Coaching your team on balancing prospecting behaviors: social media vs. traditional prospecting

When you direct your sales team to go prospect, what do you tell them to do? Cold calls, walk-ins, email, snail mail, buy ad space, free talks, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc)? Do you have a prospecting plan for your team? Do you have an automated prospecting system that populates your CRM? If yes, you more than likely have a sophisticated marketing system that warms the leads up and then tells you when to call. This blog is not for you.

All the rage these days is social media. My company uses both Facebook and LinkedIn. Five years ago, these were not recommended tools. Today, it is very different. Sales folks think these two sites are the silver bullets of prospecting. And, for some business, it just might be the brass ring. The question is, “How do you use them and does it work?”

Let’s look at LinkedIn as an example, this is a professional online networking site with 200 million-plus members that allows your salespeople to be seen and let’s them see potential prospects. LinkedIn will allow your salespeople to search for prospects and connect with them without knowing an email address or phone number. And, in the same manner, your salespeople can be found through very simple LinkedIn search engines. You can get updates on current clients and prospects as well as join LinkedIn groups that can give insights on industry best practices.

Facebook is to the B2C folks as LinkedIn is to the B2B world. The search options are not as robust, but you can still search.

Here is a primer I found on the Internet for social media: Twitter – I am eating a cake; Facebook – I like eating a cake; YouTube – This is how I eat my cake; LinkedIn – My skills include eating a cake; Instagram – Here’s a classic pic of the cake I eat; Blog – Here’s my cake eating experience; Pinterest – Here’s my recipe for the cake; and Four Square – This is where I am eating the cake.

Dave Harman is an associate with Sandler Training. He has over 30 years’ experience in sales and sales management with Fortune 500 companies as well as small, family-owned organizations. He has held positions from sales to senior management with companies such as Conoco/Vista, Amresco and Ohio Awning, and owns his own business. He earned his MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. You can reach him at [email protected] or (888) 448-2030.