and Tom,

      We identified a bug in Nimble with the Stay in Touch reminder and we expect to have it fixed by the end of this week.

      If you email care@nimble.com and mention this issue, I’ll make sure you receive notice when it’s fixed.


      Joseph Kelly

      Customer Experience Lead – Nimble

  • Tom, thanks for including Nimble in your article. We certainly believe we enhance social selling, and hope your readers will come and give us a try!

    • Alyson,

      I’m sure they will… and Joseph, thanks for the update. Looking forward to seeing that glitch fixed… so far about the only thing I’ve found to complain about ;-)

      – Tom

  • Tom, great article. Love the ideas about nurturing leads and using software to connect, engage, and optimize in the vast social landscape. My company PeopleLinx ( http://www.PeopleLinx.com ) has a software which is well aligned with the topics you are touching on. We have found a way to maximize, mobilize and measure the real ROI of social and train employees at enterprise scale.

    Like you said, it’s becoming the wave of the future in social business.


  • There is a new vendor that built a Saas based system called Mega Tracker. This is like the Caller-ID for your website. The system identifies businesses on your website and then it cross references the company back to its business lead lists databases. The tool also provides the ability to use social media like LinkedIn to explore employees at the company level.
    We are trying there free trial now.


  • Great post! I think that twitter is one of the best ways to market your brand. With the character limit, businesses and marketers can get right to the point on what they are promoting, while using relevant hash tags. As you said, Nimble plays an important role as a business software. I have also an idea of one business software company(http://www.manageyourleads.com/), which provides the lead generation of your business.

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