Industrial Prospecting With Social Media

Skill and persistence have always been hallmark traits of great sales people, but these characteristics were never enough to efficiently find qualified prospects. Timing, serendipity, and luck play a huge role in developing new business and also explains why prospecting is a numbers game. You need to connect with a huge number of companies before finding a potential buyer who acknowledges a problem that s/he is motivated to solve with your type of product. This “needle in the haystack” reality has been one of the major reasons why most manufacturers and distributors focus on existing business rather than finding new business – until now.
By adding Social Media to your existing sales efforts more qualified candidates can be identified faster, with less effort.

Social media is any site that provides a network of people with a place to make connections. When it comes to prospecting, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter could be used in a workflow to accelerate sales with efficiency and effectiveness.

Social Media efforts closely align with conventional sales milestones, so interconnecting both should feel natural and complimentary to each other, as illustrated below.

  • Research.  Identify the ideal prospect by title, function, responsibilities, company size, industry, geographic location and years of experience. This information would be used to create an initial list of candidates for your product and an ongoing batch of new leads tailored to your customized criteria.
  • Analyze. Examine information about individual prospects by job descriptions, work history, education, personal information from colleagues and co-workers, affiliations to groups, and business interests. This is the type of insight used as icebreakers or anchor points in conversations.
  • Monitor. Keep up with individual prospects and companies through automated alerts that notify you of sales triggers such as job changes, upcoming trade show attendance, new initiatives, industry trends and other relevant information.
  • Connect. There are a number of ways to connect with contacts, such as responding to their posts; commenting in group conversations; requesting an introduction by others; directly asking to connect, or sending a message. While the aforementioned is done online, you can also connect by phone, email, or postal mail.
  • Nurture. After an initial point of contact, you could build a relationship over time with information your prospect values. Retweet, share articles of interest, send links to content you create, request their perspective and continually engage to maintain momentum.

With intelligence garnered from Social Media you can locate prospects more quickly and with greater precision, elevate your exposure and gain unprecedented access, for meaningful conversations with purpose and focus so that you can sell socially to acquaintances you have some familiarity with, opposed to complete strangers.