Turn social media into warm leads

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Tips on social selling and turning leads discovered on social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and SlideShare. Listen to the original podcast here: http://www.hotprospect.com/turn-social-media-into-warm-leads-hotprospect-com-podcast-episode-one/

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Turn social media into warm leads

  1. 1.   HotProspect.com 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   hello@hotprospect.com   Turn Social Media Into Warm Leads: HotProspect.com Podcast, Episode OneNote: This podcast was originally posted on the HotProspect.com blog. Youcan listen to the original audio by visiting: http://www.hotprospect.com/turn-social-media-into-warm-leads-hotprospect-com-podcast-episode-one/Joe Fahrner: Hi, this is Joe Fahrner. I’m the founder and CEO ofHotProspect.com. I’m here with Kelly Huffman who is the VP of Sales here atHotProspect. Hello Kelly.Kelly Huffman: Hello Joe.Joe Fahrner: And this is the first episode of the HotProspect podcast and wetalk about sales and marketing using social media and big data. Some of thetechniques built into our product and just other tips that Kelly and I have learnedin our multi-year experience as sales people. So, today, we are going to talkabout social lead generation and specifically using social tools to generate warmleads. And so, obviously, there are two types of leads. There are cold leads andwarm leads. Every salesperson loves warm leads. These are typicallyintroductions that come from trusted entry points, trusted advisors, mutualconnections. And social media is really great for helping to foster those. So wewant to talk a little bit about some of the techniques that we’ve used both atHotProspect and elsewhere to kind of generate warm leads through socialmedia. So, I’m going to jump off and just start talking initially about like the kind ofmost impactful social network for professionals, LinkedIn. Obviously, if you arenot already on LinkedIn and you are listening to this podcast, you certainlyshould be. And so, it’s an amazing network for information, prospecting, findingnew prospects, and learning more about existing prospects. LinkedIn is reallykiller because basically there is lots of great search focus tools, lots of differentways to find people at the companies you are targeting. And, so basically it workslike any other search. You basically enter information. It could be specific names,it could be companies, it could be industries. There’s lots of different features.Kelly, I know you’ve got lots of experience working with LinkedIn search. Whydon’t you walk through kind of when you are trying to find the right contacts at agiven company, how you approach that from a search standpoint on LindedIn.Kelly Huffman: Sure, I think that for me the entry point and the most importantthing to do is to begin your search with your own broad understanding of you
  2. 2.   HotProspect.com 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   hello@hotprospect.com  believe you are looking to find. It may not always be that obvious to you, but let’sassume for example that you are interested in buyers who are in the marketingfunction of a company. The marketing function can take many different formswith a company such as a size of Microsoft will have marketing titles andfunctions all over that organization that probably are not necessarily a fit for whatyou are doing. But it’s always a good place to start with the LinkedIn’s peoplesearch or company search functionality and using some of their advanced tools.So, I like to start broad because if you go too finite you’ll probably come up withfewer results so a smart way to do that is find the target organization try a broadmarketing keyword search and see who comes back with current titles. And if it’sa huge list, then start using the keyword functionality and adding particularfunctional specialties you might be looking for. For example, perhapssomebody’s in demand generation. Well, that’s a marketing function. Try thekeyword demand and see if you get any kind of results. If you don’t, well, thenmaybe they’re not using that particular term. Another thing I think is reallyvaluable and sometimes overlooked is if somebody’s been with a company let’ssay less than a year or so, they might have updated their LinkedIn profile toreflect that but they haven’t really added any color about what specific functionthat they’re doing for the company. So, a really key aspect for me is to actuallylook at their history and see what were they doing before they joined thisparticular company you are looking at now; what function were they doing one ortwo companies prior? I think it’s fairly bet to know that they are doing somethingvery, very similar at the new organization if in general the role and the titles lookthe same, so it’s a great