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Insights from the Sales 2.0 Conference: How social media is changing sales and marketing

I had the pleasure of attending the Sales 2.0 Conference last week where Christian Sutherland-Wong of LinkedIn and Tony Mitchell of Hearsay spoke to a packed audience about how social networking sites are changing the marketing and sales discipline. Here are some of the highlights.


Tony Mitchell (Hearsay), Christian Sutherland-Wong (LinkedIn), and moderator Clara Shih
How are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter changing sales and marketing?
These social media tools have been around for a long time, but user adoption has increased dramatically.  And now there are tools that integrate with LinkedIn and Facebook to tap into your social graphs and provide leads and contact data.
Hearsay: These sites are all about relationships. Imagine you have 50,000 fans on your corporate Facebook page. But, you also have 10,000 local reps out in the field, all of whom are active on Facebook and LinkedIn. If each of your local reps has just five fans or LinkedIn connections, they’ll match the number of fans on your corporate page. But what if they each have 100 fans or connections? Or 200? Why wouldn’t you make that part of your company’s social network?
How does your sales organization use social media to sell?
During a sales meeting last night, someone fired up Jigsaw, where we found a person we wanted to speak with at one of our target companies. We looked her up LinkedIn, got her Twitter handle, and found out she likes ranch dressing. Immediately our team member tweeted to her: “Hey, would you like to talk about ranch dressing and social media?” Within a matter of minutes she replied, “Wow, would love to talk about it, but you had me at ranch dressing. How about we set up a demo tomorrow?” This could have taken many cold calls. Instead, getting in touch with her literally took less than five minutes.
What about lessons learned?  What are some things NOT to do?
At LinkedIn, we think it’s important to remember that people come to these sites to share things for different reasons—not always to be contacted by salespeople or recruiters—so we need to respect their choice to be social or to manage their professional brand.
Hearsay: If you’re going to be on social media, you better make sure your content is fresh—you can’t let your page fall stagnant. You have to remain current and engaged with your fans and followers.
Can you speak about legal and regulatory compliance issues on social networking sites?
In financial services, you have to worry about compliance with government regulations. In other industries, you may want to align your local reps with your branded messaging. Without the right technology and processes in place, you have no ability to measure these efforts, promote your branded content, or remain compliant.
What advice do you have for people in the audience on how they can personally get the most out of social networking sites?
Look up people on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Find out about them and build a relationship. You can then use your LinkedIn and Facebook graph from a sales perspective to connect to prospects. You may have found that cold calls don’t work, but these networking sites allow you to connect socially first.
Hearsay: I think it’s most important to be human and be authentic on these sites. Give people a better glimpse of who you are, and instead of just a voice on the other end of the phone, you’ll be human and more easily relatable.


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John Barkis

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