Is it even possible to leverage Twitter as part of your IT sales strategy? Yes it is! You can integrate Twitter into your sales strategy, but be cautious.
Twitter is not like having an e-mail list. You don’t have permission to send out a constant stream of sales pitches. In fact, you don’t even have permission to do that with your e-mail list, either.
So, as a small- to medium-sized business, what can you do with Twitter to find followers and convert them into paying customers?
1. Manage Whom You Follow on Twitter
Use the search facility to find people to connect with. Carry out searches regularly to find new contacts who are in your niche, in your local business community, have an interest in your niche, or are asking questions about topics in your niche.
It is very important to seed your Twitter account with people who are relevant to you, your audience, and your business. You should not be following people en-masse. Sure, go through lists and choose people to follow, but no automation.
As part of your IT sales strategy, you should be concentrating on a targeted core audience and let your following grow naturally by providing targeted, quality content shared by hashtag.
2. Manage Your Twitter Account by Using Lists
Categorize the people you follow, and those who follow you, into lists that make sense to you. This makes conversations easier to follow and your stream more manageable.
For example, you could have lists for existing clients, qualified leads, competitors, subject matter experts, and so on.
Remember to make sure that you make this type of list private—for your eyes only—in the settings. You will also want to have some public lists so that people can see whom you are following and why. And you can have people in more than one list at a time.
You may want take a look at Listorious, review the lists of interest to you, and add your public lists.
3. Engage With Your Followers and the Community
You need to engage with three specific groups of people in the B2B sales environment:
your potential clients
This might seem obvious, but remember that engaging with your peers will not convert into sales. So make sure you actually enter into conversation with your potential clients.
Be natural and get into the types of conversation that you would normally have with peers, customers, and prospects, but just make sure you don’t get too personal. There is a line that should not be crossed. Be mindful of this.
Your engagement should be authentic. You are looking to build relationships, so no automated direct messages; in fact, no automated mentions to your followers of any kind. If you want to thank someone for following you, do it manually with a personalized greeting.
4. Research Your Competitors and Prospects
Twitter is great for environmental scanning. You can gain insights into your competitors’ strategies and the reception of their products and services in the marketplace.
The insight that you can gain from the stream is why Twitter should be part of your IT sales strategy.
Because communication is much less formal on this platform, competitive intelligence is often laid out right in front of you. You’ll find information about new products, new partnerships, new suppliers, and even customer insights that wouldn’t normally be available to you.
Before a sales call, it is a good idea to visit the prospect’s Twitter profile, if he or she has one, to see if there is anything that you should be aware of before making the call. This should always form part of your sales call/meeting preparation.
(Editor’s Note: Years ago, reviewing a company’s website was often adequate preparation. Today, sales call preparation should include reading through the website and all major social media profiles for the company and individual decision makers.)
5. Use Hashtags on Twitter
Apart from entering into conversations, you should be using Twitter as part of your IT sales strategy to educate and inform your audience. This means sharing quality content with them.
This does not mean just automating a feed from your blog to Twitter. You need to be sharing content that is of interest to your specific audience from a wide range of sources.
For every one piece of your content that you share, you ought to be sharing nine or more pieces from other sources.
When you share content, make sure that you add the relevant hashtags with the link and comment. This will make sure that the content not only gets in front of your current followers, but also to the wider audience that is following that hashtag. This is a way of naturally increasing your followers by common interest.
Your content will be picked up if you have optimized your updates to contain relevant keywords or hashtags, which then republishes your content to an even wider audience.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many benefits to incorporating Twitter into your IT sales strategy, even for a B2B business. You can directly impact the outcome of sales calls by being better prepared and having deeper insights into your prospects and marketplace.
Twitter is also one of the best places to get real time information about your competitors, their current offering, and their position in the market place.
B2B has struggled to use Twitter to its best advantage—it can be done, though.
Do you have experience using Twitter as part of your IT sales strategy? Or are you thinking about it? Share your experiences, questions, and concerns in the Comments section below.
And to follow through on these Twitter-centric IT sales strategies throughout your full sales cycle, be sure to download the free special report on Seven IT Sales Secrets for Attracting High-Lifetime-Value Clients.
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