Using Social Networking to Find Decision Makers (Part 1 of 2) by Aleshia Humphries & Pat Ryan

Posted on Jun 26, 2018 in Blog, Meeting/Event Planning, Training and HR

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, salespeople 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.  Salespeople 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 sending out a targeted email marketing campaign or 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?

Point #3

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

Digging around various networking sites to find the RIGHT contacts is more time-consuming than most realize. Salespeople can get sucked into this research 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 salesperson will find him/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 salespeople to roll up their sleeves!”

Reality check:

  • What do “best-practice” salespeople do?
  • What do optimally-effective salespeople do?

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

Remember, Mentor Tech Group specializes in building and maintaining a market intelligence database of more than 40,000+ corporate training and HR decision makers.  This is our unique specialty! It is all we do at Mentor Tech Group…and we do it better than any other company out there!

So – when you need a high-quality, detailed and ACCURATE list of decision-maker contacts 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. 1.  We’re here to help you…whenever you’re ready!


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