Sales and marketing departments usually don’t do a good job communicating with each other, and when you add in a new tool (social media), there is even a bigger disconnect. Salepeople often have little exposure and experience with social and tend to shy away from it.
The reality is social media can open up conversations with both existing customers as well as new ones, and bottom line is if the sales department would realize the potential. I recently read a post by Karlie Justus, More Ways to Connect B2B Sales Teams with Social Media that got me thinking. Here are some thoughts from me on how Karlie’s ideas would be relavant to our market in bridging the gap between Marketing and Sales.
- Create Social Media Updates – Show the salesforce what’s in it for them. Ways to engage customers and potentials.It could be just what’s needed to start a conversation. Explain to them why you’re doing a blog and what kinds of things you’re posting on Facebook and Twitter.
- Show Them How Important it is For Them to Be Involved – If they understand what marketing is trying to do for them, they can help you build customer/prospect lists from things like their weekly call reports. Who knows better what types of things a customer wants other than the sales person? They can tell you what types of products they’re looking at, what market they are in, and a host of other valuable marketing insights that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Make them more comfortable by giving them a handout with talking points on the back that they can share with customers. They can ask them to start reading your blog, go to your forum to talk to other customers. You can even get them talking about LinkedIn and get them connected with each other. Once they understand the potential power of social, they will be one of your best resources for data.
- Educate the Sales Team with Hands-On Training – Give them practical and personal examples and once they are more comfortable with it offer to help them set up their own pages. Don’t expect total buy in. You don’t normally get that with anything you introduce. But if you can get half the salesforce to embrace and understand the benefits of social, then you’ve won a battle.
- Track Leads and Give Them Monthly Updates – Hopefully you have some sort of CRM in place to track traditional leads like trade shows, PR and print ads. Add social as another line item so the salesforce can see what kind of activities social is generating. Give them monthly updates (high level) of what social is doing for the company. Ask them what they might want to see. Do they want to see blog visitors by geographic location? Would they like to know which pages on your website are getting the most hits from Social?
These are some ideas that might help you engage sales in the social media scene. I’d love to hear success stories from the field. Care to share?