way to figure out what marketing function they mighthave had at a prior company and infer that they’re doing the same thing now.Joe Fahrner: Yeah, it’s great. So, one of the things LinkedIn obviously has abunch of different ways you can sort search results. I think by default it sorts byhow far away you are from that person based off of social connections in yourown LinkedIn network and I think you can also sort by relevance based off yoursearch keywords; these types of things. How useful do you find the actualconnections stuff to be in your particular use case in searching and trying to findpotential customer for HotProspect?Kelly Huffman: I think it’s actually very useful and I am a strong proponent ofleveraging some of the tools that LinkedIn actually has. The ability to actually askfor a warm introduction to somebody who is a second generation from you andyou, therefore, know somebody who knows somebody. Those are great tools touse and I highly recommend using them. They’re not always the most effectivething I think with all the noise that we get from the various communicationchannels we have now, I don’t necessarily somebody’s avoiding you, but it is
  3. 3.   HotProspect.com 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   hello@hotprospect.com  easier to miss an inbound communication from a LinkedIn email or LinkedIninmail. I think the other thing too, it depends on what audience you’re going after.You might find you that you’ve hit a node where you kind of know everybody’s asecond degree from you. But when you really try to scale your business you’ll berunning into third generation and beyond a lot. And that’s actually a good thingbecause that means you’re broadening your horizons a lot. And that can createsome challenges in being able to figure out how to reach those folks. But onething you should do is follow LinkedIn’s guidelines to a certain extent, but youshould really be broadening your own network so that your reach is that muchgreater on LinkedIn. But there’s also ways to be creative and figure out whothese folks are at a third generation and make sure you don’t give up on the factthat somebody’s far away from you and seems out of reach because maybethey’re not.Joe Fahrner: Yeah, that’s a great point. The other trick with LinkedIn that I’vefound over time is that a lot of times it can be difficult to identify the specificindividual at a company that you think may be the buyer and, in fact, like Iactually try not to guess to the greatest extent possible just because you know, ifyou guess wrong you may end up not being super relevant when you try to reachout to that person. But what I have found is that one trick is to look and just sortof try to look at the people around LinkedIn, the employees of a target companythat are on LinkedIn. Sort of view the top few profiles when you search for thatcompany and one of the things I’ve found is that one indicator that someone issort of really active on LinkedIn or more susceptible to potential contact is thatthey’ve got a really well manicured LinkedIn profile. So, they’ve got the picture,they’ve got a full description, they’ve got several paragraphs related to everysingle company that they’ve worked at, they’ve joined a bunch of groups, they’vegot a large number of connections. And basically, even if that person isn’t thebuyer, even in the functional organization that you typically sell to, I’ve had a tonof experience and success in reaching out to folks like that and just finding thecommon ground that, hey, we are both LinkedIn users, we both kind of believe inthe karma of the introduction system on LinkedIn. And I’ve had a lot of success,probably, you know, 50-50 or so of when you reach out to one of these types offolks that is heavily engaged within LinkedIn and just sort of saying, hey, I’mlooking to find a person in your organization that has the problem or the needthat our product addresses and getting positive responses back there. And, infact, you know, one thing there that is interesting is a lot of times those folks whoare not necessarily your target buyer are people who are in positions who aren’tbeing contacted ad nauseum from people like us who are trying to sell themthings and so they tend to be a little more receptive versus the VP of Marketingor CTO or CIO at a mid-sized or larger organization who is getting deluged with
