A study from Forrester Research shows that buyers are frequently up to 90% through the process of considering a purchase before they actually get in touch with the vendor. Customers are doing their research about you before they even think about contacting you, and you should do the same. Learning as much as possible about potential buyers during your prospecting phase will make it easier to build a relationship with them and give them the info they need at every stage of your sales pipeline, and Twitter is a great place to start.
Twitter offers two incredible benefits to salespeople:
- Easy, personalized communication with customers and their communities
- A fire hose of free data about those individuals and communities
The first step is actually finding and connecting with potential customers. Twitter offers a few great tools for finding individuals within your target market:
1. Keyword Searches: Twitter’s search bar allows you to search for Tweets containing specific keywords. You don’t have to do this manually though. In a blog post on Baseline, online marketing expert Susan Payton describes her system of using HootSuite feeds seeded with relevant search terms such as “software” and “small business” to find people who are discussing the types of products she sells.
2. Hashtags: Many of the hashtags used on Twitter are basically empty chatter, but there are plenty that are used by professionals to engage in real dialogue as well. Finding a hashtag that is frequently used by your target market can open a door into that community for you and your brand. For example, many sales professionals use the #SocialSelling hashtag to engage in robust conversation about how social media affects their sales process.
3. Lists: If you start to follow a lot of people, it can start to get overwhelming. It’s helpful to build out Twitter lists to group similar people who you want to keep track of. If your target market is tech company CMO’s for example, curate a list of just tech company CMO’s. You can keep the list private and check in daily with what they’re saying.
Once you find the users and communities on Twitter that might turn into customers for your brand, you can start participating in their conversations. A few well-placed Tweets with useful information for your target audience can position a salesperson or company as a thought leader in their industry, which will translate directly into inbound sales leads. Look for people who are asking the questions your business knows how to answer. That level of authentic engagement is the key to successful sales prospecting on Twitter.
Russ Fradin, the CEO of Dynamic Signal, writes that “…the networking potential and the ability to understand a prospective customer’s pain points is where much of the value lies in social media as a sales tool.”
Once you’re following the conversation and contributing regularly, start looking out for people who need what you’re selling. People often post to their social media profiles asking for recommendations for a particular product type, software, or business solution. The Hootsuite Blog highlights research from Vision Critical that proves social media engagement influences purchasing decisions. Customers turn to Twitter to research the products they need, and you can be there to help them.
When you are truly engaged with your target market on Twitter, you will be able to regularly identify potential customers. You can then gather other information about them and keep track of it in your chosen CRM system.
The final step in using Twitter as a sales prospecting tool is to actually reach out and initiate a direct conversation with a potential buyer. If you follow each other, you can send a direct message letting them know you are interested in working with them.
Relationships are at the core of social selling. Cold calling scripts have no place on Twitter. Learning about your potential customers by paying attention and figuring out how to help them resolve their pain points are the only ways to take prospects you gain from Twitter, and bring them all the way through your sales pipeline.
At Base for example, our marketing team uses Hubspot’s social media tool to create a custom stream of “Twitter Prospects.” With this tool, you can set keywords that a potential customer might be searching for where your product or service is a good fit. For example, we added “best CRM solution”, “looking for a CRM” and “CRM recommendations” to our list. We’re then alerted any time someone Tweets our key phrases so that we have an opportunity to chime in to the conversation.
- Use Twitter to build relationships with your prospects and customers.
- Utilize social media tools like Hubspot to monitor conversations about your brand, product or service offering.
Download the complete ebook > How To Build Your Sales Pipeline Faster Using Social Media
To learn more about how to build your sales pipeline faster using social media, download the entire ebook.
In this 20-page ebook we’ll discuss:
- How to build a robust sales pipeline using Base
- How to use LinkedIn as a prospecting tool
- How to use Twitter as a prospecting tool
- The importance of building recommendations through social media
- How to make social media and your sales pipeline work together
This article originally appeared on the Baseline blog.