Gone are the days when unsolicited calls were an effective form of marketing. Nowadays, marketing needs to be smarter, as a demanding audience has changed the way you need to communicate.
As we continue to embrace the power of social media, platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have become core marketing channels, whilst the traditional methods of promotion are struggling to keep up. ‘Cold calling’, where traditionally companies approach prospective customers who were not expecting such an interaction, usually via phone, is a dying technique. In fact, it has been found that for 90.9% of the time, cold calling does not work at all.
Cold calling is ineffective because it lacks a personal approach, and is not necessarily tailored to the individual needs or issues that the prospect is dealing with.
This is where social media has given companies an advantage, allowing them to build a clearer picture of each prospect, including their needs, likes and interests. Read on to find out how you can add a personal touch to your marketing efforts by using social media to develop and nurture your prospects.
1. Why cold calling is out
No longer can companies expect to be able to call a customer and sell them their latest product or service. Not only is ‘cold calling’ no longer effective – it has been found that 90% of the time VPs or the C-suite do not pick up the phone , but it costs at least 60% more per lead than other methods .
In our digital world, consumers now research products online and use social media to ask their friends for recommendations on services, with 70% of consumers trusting brand recommendations from friends . Generating positive word of mouth and online recommendations is essential to create leads, as is personalising your customers’ experience – the one-size-fits-all approach is no longer an option.
2. Why social media is in
Social media is proven to be an extremely effective method of generating leads, with 77% of B2C marketers stating that they have acquired a customer through Facebook . For B2B companies, it is all about LinkedIn – with the social network being 277 times more effective in generating leads than Facebook and Twitter .
Why is social media so effective? Because it allows companies to tailor their approach to each individual prospect. With the traditional scattergun approach of cold calling, there is a standard approach for everyone – everyone gets the same phone call, the same sales pitch – regardless of whether they are interested in your company or not. Social media offers a much smarter approach that is centered around personalisation and targeting. Social media gives you the ability to monitor and engage your prospects with content, events and offers that are tailored to the individual, reducing the use of the ‘hard sell’ and nurturing prospects over a sustained period of time.
3. Using social media to build a bigger picture of your prospects
The main advantage offered by social media is that it allows you to build a clearer picture of your prospects – before you try to connect with them. Use social media to research and better understand your target audience through the following actions:
- Researching prospects through social:
Look at the prospect’s profile on Twitter and LinkedIn to identify their job role, how active they are on social media and what content they are sharing. If your prospects are experiencing particular pain points around a topic, work with your marketing team to create content that advises how to solve those problems. If you are looking to target a particular demographic, notify the marketing team to create specific campaigns aimed at engaging these users. The sales team can then use this content as potential conversation starters that you can mention when you approach them to strike up a quick rapport.
- Engaging prospects through social:
Social media is an extremely powerful tool for sales teams to use to engage and build a relationship with prospects. Focus on how you can add value or help them – avoid the ‘hard sell’ at all costs. You might want to start off by liking and sharing their updates on LinkedIn or retweeting and commenting back on their Twitter updates. Contribute to the online conversation, by pointing them towards relevant content that could help them, or suggesting a mutual friend that could assist them. You can then build up the relationship before you look to transfer it offline – by picking up the phone– or arranging a meeting via LinkedIn InMail.