  4. 4.   HotProspect.com 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   hello@hotprospect.com  inbound emails day in and day out. So, any other kind of tips or tricks related toLinkedIn that you’ve built up over the years?Kelly Huffman: No, I think that about covers it from a broad perspective.Joe Fahrner: Awesome. So, the other sort of social technique that I want totalk about is somewhat related to LinkedIn. It’s using presentations onSlideShare to identify entry points for decision makers. The reason I say it’sassociated with LinkedIn is LinkedIn acquired SlideShare a few weeks ago and itwas announced a week or ten days ago and for about $175 million or somethingin that range. So, SlideShare, if you’re not familiar with it, it is basically theYouTube for PowerPoint presentations. It’s full of slide decks that people upload.A lot of times they’re coming from conferences or marketing materials, thesetypes of things. And what SlideShare does is digitizes these presentations andmakes the contents of them searchable in the context of the SlidShare.com site.So, what’s cool about that is that if you have ever listened to a keynotepresentation or presentation at a conference, you realize that it’s very commonthat either early in the presentation or in the last slide of the presentation that thespeaker gives some introductory information about themselves, but also contactinformation. So, bare minimum these days is typically a twitter handle but a lot oftimes they’ll also provide an email address. And, so one of the things that I’vehad success doing is using SlideShare. There’s other similar sites, DocStock andScrib.com. But using sites like this to search for presentations from folks atcompanies that I’m targeting and very often you can find contact information inthose presentations that can be useful. And, if you think about the type of peoplewho commonly give presentations on behalf of their company, they tend to fallinto two categories; either they are like important people, senior executives,CEOs, VPs that are kind of out sort of telling the story of their companies orspecific functions or specific successes they’ve had. But also the other categoryof folks that tend to give lots of presentations and you know are discoverable onSlideShare are folks that are kind of community management or evangelist typeroles. And these are folks whose job is to really be accessible, so very often theymay not necessarily be, you know, the decision maker or the buyer that you aretargeting, but they’re typically very accessible and could be a great entry point toreach out and try to get an introduction to the right buyer within that targetorganization. So, it’s, it’s– SlideShare in and of itself is actually a really cool sitejust for general sales intelligence. There’s lots of great content there. So, outsideof lead generation, just discovery of cool techniques and tips and strategies thatpeople use, SlideShare is great for that because there’s tons of awesomepresentations there. But, ah, but yeah, something that I think a lot of people maynot, the technique a lot of people may not be using in the context of these
  5. 5.   HotProspect.com 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   hello@hotprospect.com  presentation sites is actually discovering these contacts. Is that something thatyou’ve done in the past?Kelly Huffman: It’s actually not. I haven’t and I think it’s actually a great idea. Ithink we are always looking for a leg up and a unique way of finding the rightpeople to talk to which is particularly decision makers of companies and that’sactually a great idea.Joe Fahrner: Well, the cool thing is, is like it actually gives you a great entrypoint, a sincere entry point, when you actually do reach out because you havethe context of this presentation that you just viewed and you can say, “Hey, I sawthat presentation that you gave at XYZ conference. It was awesome and I reallyenjoyed this about it.” And so it’s a great way to turn what otherwise would havebeen a cold pitch into a relevant, warm introduction. Cool, so the final network orsocial platform that I wanted to talk about today was just using Twitter as a placeto find new leads and engage and do a little bit of social selling. Twitter is reallyan interesting platform because it’s got hundreds of millions of registered users, Ithink about 500 million registered users, about a hundred million monthly activeusers. Obviously, a lot of just general consumer stuff that happens there, butthere’s a ton of business activity and I think that gets overlooked a lot of time justbeyond kind of the B2B space, beyond the business and consumer stuff, there’slots of B2B companies that are really active on Twitter. And, so there’s two kindsof interesting strategies for using Twitter for lead generation or social selling. Oneis following company accounts. So, identifying the kind of official companyaccounts for businesses that you are targeting as prospects. It’s a really greatway like to just get information pushed to you that could be really strong salestriggers, and really strong understanding. Give you some insights into the thingsthat are important to that company that you are targeting. Some companies useTwitter purely as a PR channel, but increasingly, I think business are finding thatthey can kind of express some personality and more insight about kind of whatthey’re all about on platforms like Twitter. So, following the official