In the age of social selling, ever-extending sales cycles and the non-linear buyer’s journey, finding the right strategy for your sales outreach on social media can be a major challenge. Reaching consumers through social media is challenging enough. Developing a strategy to connect with B2B customers is a different ball game altogether, especially on a tight budget.
Does this mean that social media isn’t a good investment? Absolutely not. It blows cold-calling strategies out of the water. If you’ve ever tried to break through a gatekeeper via phone, you’re familiar with the practice of stonewalling. It can be excruciatingly frustrating to attempt to reach a decision-maker, only to be rebuffed time and again by a stern administrative assistant whose first priority is keeping his or her executive unreachable.
You stand a much better chance of targeting leads through social media. Here is a breakdown of the benefits of using a guerrilla social media marketing strategy.
Alternate Communication Standards on Social
Did you ever watch the movie Wall Street? Then you remember how much trouble the Bud went through to meet Gordon Gecko. He would have had a much better chance if he lived in the age of social media.
Although salespeople used to rely on connections, favors, perseverance or plain dumb luck to get them in the door, social media has levelled the playing field considerably. Everybody has a footprint somewhere – perhaps your target CEO collects cat pics on Instagram or waxes nostalgic on Facebook about 1980s sitcoms.
Thanks to social channels, decision-makers are more within reach today than ever, and the casual and accessible nature of online interaction nearly invites strangers to connect. For example, after tweeting about business challenges, it’s culturally acceptable to engage in a Twitter conversation about those challenges with complete strangers, whereas that same crowd would be hesitant to share their phone numbers or email addresses to a stranger interested in discussing business.
People are entirely less guarded and suspicious on social channels than they are in more formal or traditional communication environments, like networking forums or email. Even on the most formal of the social channels, LinkedIn, people expect to be targeted and pitched from time to time. Behave strategically on LinkedIn, and suddenly, everyone will be accessible.
It is also possible to learn more about decision makers by analyzing their commentary, sentiment, and what they share through their social profiles.
Going Straight to the Top, Carefully
Social channels can open considerable opportunities if you’re game for some social selling. Reaching the right people while making the right impression is critical. Even if you manage to convince an entry-level clerk to include your business in the list of vendors under consideration, his initial recommendation will still need to undergo C-suite vetting.
Instead, cultivating a relationship with the decision-maker (or a high level decision influencer) can reduce the duration of your sales cycle and ultimately increase the chances of successfully landing business.
Guerrilla social media marketing tactics are an excellent option when targeting hard-to-reach executives. But no matter how guerrilla you go, don’t be a spammer. Always offer information of genuine value to whomever you’re attempting to reach, or the first time you reach her will be your last.
Once you’ve created a pitch, demonstration, white paper or article of real interest and value to your target contact, here’s how to get through to her.
How to Harness the Power of LinkedIn
Although rifling through recipes on Pinterest might be more attractive, don’t be so quick to back away from the most powerful B2B social tool available: LinkedIn. Social Media Examiner’s 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that, for B2B marketers, LinkedIn’s usefulness is second only to Facebook.
Even once you’ve identified your ideal target, you may find that this person is unresponsive. The best way to circumvent inaccessibility is to identify the advisors who surround your target. LinkedIn makes this process easy.
First, find the skills section on your target’s profile. Scroll past her posts, background and experience, but stop before you reach her recommendations. You will find a list of skills like this:
The skill section’s purpose is not only to illustrate your core competencies; rather, it’s to get other respected LinkedIn members to endorse you for them, ultimately lending more weight to your claim of expertise.
The second step is to identify common contacts who have endorsed your target for her skills. Next, whittle down that list to include only those who are employed at her company. Bingo: you’ve likely identified those in close touch with her. These are her advisors, otherwise known as her decision influencers. Finally, make sure you follow these advisors on LinkedIn – without sending connect requests just yet – in order to monitor their activity.
In order to supercharge these efforts, you can simultaneously utilize a strategic app like Leedfeeder, which will provide you with intelligence about your website’s visitors including the companies they work for and the pages they visit. Call it intel, but it’s smart intel because it integrates directly with LinkedIn, Google Analytics and your CRM.
First, the app’s dashboard will tell you exactly who has recently visited your website, read your blog or hovered around your product descriptions. It will automatically show you the LinkedIn profiles of your top leads.
Armed with that information, the next step is to determine those who are viable targets for your business. Then, connect with each one via LinkedIn to attempt to establish a professional relationship. Finally, ramp up your other guerrilla social media marketing tactics concurrently, including following and retweeting those you are targeting on Twitter, favoriting some of their content, and joining conversations they initiate.
Every Move They Make
Now that LinkedIn has helped you establish not only the decision maker but also the decision influencers who surround her, you need to gather as much information as you possibly can about this suite of people.
Both these tools will provide information about every possible acknowledgment of the person, their company or brand.
Social Media is the Perfect Channel to Reach B2B Leads
Social media lets you get around a lot of the annoying red tape that otherwise gets in the way with reaching B2B leads. You just need a thoughtful strategy and the right tools at your disposal.
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