On December 2nd, 2009 ZoomInfo published a blog post discussing the value of Twitter as a sales tool. Seven years later, sales professionals are still debating the merits of social selling. Is Twitter a waste of time, or is it an indispensable part of the B2B sales stack? We say, it all depends on how you use it.
The Trouble with Twitter as a Sales Tool
Most sales tools offer immediate, tangible results- someone signs up for a demo, buys a product, or responds positively to your latest sales pitch. With Twitter—and social media in general—the results aren’t always so obvious or rewarding.
As a B2B sales rep, it’s not likely that you’re going to sell something with a single tweet. Nor should you be trying to. If you treat a prospect’s Twitter handle the same way you would treat a direct dial, the conversation is going to be very short (read: nonexistent).
Instead, sales professionals should use Twitter to build and maintain relationships, monitor industry conversations, and get in front of more prospects. This requires a much softer approach.
The Current State of Sales and Twitter
Unfortunately, a 2015 PeopleLinx survey indicates that sales reps are lost when it comes to social selling. Here are some important highlights:
- 73% of surveyed B2B sales reps consider social media a valuable selling tool.
- Only 31% reported actually using social media in their day-to-day sales process.
- And only one in four sales professionals felt they actually knew how to use social media for selling.
If you’ve never used Twitter for sales or maybe you’ve tried with little success, don’t give up just yet. We’ve put together the following tips to get you started:
Set yourself up for success.
Be intentional when you set up your Twitter profile—it’s essentially your business card. Choose a professional headshot and use it across all of your social media accounts so that people can easily recognize you.
Use your biography to tell people who you are, what you do and where to reach you. Lastly, make your profile public so that other users can find you. If you already have a Twitter account, take a quick scroll through your feed.
Are your past tweets professional? Are they on brand? Would you want potential prospects and customers seeing them? If the answer is no, consider deleting them and starting fresh. Or, make your personal profile private and create a brand new professional profile.
Social media is all about networking. Find and connect with the profiles who are contributing meaningful content in your field or industry. Follow sales influencers, coworkers, customers, and prospects. Make sure your feed is going to be filled with relevant messages that will be easy to engage with.
Listen before tweeting.
Follow the conversations happening in your Twitter feed. Is a prospect complaining about a problem you can fix? Have you seen breaking news that affects your target audience? Are customers bad mouthing your product or company?
As a B2B sales rep, these are all great opportunities to make a good impression, provide a solution, or join in on important conversations.
When it comes time to tweet, avoid your natural instinct to start selling. If the majority of your tweets read like a sales pitch, you’re going to lose followers. Be authentic, helpful, and engaging.
Retweet interesting articles, favorite good news, and respond when people ask questions. In turn, people will be more likely to engage with your tweets. The more profiles engage with you, the more eyes will see your content.
Eventually, if done right, the conversation will come to you. A prospect will ask a question, complain about a problem, or even mention your company or products—this is when you can start selling.
You should be checking your feed and tweeting every day. Consistency is key to gaining followers and generating conversations that result in sales. Although it may be tempting to abandon your profile after a few weeks, it’s important that you don’t.