businessaccounts on Twitter for your prospect companies I think is like a no brainer. Youshould definitely be doing that. But even further, you can use this as a way toalso identify potential decision makers or leads or again kind of the evangelist orthe community evangelist-type folks because often those company Twitteraccounts will also reference employee accounts; CEOs, you know VPs, again,community managers, these types of things. One great way to discover thoseemployee accounts is just to do a search for the company name on Twittersearch. So, Twitter search has gotten really great and relevant and so a lot oftimes you’ll see if you search for a company, you’ll not only see the accountsassociated with the company as like official accounts, but also prominent
  6. 6.   HotProspect.com 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   hello@hotprospect.com  accounts of employees of that company, which is kind of cool. And then it’s agreat platform if you’re following these types of accounts to be helpful. Right, so,Twitter is not a great direct sales platform, in my experience. It’s really moreinformation, discovery platform. But one thing that happens on Twitter, one reallycommon behavior is that people ask questions, right. And that they may be justtrying to start a discussion or they may actually be looking at problems, lookingfor solutions and leveraging Twitter as a platform to get answers. And, so, if youare following these accounts, particularly kind of the executive-type accounts oremployee-type accounts, and someone asks for a recommendation, whether thatsomebody maps back directly to your product or service or is just some generalpiece of information that people are trying to search for, you can jump in and behelpful and that’s just a great way to start just building credibility with yourperspective customer on a platform like that. I don’t know. How much Twitter kindof interaction have you had Kelly historically, in your career?Kelly Huffman: Well, a fair amount. I think that Joe touches on a good point, thatfollowing a company gives you a lot of insight, but I also think further to his pointthat following individuals, in particular, if you are lucky enough to discover theactual people you would like to interact with. By following those people, you learna little bit about them, but you also are basically showing some interest in themtoo and you can re-Tweet some of the interesting Tweets that they do. And, ingeneral, you’re essentially creating your own sort of lead-nurturing mechanism byjust engaging with them without the pushy direct message, Hey, I’m trying to sellyou something. It’s a little bit of a relationship and it’s subtle, but I think it’seffective. It’s actually worked for me, but it’s also worked on me. So, I’ve foundmyself feeling familiar with some people that followed me for reasons that I hadno idea why they were doing so. Still, it’s just a nice way to kind of warm yourprospect up to the fact that you’re out there and you exist. At the very least, ifyour Twitter handle implies or your own bio states who you are and whatcompany you are, you might get that interest piqued by that particular prospectas well and they might come check you out first.Joe Fahrner: Awesome, yeah. You mentioned re-Tweets. That’s a great pointin getting on their radar through re-Tweets. Another even more subtle techniquethat I think a lot of people overlook is the favorite button on Twitter, that you cankind of favorite tweets. The cool thing is that when you re-Tweet something or ifyou favorite a Tweet, the account whose Tweet you are re-Tweeting or favoritinggets a notification by default from Twitter. And, so it’s a nice kind of subtle, likeyou say, not in-your-face kind of way to give some positive reinforcement thatyou like kind of what’s going on there. And you also get on their radar which is
  7. 7.   HotProspect.com 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   hello@hotprospect.com  cool. Awesome, so actually it’s a good segue to, ah. We should talk about whereto find us on Twitter. So, you’re @KelHuffman.Kelly Huffman: I amJoe Fahrner: @JoeF and @HotPros is the HotProspect handle. We’d love to–We’re pretty active on Twitter and we’d love to have you follow us there. We’dlove to get to know you on that platform as well. Hopefully, some of these tips,techniques, strategies, things that we’ve developed over time are useful. We’dlove to hear from you. Are there other techniques you use on these platforms,other platforms or looking. This is obviously a great emerging set of techniquesfor sales and marketing professionals and it’s something we’ll continue to coverin the future. So, thank you very much for sticking with us. Hopefully, you find theinformation useful and helpful and we will catch you next time. Thanks again.Kelly Huffman: Thank you. Take care.  

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