While it may be true that picking up the phone remains one of the best ways to reach an organization's senior executives, in terms of sales and lead generation, we’re living in a different era. While the cold call is a technique that can lead to a meeting, a pitch, and an actual sale or sales relationship, the fact of the matter is today’s customers are much more savvy and have developed identities all over the social playground of the Internet, so it behooves sales professionals to adopt a social approach.
That’s not to say you should just hop on Twitter and Facebook (News - Alert) and start garnering “likes” and re-tweets. Social selling is a little more complex than that. While the aforementioned is good for exposure, obtaining leads the social way requires strategy and thought.
What does that mean? Instead of focusing on direct mail marketing, set your sights on content marketing. Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into leads, and leads into customers who then become repeat buyers. The magic lies in the type of content you share, as it is closely related to what you sell. You’re basically educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.
While it is certainly the “in” thing to do now, it’s imperative to remember that you must make the content work in order to have social media remain an effective tool in your toolbox. To make social content work for you, be sure to base your content on your key performance indicators (KPIs) and use that information to drive better written material. Consider your audience, your brand, profit and revenue.
Once you’ve come up with the magic formula for optimal content, get social with it. Creating content is only part of content marketing. The other half is promoting it. Get online, send out email blasts, tweet about it, start a conversation on Facebook, see what other pros on LinkedIn (News - Alert) have to contribute. Create chatter.
So, how do you go about getting leads since you’re not on the phone making those cold calls? It’s simple. Take part in the conversations you’ve started online and see who responds. By eliciting feedback and input from your social fans, you may draw in others with similar interests and needs, and there you’ll have some new leads.
It’s time to just admit that cold calling is a thing of the past, and maybe that makes some sales pros happy. Lead generation has evolved with technology. Use it to revamp your operation and everyone on your sales team will see positive results.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson