Using Social Networking to Find Decision Makers – Part 1 by Aleshia Humphries and Pat Ryan

Posted on Dec 2, 2014 in Archive

We know that selling and marketing to Corporate Training and HR is no easy job, and keeping your sales pipeline flowing is essential.  In an ongoing effort to locate potential sales opportunities, sales people can get creative, engaging in social networking in hopes of finding leads and generating sales.

What could be better than connecting to hundreds, if not thousands, of business professionals for FREE?

Management should be happy with these efforts, right? 

Well — it depends…

Many salespeople are looking to various B2B networking websites to find business contacts, interact with customers, get answers to specific problems, get a nudge in the right direction, or find insight on how to resolve a specific issue.  These social networking sites are great business tools, where people can easily maintain professional profiles, relationships and exchanges that are business related.

Social media is a revolution that has changed everything.  It has empowered companies like never before to:

  • Build a following and a community,
  • Get involved in discussion groups and exchange of knowledge
  • Create dialogue around your industry or your product!

Most employers consider the time spent on B2B networking sites as “professional development” and, rightly so, because it is truly an educational opportunity with tremendous potential.

Yet others consider it a “low cost” way to generate a list of prospects.  Sales people without quality leads can spend time on B2B networking sites, trolling around looking for someone to sell.  

If you are presently using this approach, or if you are considering doing so, be sure to go into it with both eyes wide open.  Why?

Point #1
Selling in the networking environment is quite different from building a list and blasting out your sales pitch.  You can’t use the same techniques as you do with Direct Marketing.

First, the numbers are not there.  Quality marketing requires delivery of your message to a minimum of 1000 quality contacts.  Remember the old marketing maxim: “The wider the net, the more fish you catch!” 

Looking for prospects one at a time is not really using a “net” at all, so beware.

Second, contacts don’t appreciate “being sold to” within a social networking environment – which leads to the question, is it appropriate?  Do contacts on a networking site expect to be sold to in this environment?  Not to say it can’t be done, but understand that building online B2B social networks, and participating in all the aspects that it entails, does not yield the kind of comprehensive results that Direct Marketing campaigns can.

Point #2
At first, it seems like a great idea being “linked in” with several hundred prospects for free or almost no monetary investment. However, before adopting this as a lead-generation strategy, consider these questions:

  • Is digging through these networking sites really free?
  • What is the true cost of using your sales person’s time to generate leads in this way?
  • Is it really the optimal use of their time?
  • Is it really the optimal use of B2B networking sites?

Using various networking sites for lead generation purposes (exclusive of other quality marketing) can ultimately prove to be costly for bottom-line sales, if you are not prepared for the consequences of doing so.


Digging around various networking sites to find contacts is more time-consuming than most realize.  The longer you have been exploring it, the more time you tend to spend. Sales people get sucked into the vortex.  Before they know it, they are spending more time than they intended – a lot more time.  Some B2B networking sites even have you building a list for someone else – unloading your contacts in exchange for others.  (Do you want to be paying your sales team to populate someone else’s database?)

If not careful, a sales person will find herself spending several hours a day on these sites scouring online communities, reading blogs, looking at profiles, and requesting to be connecting with people for the purpose of generating leads and building databases.

NOTE: That is not selling.  That is research.

Some sales managers may say, “Fine – we expect our sales people to roll up their sleeves!”

Reality check:

  • What do “best-practice” sales people do?
  • What do optimally-effective sales people do?

Stay tuned, and in our next article, we will explore answers to these questions which can help you in YOUR own lead generation process.  

Remember, Mentor Tech Group specializes in building market intelligence lists of corporate training and HR decision makers.  When you need a high-quality, detailed and ACCURATE list in your industry, think of Mentor Tech Group. 

Click here to view video testimonials and see what others are saying about MTG’s specialized lists.  

To start saving money, please CONTACT US today at: (651) 457-8600, Ext. 3.  We’re here to help you…whenever you’re ready!

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