I was recently invited by the leading global media intelligence company Cision to provide my input as to how listening to social conversations can lead to business. Together with some household names in social media marketing who also contributed different perspectives on the different use case scenarios for social listening, the result is a Slideshare, ebook, and webinar that I will be participating on this week. You can find out more about these in greater detail at the end of this blog post. Before that is a preview of my contribution on how to generate leads from social conversations.
While a lot of Social Selling programs rely on sales teams to share content and contribute to conversations, savvy Inside Sales teams have always been listening and looking for hints in social conversations that can potentially generate leads. If your organization hasn’t been doing so, you miss out on a lot of potential that social media can provide your business,
An easy way to think of the potential for lead generation through listening is the classic case study of how one tweet led to a $250,000 deal for Avaya. Not every tweet listened to will generate leads for your business, but there are a lot of people saying a lot of things out there in social media, so you would be foolish not to have a listening strategy in place to take advantage of the potential.
Social Conversations Aren’t So Random
There are many who still feel that social media is full of personal conversations that have no impact on business. In 2015, we live in a world where people of all demographics share a variety of information with their social followers, from asking questions as to what restaurant they should go to with their friends to inquiring about the benefits of one software package over another in Facebook Groups.
The truth is, while it is impossible to be able to listen to every conversation in social media, there are plenty enough available for public consumption – and they just might provide a goldmine of new leads to your company over time.
Some Social Networks are Easier to Eavesdrop on Than Others
Understanding the importance of listening for lead generation is only the beginning: You now need to understand that you cannot listen equally on all social networks because they are all built differently with varying degrees of privacy. To illustrate this point, I like to divide social networks into two different categories: Profile-Specific Networks and User-Account Networks. The User Account Networks best represented by Twitter are not only more “listenable,” but they also provide companies the ability to engage as people do without the limitations that Facebook and LinkedIn have.
The Key to Establishing Relationships with Potential Customers: Sending Social Signals
You’ve listened and found potential lead-generation conversations or profiles that might lead to new business. Now what do you do?
I’ll go into Social Signals on the actual webinar, but companies have many different options in which they can engage with social media users to “cross the chasm” between listening discovery and pipeline generation.
Social Selling: New Tools, Old Rules
I began this post talking about the roll of Inside Sales teams finding these conversations, and now we are starting to use these conversations as an engagement starter through the sending of social signals. This is where companies need to be a little cautious so as not to engage the wrong way. As I like to say, social selling is about new tools, but the old rules of sales still exist and are more important than any. Regardless of where the lead was developed, at some point it must fall into the general sales pipeline and be managed like any other lead.
Conclusion: Creating a Social Selling System
In order to truly leverage the potential for listening in a wave of billions of conversations generated by hundreds of millions of social media users, some sort of a system needs to be in place. A true social selling system would also encompass the distribution of content and integration with a CRM, but from a listening perspective, your social selling system would include the essential components of People, Process, Paid Social, and Tools.
Being the co-founder of the Social Tools Summit, you can imagine why I naturally emphasize the importance of Tools in your listening strategy. You simply cannot scale to meet the needs of any listening strategy without investing in the right tools.
Listening is often confused with just being important for reputation management. Listening is equally as important for deriving intelligence from conversations that can generate leads. Listening can also help your companies in many other ways. Find out how by reading the Slideshare (shown below), downloading the ebook, featuring contributions from some of the greats in social media marketing in Jay Baer, Jeff Bullas, Mark Schaefer, and Scott Stratten, by clicking here. You can also check out this Slideshare preview below!
Does your company implement a listening strategy for lead generation?