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My Social Media (for B2B Sales) Experiment Results

Donal-dalyThis guest blog post is by Donal Daly, CEO of the TAS Group. He shares sales insights, hindsight and a little foresight on his sales and technology blog, Dealmaker365 (previously Sales20Network).

 

Social media is on everyone's lips. But B2B use cases are extremely rare. Most stories relating to B2C experiences are hard to transfer to the B2B sales world. We've been working on that.

For the past 18 months or so, I've been trying some B2B models in the social universe. The core philosophy has been to shape thinking, cultivate customers, and earn permission to engage.

Here's what we have learned:

1. The social universe is a great place to listen and learn. If I follow you on Twitter, read your blog, or study your LinkedIn profile, I quickly get a sense of who you are. Everything you do in the social universe leaves a shadow that I can collect to build a picture.

2. Give value first and expect nothing in return. Whereas traditional selling centered on targeting customers, now you need to make it easy for them to find and want to engage with you – because you give value. It's a long road. Short-term return is unlikely. First, you must cultivate interest by building awareness and delivering value.

3. Be authentic, be prepared to fail, don't give up. In the social universe, you're competing for hearts and minds, and you need to develop trust. Openness, integrity, and authenticity are essential. You can develop trusting fans, or you can be voted off the island.

4. Be open, collaborate, co-create; in other words, let others play in the community. When others play in your world, everyone's experience is enriched. You choose your fellow travelers, and they may select you. Comment, participate, and invite contribution.

And here's what we have done:

 

What we do

 

Is it worth it?

 

My main blog is Dealmaker365, and I blog in other communities. I try to post twice a week.

 

Dealmaker365 has had 220,000 visits this year, and a number of our commercial relationships have started with the words, "I read this on your blog." Definitely worthwhile.

 

@dealmaker365 follows 143 people on Twitter and has 2,500 followers. I am interested in everyone I follow, and I don't follow just to be followed back. I try to cultivate opinion carefully and respect my followers, and I don't tweet about my breakfast.  

 

I learn a lot from and about the people I follow. Twitter is my main source of (immediate) market information. I engage actively (Reply/DM) and have done business with people I first "met" on Twitter. Hugely valuable.

 

LinkedIn helps with recruiting, profiling customers, and networking. I think adding/accepting connections with strangers dilutes the network value. We also use LinkedIn Groups and Polls.

 

I'm not sure I really understand why, but LinkedIn is consistently one of the highest-traffic referral sources. The network value is high, and I use it every day.

 

We created a YouTube channel called Dealmaker Magic to showcase our products. It includes short movie-trailer-style videos and full product demos.  We sometimes send demo links to customers before a call. The call is then more business focused.

 

Dealmaker Magic has had 20,000 views this year. It shortens the sales cycle and delivers consistent messaging. Maintaining up-to-date content is hard work, but we think it is definitely worthwhile.

 

We have also engaged in an extensive amount of Freemium activity, with which we have provided automated services online that we (or others) would have charged fees for in the traditional world. Customers are invited to partake of these services on our Website and on my blog.

 

This proves the "give value first" concept. We had to get comfortable with the amount of "free" value we were delivering; however, we have seen dramatic return.

Among our customers, I've seen a few examples of success in the social universe, but primarily when the company integrates "social" into everything it does and recognizes that "social" becomes part of how it does business, rather than when it tries to do "social business" explicitly.   

My advice: Listen first, then give value. Be open, authentic, and honest, and the engagement will happen.

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Coleylearning

Donal - congratulations on an excellently thought out and thought provoking post. I couldn't agree more with your analysis of the "give value first" principle. It pervades the whole philosophy the I believe is essential for anyone who wants to be sustainably succesful today.

A great read - I'll be back!

Ink cartridges

Nice post. All the points you written above are very important for achievieving success. the most important point is to give respect and wants nothing in return. that is what every customer also wants and if the customer will buy something from you and will return again than he or she will bring 3 to 4 more customers. that it the main theme which he wants to explain in this post. thanks for taking time to write these useful points.

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